• Preston Brown, DPT, GCS

"Continuing to live an active lifestyle following a knee or hip joint replacement..."




Activity and Movement


Walking is one of the best exercises you can do following a joint replacement. Walking around your home is a great place to start. It might be best to start with walking then gradually progress to walking longer distances on level surfaces. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need to limit how much weight you can put on your new joint. You may be instructed to use a walker or cane. It is important to follow these and other safety instructions after surgery, such as using a handrail when you go up and down steps.


Stretching and strengthening exercises are some of the best ways to get the most movement and function out of your total joint surgery. Your therapist will teach you ways of staying safe and making daily life more comfortable. You may be advised to use a shoehorn or a reacher to reach objects on the floor or high in the cupboards. Do not bend down to pick things up.

Taking your medications as prescribed can make it easier for you to complete your exercises, participate in therapy, and return to your daily activities.



Pain management


It is normal to have pain following your total joint surgery. This pain should gradually decrease as you heal, and there are steps you can take to ease the pain during your recovery. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications, and it is important to take these as prescribed. Pain medication can help you engage fully in exercise or therapy, especially if taken before participating.


Swelling can be a cause of pain in the healing joint. Elevate your leg, including your foot, by propping it up on pillows or blankets. Be sure to raise your leg above your heart to help reduce swelling.


Applying an ice pack to your new knee or hip for 10-20 minutes, every hour or two as needed can also ease pain. Be sure to place a towel or pillowcase between your skin and the ice pack to protect your skin.


Although you may be excited to use your new joint, you also need to take breaks in the beginning as you heal. If you increase your walking or other activities, give yourself an extra rest break to let your body recover.



Red Flags


You can help your recovery by alerting your healthcare provider about any concerns.


One of the risks to your new, healing joint is an infection. Be sure to alert your healthcare provider if you notice an increase in drainage, green or yellow drainage, redness around the incision or joint, swelling, develop a high fever, or have a significant change in your pain levels.


You will be given a special medication to lower the risk of a blood clot, so be sure that you understand and take your medications as instructed. If you notice increased redness or swelling in your calf, sharp pain in your calf, or develop shortness of breath, contact your medical provider immediately.


Some people may react to medications, so be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you are experiencing:


  • Excessive bleeding from your incision

  • Dizziness

  • Redness or swelling in your calf

  • Constipation

  • Excessive fatigue

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Any new symptoms that may be related to your medication use


Contact your healthcare provider if you notice excessive blood soaking through your dressing, or the bleeding does not stop when pressure is applied. Go to the emergency room immediately if you experience chest pain, uncontrolled coughing, or shortness of breath.


Physical therapy is an effective alternative in addressing knee and hip issues that may be contributing to limitation in your daily activities. If you or your loved one underwent or thinking about a joint replacement it is highly recommended to consult a medical professional. Having a better understanding of what works best for you and your condition is highly important.


If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you please reach out to us CLICK HERE.


Talk more soon!!


Preston, PT


P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your knee or hip which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free hip pain tips guide which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click here to get your free copy: https://prestigetherapywellness.lpages.co/knee-and-hip-pain-freebie/


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