Joint replacements are no fun. Neither is the recovery period after surgery.
The good news is physical therapy before a joint replacement speeds up recovery, saves money and cuts down on the amount of post-operative care.
The American Physical Therapy Association looked at a recent study involving 4,733 Medicare patients who had knee or hip replacements. “A new study has found that as few as 1 to 2 sessions of preoperative physical therapy can reduce postoperative care use by 29% for patients undergoing total hip or knee replacement, adding up to health care cost savings of more than $1,000 per individual,” states the article.
The study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery said the apparent benefits don’t come from strengthening muscles. That makes sense. One or two physical therapy sessions are not going to build a lot of muscle tissue.
The sessions made a difference in “the way it prepared patients for postoperative rehabilitation.”
In other words, people went to therapy once or twice before their surgery. They learned what would be expected after the operation. They came out of the operation ready to work.
That makes sense too. If you know what’s expected, you can better rise to meet the challenge. If you know what you are going to do, you can mentally prepare yourself ahead of time.
If a joint replacement is in your future, talk with your surgeon about pre-operative therapy. Mention the American Physical Therapy Association article, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery study and this blog. If you think one or two sessions of therapy, to get ready for what is to come will help, then contact us to set up an appointment.
We’ll walk you through everything you can expect to do after the surgery. We’ll explain what therapy you’ll do and what that is supposed to help.