Modern Joint replacements were first done in the 1960s. Since that time, they have become one of the most frequently performed orthopedic surgeries in the world. In the US alone, more than 1 million joint replacements are performed each year.
Joint replacements routinely free people from the misery and limitation of joint disease and restore them to active, pain-free lives where they don’t have to take medication every day to control their joint pain.
People who have suffered joint pain for many years are usually very happy to have the diseased joint replaced with an artificial one. The thing I hear most often from these people are the words “I wish I had done this sooner.”
If you are considering a joint replacement there are two people you need to know:
- An orthopedic surgeon
- A Physical therapist
The first you will see for about 2 hours.
The second you will see for about 3 months.
Good rehab is critical to your success. First you have to recover from your surgery. Next you have to reverse the accumulated effects of years of joint disease to restore strength, flexibility, balance and confidence. This takes a lot of commitment and work from you. With the skills and guidance of a great Physical Therapist, these efforts will pay off for years to come.
Joint replacements are supposed to last 15 to 20 years, but they often last much longer. Some of the first hip replacements done in the 1960s lasted over 30 years. Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since then thus the time you spend in rehab is an investment in your success over the coming years and even decades.
Just to give you an idea of how beneficial joint replacements can be, let me tell you a story from my family. My mom had 2 hip replacements approximately 10 years ago. For those of you who don’t know my mom, she lives in the UK. She lives in a 4th floor apartment; there’s no elevator so she has to go up and down the stairs a few times a day. She lives in a big city so she does not own a car and walks to the store (or takes the bus or the train to go places). Because of those joint replacements, she is now 80, still climbing up and down those stairs, walking to the store, still living life on her own terms. None of which would be possible if she still had joint disease.
Something else happened to my mom after her surgeries: She thought what else can I do with this new lease on life. What are the things I have not done? What are the things I have always wanted to do? What’s on my bucket list? My mom set about making a list and checking things off. She went to the Galapagos; hiked a full day on the Inca trail; went to Machu Picchu, China and Morocco and she even lived in Africa and worked in a hospital there. Even today she regularly gets on a plane and does a grand tour of the USA to come and visit all her grandchildren and other relatives.
Having a joint replacement can not only return you to the routine things you enjoy and appreciate about life, but also can open up the possibility of doing things you never thought you would be able to do or things you always dreamed of doing.
If you have already scheduled a joint replacement or if you are still thinking about it and you want to know more about the rehab involved, I invite you to come and visit us. You can sit down with one of our physical therapists. We would love to talk about the rehab you are going to do, what you can expect from your PT and what we expect from you for a successful outcome. Our experts will answer all the questions you have for us. We can also give you some exercises and stretches to do at home in preparation for your surgery. The stronger you are going in, the better outcome you will get.
Let’s make this the year you look back on and say “I wish I had done that sooner!”
If you would like tips on how to prepare for your joint replacement, click the image below!