If you have persistent pain or a limited range of motion within a joint, you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery. Joint replacement surgery can be an effective way to relieve chronic joint pain, improve mobility, and restore your overall quality of life when conservative treatments fail to give relief.
Joint Replacement Surgery
Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis that affects the protective cartilage in a joint, causing bone-on-bone friction. As the joint deteriorates, it can cause significant pain and loss of function. Many individuals suffering from arthritis eventually require a joint replacement when nonsurgical treatments no longer relieve symptoms. Although any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, weight-bearing joints, such as the hip and knee, tend to be the most painful. A joint replacement may also be necessary for joints damaged as a result of repetitive stress injuries and direct trauma, such as the shoulder and elbow.
Joint replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is a procedure that involves removing all or part of a damaged joint and replacing it with artificial components. Joint replacement surgery can be performed on many joints in the body, but hip and knee replacements are the most common.
Advances in technology and more variety of artificial joints allow orthopedic surgeons to use greater precision and utilize the latest surgical techniques in joint replacement. This ensures a successful outcome and faster recovery.
Recovery Following A Joint Replacement
Post-op recovery is different for every patient and will vary depending on the type of joint replacement procedure performed. On average, you can expect a hospital stay for two to five days following surgery, and you will be given pain medication to make you more comfortable. You will be encouraged to start using the new joint as soon as possible to prevent stiffness, but certain movements may be temporarily restricted.
Physical therapy is a key component following joint replacement surgery in order to help you regain strength and mobility and adjust to the new joint. Therapy often starts immediately after joint replacement surgery to help prevent joint stiffness and encourage healing. Your physical therapist will help you with activities such as walking and climbing stairs (depending on your type of joint replacement surgery), as well as how to use a walker, cane, or crutches if required. Physical therapy can help speed up the healing process and strengthen the muscles surrounding the new joint to ensure you get full use of the joint.
Your physical therapist will work with you to design a personalized rehabilitation program, tailored to your specific needs and requirements. Rehabilitation is a gradual process that includes different phases of healing and is designed to go at your pace. You will also be given exercises to do at home to aid in your recovery. Physical therapy programs work to:
- Restore Motion and Relieve Pain – gradually progressing from passive therapy to active range of motion exercises.
- Strengthen and Stabilize – involving a variety of exercises and the use of different equipment to build muscle, help improve coordination, and strengthen and stabilize the muscles and joints.
- Prevent Future Injuries – The final stage of therapy concentrates on techniques that continue to improve strength, function, and coordination, enabling you to carry out daily tasks and activities in a safe way, reducing the chance of future injuries.
Many of your former activities can be resumed following surgery, but you may have to modify the way you do some activities, such as bending down following hip surgery and restricting arm movements following shoulder surgery. Depending on the type of joint replacement you have, your surgeon may restrict you from doing certain activities such as lifting, driving, or taking part in sports for a period of time. Some activities may even need to be avoided for the rest of your life in order to preserve your new joint, such as running following hip surgery. Stress on an artificial joint can cause it to wear down faster or become loose. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss which activities are safe for you to do.
Occupational therapy may also be beneficial following joint replacement surgery to help you carry out everyday tasks, such as getting dressed and bathing. Your therapist can also give you guidance on how to manage safely at home and can recommend equipment (such as a raised toilet seat or shower chair) to help you.
The total recovery time after a total joint replacement can take several months to a year, depending on the type of surgery, your general health, and whether you have any other existing health problems. A majority of patients achieve good results with a dramatic reduction in pain and a significant improvement in mobility and function, helping them experience a better quality of life.
Joint Replacement in St. Peters & O’Fallon, Missouri
If you would like to find out more about joint replacement surgery to relieve your joint pain, contact the experts at Advanced Bone & Joint. Our compassionate, highly skilled orthopedic surgeons utilize the latest surgical techniques in hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow replacement. We have the experience and expertise to effectively treat your joint pain. Call us today at (636) 229-4222 to schedule an appointment, or you can request an appointment online.