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Why physio is important before joint replacement surgery.

This is the first in a two part series on Joint Replacement. We typically see three main jonts replaced - knees, hips and shoulders, however ankles, elbows, vertebral and even finger joints can also be replaced.

Joint replacement usually occurs when pain and function in the joint has become so bad that you can't do your normal everyday activities. You will notice a severe restriction in range of motion.

Lets use a knee as an example

The time from onset of symptoms to actually having a joint replaced is often years. In the months leading up to having your joint replacement the pain is getting so bad that you are not using the joint much any more and the muscles around the joint are becomg severely deconditioned. In fact your general cardiovascular fitness is also being affected as you cannot go for your normal walks with the dog, or play tennis witrh your friends. The joint is starting to get very stiff and you can barely bend it to 90 degrees, making getting into your recliner or sitting on the toilet difficult.

From experience with seeing thousands of paients with OA in their knee, what you have got in terms of range of motion and strength in the muscles around your knee prior to your joint replacement largely determines what your range of motion will be afterwards. That is, the less range of motion and strength you have coming into the op, the less you have after and the harder it is to improve your range. The more you have pre op, the better your outcomes are afterwards.

This is where pre-op physio comes in. By coming to see one of our physios before your operation we will set up a tailored prehabiltation program of manual therapy, stretches and strengtheing exercises to maximise your range of motion and increase strength in the muscles around the joint. This will help you be ready for the rehabilitation required after your operation and help improve your post op outcomes.

A joint replacement requires plenty of hard work from you to get back as much function as possible, but it can be made a bit easier by doing some of the hard work before the op.

Come see one of our experienced physios and get the best care before you have your surgery. We will also give you lots of information about what to expect for your rehabilitation and even show you how to use crutches if you need them.

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