What You Need to Know About Joint Replacement Sugery


Have you gotten to the point where you can just not tolerate your joint pain any longer?  Is it keeping you from doing the things and enjoying the people that you love?

Have you truly tried every conservative option out there? Is the pain excruciating even during everyday activities?

If this sounds like you, then your doctor may recommend a joint replacement.  But with that recommendation comes many questions. . . and here we hope to answer some of those.

What is joint replacement surgery?

A total joint replacement is the last line of treatment to eliminate joint pain, correct deformity, and restore mobility.  Surgeons perform more than one million hip and knee replacements each year.  In 2017, outcomes are exceptionally good with return to prior level of function.

These new joints made of metal and ceramic or plastic components can be expected to last 10-20 years.  Other replaceable joints include shoulder, elbows, and ankles.  However, these are less common and still evolving. Outcomes and longevity of these joints are still difficult to estimate.

Why does my joint need to be replaced?

In healthy joints, the cartilage covering the bone and capsule surrounding the joint allow the bones to glide easily against one another.  When the cartilage becomes damaged, the bones rub and erode making the joint stiff and painful.  Replacements are necessary when the pain and immobility becomes intolerable.

When should I see a physical therapist?

It is important to seek rehabilitation for your joint pain and immobility prior to deciding on surgery.  A manual therapist can provide joint mobilization to improve motion, modalities to decrease pain, and strengthening to provide stabilization of the affected joint. If you have already decided on surgery, preoperative care will include baseline evaluation, strengthening, range of motion, and instruction on home management and assistive devices.

Studies from the Cleveland Clinic demonstrate preoperative care within 30 days prior to surgery reduced post acute care by nearly 30%.  This means no inpatient rehab stay to get you back on your feet! The National Institute on Health adds that patient’s also benefit from the therapist’s role in answering pre and post operative questions and managing patient expectations for improve outcomes.

Postoperative rehabilitation is the standard of care.  Once the joint is replaced, its motion and function must be restored through physical therapy.

Wondering if you could just do this rehab on your own?


Traditional rehab following a predetermined exercise protocol may help you achieve baseline measurements of joint movement.  However, care from a certified orthopedic therapist will best progress you to maximal functional outcomes.  This may require work on balance, agility, scar mobilization, and trigger point release. This is not just an exercise program!

We understand that your goal is more than a number on an outcomes sheet. Your goal may be golf, finishing, returning to work, or playing on the floor with your grandchildren.  We can help you reach your goals quicker and with less pain.

If you are deciding on surgery, but have not yet been treated by a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist, I suggest you do that first!  Head over to our blog and read last week’s article written for those who have “tried everything” when it comes to their joint pain . . . . 5 Ways Life Is Better Without Joint Pain

Our mission is to Empower Our Local Community to Transform Their Lives, Stay Independent, and Be Active Without Medications, Injections, or Surgery! But when surgery is your only option, we are here for you then too!  Inquire today about pre and post operative treatment plans that fit your individual needs and goals.  Just fill out a quick form HERE so we can better serve you