Joint Replacement: A Step by Step Guide to Recovery

Step 1: Is it Time for a New Joint

Often patients know when it’s time for a new joint. Through discussions with your doctor about pain progression, conservative treatments tried, physical therapy, and imaging, it’s time to consider joint replacement.


Step 2: Recovery Begins Now

Recovery begins now–get prepared with exercise. Start strengthening muscles  now. People who prepare their arms and legs before a joint replacement tend to have a smoother recover.


Step 3: Setting Up Your Home

Ask family and friends to help with chores and errands the first week or two after surgery. Follow home safety tips on page four and arrange for support while you heal.


Step 4: At the Hospital

At the hospital. You may be able to stand and walk within hours of your surgery. Joint replacement usually involves a day or two in the hospital.


Step 5: Gain Strength

A physical therapy program is necessary to help give you appropriate range of motion and return to normal life. You’ll start with a walker for the first week or two and then transition to a cane when it’s safe.

  • Usually after three or four weeks you will be able to walk without assistance.
  • Most individuals are in physical therapy for four to six weeks.

Step 6: Returning to Work

You may need to take up to 12 weeks off work depending on the demands of your job and how you are feeling. It’s usually safe to return to work eight weeks after a knee replacement

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