Hip or knee joint replacement surgery is considered the last line of treatment for joint pain. For some people, it’s the only way to alleviate arthritis-related pain that significantly affects daily activities, such as walking up and down stairs, putting on shoes and socks, and getting in and out of a car. If you find yourself unable to perform simple tasks after trying more conservative treatments, it may be time to consider a joint replacement.
To determine if you’re a candidate, most doctors will consider how much you can gain by undergoing the procedure. Your doctor will review your medical history and x-ray the affected joint. If your symptoms are severe and correspond with what is found on the x-ray, your doctor will likely recommend the surgery.
Joint replacement is a common procedure and new technology is making it less invasive, but it’s still a major surgery. That’s why it’s important to be in the best shape possible going into it. You need to get any medical problems under control and, if necessary, lose weight and improve strength. Doing these things in advance will help avoid complications and achieve better results.
After surgery, most people need approximately six to eight weeks of recovery, including physical therapy to improve strength and mobility. During this time, you need to take responsibility for your recovery and commit to doing the recommended exercises. Remember – proper rehabilitation will help you achieve the best outcome.
Although you’ll be able to exercise again, you’ll need to be responsible. It’s best to stick with lower-impact activities, such as stationary cycling, swimming and strength training. If you don’t take the proper precautions, you’ll increase your risk for having to undergo a second joint replacement later in life.
Edward-Elmhurst Health is ranked among the top 10 hospitals in Illinois for total joint replacement and revision, according to IHA COMPdata. We have nearly 130 doctors who specialize in orthopedic surgery and spine surgery, and many more with related subspecialties.