What is Total Joint Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is a treatment method designed to facilitate recovery after a serious injury, illness or surgery. It is aimed at restoring the physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and social function of the patient. Total joint rehabilitation is recommended following a total joint replacement surgery to enhance healing and return the patient to their prior level of functioning.
Why is Total Joint Rehabilitation Necessary?
Rehabilitation via physical therapy after surgery helps in the following ways:
- Relieves pain
- Reduces swelling
- Speeds up recovery
- Extends the life of the joint implant
Types of Exercises
The types of exercises involved include:
- Stretching and bending exercises to improve the flexibility of the joint muscles
- Massage to relieve tension in the muscles and improve the blood flow to the joint
- Stability exercises to restore function and movement of an injured joint
Exercises for Specific Joints
- Hip: Leg extensions, thigh squeezes, ankle rotations.
- Knee: Flexion and extension (bending, then straightening) of the knee.
- Shoulder: Movement of the elbow joint, grip strengthening (squeezing a rubber ball), pendulum exercises, external rotation.
Rehabilitation involves 3 important phases. They include:
- Phase 1: Usually begins immediately after surgery and involves the simple movement of your arm or leg.
- Phase 2: Physical therapy of the joint with light exercises. At this stage, you need minimum support to move your arms and legs.
- Phase 3: Activity level increases, allowing you to run, climb stairs, get in and out of a car, swim, and participate in sports.
Recovery time may be longer in elderly patients or for those who have suffered severe injuries. It is import to wear proper footwear and keep hydrated during your physical therapy sessions.