So you are set to get a joint replacement? Before you step into a hospital you should ask you doctor about getting physical therapy before your surgery.
A recent study published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery found that attending physical therapy prior to receiving a Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) or Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA) can reduce the duration of post-surgical rehabilitation by 30%, saving the patient approximately $1215.
But that is not all, other benefits of pre-surgical physical therapy
1: Reduced Anxiety- Physical Therapy before joint replacements can provide an understanding of what patients will encounter during and after surgery. Therapy can also provide an opportunity to meet staff that will be caring for them post-surgery. Patients will also be educated on how surgery will affect their life. Exercise can reduce the production of stress hormones such as cortisone.
2: Reduced risk of complication- Exercise can flush bacteria out of the lungs, increase WBC count, and reduce risk of pulmonary complications such as pneumonia.
3: Increased aerobic capacity- Endurance training can increase aerobic capacity allowing for longer and more efficient post-surgical therapy sessions.
4: Increased strength and range of motion: Increasing strength and range of motion allows for patients to achieve functional tasks and goals. Achieving these goals prior to a joint replacement has been shown in multiple studies to accelerate a patient’s recovery.
5: Home management- Physical Therapists can provide an assessment of your home to provide a safe living environment in post-surgical conditions. They may suggest movement of throw rugs, decreasing number of stairs, and adding rails.
6: Decrease body mass index- Exercise and nutrition management has been shown to decrease BMI. A healthy BMI can reduce the risk of complications during and after surgery. Physical Therapist may develop a plan of care for you that will aim to decrease weight through aerobic exercise.
7: Symmetry before surgery- Studies have shown that patients that have symmetry in limbs by aspects of strength, ROM, and circumference before surgery require less post-surgical therapy.
Spalding, N. J. (2003). Reducing anxiety by pre-operative education: make the future familiar. Occupational Therapy International, 10(4), 278-293. doi:10.1002/oti.191
Physical therapy before joint replacement surgery reduces need for postoperative care by nearly 30%. (2014, October 08). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http://www.news-medical.net/news/20141008/Physical-therapy-before-joint-replacement-surgery-reduces-need-for-postoperative-care-by-nearly-3025.aspx
Therapy for knee, hip, shoulder & joint replacement. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2017, from http://umms.org/services/rehab/services/joint-replacement
Preoperative exercise boosts TKA outcomes. (2010, March). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from http://lermagazine.com/article/preoperative-exercise-boosts-tka-outcomes