Advice Before and After Joint Replacement Surgery Delaying the Need for a Joint Replacement Surgery is only ever performed if really necessary, so if you have osteoarthritis affecting your knee or hip, there are steps that can delay the need for an operation. For instance, anti-inflammatories can help to reduce pain and inflammation, while keeping physically active can reduce stiffness and walking with a stick can aid your mobility. Steroid injections are another option to lessen pain and stiffness in your knee joint. However, as your arthritis progresses, these steps become less effective.
Pre-operation Advice to Aid Your Recovery Achieving optimal health and fitness before surgery provides you with the best chance of hip or knee replacement recovery. Besides quitting smoking and losing excess weight, exercising to strengthen your upper and lower body is a good idea. With greater upper body strength it is easier for you to mobilise using walking aids, while strengthening the muscles around your knee or hip will enhance your recovery and make the hip or knee replacement exercises easier to perform. Thinking ahead to when you are home, preparing in advance allows you to make sure items are in easy reach, you have plenty of non-perishable food in the house and you have someone to help you with tasks in the early days.
Joint Replacement Recovery Time After a hip or knee replacement operation, you should usually be home within 4 to 7 days of having the procedure. However, you will still need to rely on a walking stick or crutches for several weeks. Knee or hip replacement recovery is usually aided by regular exercise, which can help you to promptly resume normal activities. The majority of people who undergo joint replacement surgery recover well, finding that they have less pain and greater mobility thanks to the artificial joint, though over a period of 10 to 15 years you may find that the joint begins to wear.
Knee and Hip Replacement Aftercare You will receive painkillers to help you cope with the discomfort following the procedure; depending on your circumstances, you may also need oxygen and a blood transfusion after the operation. Your surgical wound will have a dressing over it and you may also notice that you have surgical drains in place to remove blood from the surgical site.
The emphasis is on getting you mobile as soon as possible after your hip or knee replacement and staff may get you walking the day that you have your operation. To help you walk, you will first use a frame or crutches, but after a week you may be able to walk with the help of sticks. While on the ward you will see a physiotherapist who will advise you on suitable hip or knee replacement exercises designed to strengthen your new joint. They will also teach you the best way to sit and bend without damaging your new joint, and provide advice on the activities you should avoid. Even once home, it is important that you follow the physiotherapist's exercises and attend any follow-up appointments with them as an outpatient.
It is usual to return to see Mr Hollingdale within 6 to 12 weeks of your joint replacement to review your progress and then after a year to check that there are no problems with your artificial joint. You are then recommended to have an x-ray every 5 years to check your new joint for signs of looseness or wear.
Sport and Joint Replacement After recovering from a hip or knee replacement operation, it is important to keep active. However, you should avoid high-impact activities that place your hips or knees under increased pressure, such as those that involve running or jumping. You should also avoid contact sports like football or squash. Walking and cycling are two good low-impact activities that help to strengthen your joint, but bowls, dancing, golf and doubles tennis can also help to improve your strength, mobility and co-ordination. If you are unsure about your chosen activity, Mr Hollingdale or your physiotherapist will provide further guidance.
Your Daily Life after Joint Replacement After 6 weeks, you should usually be able to drive, though Mr Hollingdale will provide personalised guidance on this. When you can return to work does depend on the demands of your job, but you can typically resume work within 6 to 12 weeks of your knee or hip replacement operation. Although it can vary from person to person, you will usually feel back to normal within 12 weeks and you should be able to carry out most of the activities you would prior to your surgery.