The Luna App

Available in

Get App
Call Us 866-806-3599

Physical therapy for joint replacement

What is a joint replacement?

Joint replacement, more formally known as “total joint replacement surgery,” is a procedure during which parts of a damaged joint are replaced with a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to mimic the movement of a healthy joint, helping the patient to move more freely after their surgery.

Several conditions can warrant a total joint replacement. The most common of these, arthritis, can damage the cartilage that protects the joints, resulting in chronic pain. Fractures or other injuries can have the same or similar effects. Generally, doctors recommend pain medication and/or physical therapy as the first line of defense against joint pain. It’s only when these solutions are insufficient that total joint replacement surgery is warranted.

Joint replacement surgery only takes a few hours. Recovery, on the other hand, typically takes months. Physical therapy is a vital part of the joint replacement recovery process, during which patients increase strength, mobility, and flexibility in the months following surgery to ensure proper healing.

Source: OrthoInfo

Joint replacement recovery symptoms

The recovery experience will differ from patient to patient, and depending on which joint has been replaced. For example, those who undergo knee or hip replacement will likely have to use a walker during recovery, while shoulder replacement patients will not. That said, there are certain commonalities that all patients can expect.

Immediately after the procedure, patients will probably experience pain, swelling, and fatigue. A few days out from surgery, pain and swelling may persist, but the patient should be able to move the joint more comfortably.

The most common symptoms of joint replacement recovery include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Fatigue

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Why do patients need joint replacements?

The single most common reason for which patients elect to undergo total joint replacement surgery is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the joint to wear down, leading to chronic pain and discomfort.

Other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, bone tumors, injury, or avascular necrosis can also incur the need for a total joint replacement. Typically, a doctor is likely to try walking aids, medication, or physical therapy prior to recommending joint replacement surgery. If none of these measures sufficiently address the problem, surgery may be warranted.

The most common causes of joint replacements include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Injury
  • Bone tumors

Source: WebMD

Physical therapy for joint replacements

Physical therapy represents an essential component of the healing process following total joint replacement surgery. Using a well-designed treatment plan, a licensed physical therapist can help patients improve mobility, endurance, flexibility, and strength, and restore range of motion.

Recent studies have also suggested that physical therapy prior to joint replacement surgery can improve patient outcomes and speed recovery times, making physical therapy a valuable addition to joint replacement surgery both before and after the operation.

Source: Move Forward PT

Luna’s physical therapists treat
joint replacements

Luna employs physical therapists that specialize in treating patients who have undergone total joint replacement surgery. Our experienced team of therapists are helping patients get back on their feet and back into the rhythm of their daily lives.

The best part of Luna is that patients no longer need to trek to and from the clinic. Our physical therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

Download the app

Enter your mobile number and we’ll send you a link to download the app (iOS/Android).

Ready to book? Download the Luna App to manage your appointments, message the Luna Concierge and your physical therapist, and more.