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Total Joint Replacement Rehab

Are you planning or have you recently had a total knee replacement, total hip replacement or a total shoulder replacement? If so, physical therapy for total joint replacement rehabilitation after surgery is what we do. Our Portland, OR physical therapy clinic sees more total joint replacement patients after surgery than most, if not all, other clinics in the metro area.

For those whose mobility and function is limited after total joint replacement surgery give us a call. Or for those who are experiencing impairing joint pain without having gone through replacement surgery yet and your joint is a constant source of pain, Rose City Physical Therapy can help provide you with some relief of your pain, increase some range of motion and keep the muscles around the joint where surgery is planned strong through our pre-hab program. 

Common causes of total joint replacement:

Total joint replacement surgery is completed on those who:

  • Have severe joint damage due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Experienced a severe trauma to the joint(s) that affected the joint surfaces.
  • Live with chronic joint pain. If your pain is constantly affecting your daily life and no other treatments have seemed to help, your doctor may suggest a total joint replacement surgery and physical therapy thereafter.

How will physical therapy help me?

Physical therapy will be important in the rehabilitation process for your total joint replacement. Your physical therapist will provide a treatment plan for you that will assist early on in reducing your pain and inflammation, and restore your range of motion. This then progresses to optimizing flexibility and mobility of the surgical joint, and increasing your strength, endurance, and overall functional mobility. 

Physical therapy treatments can also benefit you before your procedure. This is known as ‘Prehab’ – or pre-surgical rehab. Prehab focuses on educating you in home and equipment preparation and safety, any appropriate prehab motion and strengthening exercises post-op expectations, and activity progression in order to make sure that your recovery process is as smooth as possible.

Research in 2015 on the effectiveness of physical therapy after a total knee replacement (TKA), showed increased function with physical therapy versus a control group of a home exercise program or minimal treatment.  Another study in 2011 compared high versus low intensity physical therapy for 25 versus 16 visits.  The outcome was conclusive that a greater number of visits leads to sooner return to stair climbing, greater range of motion, and better quadricep muscle contraction and activation.  The tests were measured throughout recovery until 52 weeks and at every measurement, the higher intensity was superior to lower, except for pain- where there was no significant difference.  

What should I expect in physical therapy for my total joint replacement?

Your initial appointment will consist of a physical therapy evaluation which will discuss your overall medical health as well as the history of your joint pain that led to the total joint replacement. Swelling at the joint will be measured and compared to the other side, range of motion of the surgical site and strength around the area will also be measured. This all helps to determine what course of treatment will be best for your needs. Based on the evaluation outcome and your goals, our physical therapist will then create a specialized treatment plan aimed at rehabilitation and bringing you back to your optimum physical function.

At first, your treatment plan will primarily focus on pain relief, swelling reduction and  early motion recovery. This may include interferential current (electrical stimulation) and ice to manage pain and swelling, manual therapy to the surrounding area, and gentle therapeutic exercises; or any other combination of treatment services that your physical therapist deems appropriate for you. Progression to a more active program will occur and focus on optimizing your range of motion and completing strengthening exercises that you will do under the guidance of your physical therapist, in addition to exercises that you will do on your own at home. These will all help in making your recovery as quick and comfortable as possible, all while improving your normal function!

If you believe you could benefit from our total joint replacement rehabilitation services, contact Rose City Physical Therapy today at Portland, OR. We will get you back to living your best life, free from pain and limiting joints!