Hip and knee replacements can get you back to an active life in a jiffy. Keep this in mind: You are an important factor in determining the end result of surgery. A new hip or knee joint does not work on its own.
To get the most out of your new parts you need to commit to an exercise program. This work begins immediately after surgery with a personalized rehabilitation plan created by a physiotherapist.
But a critical part of the recovery process begins after finishing the last physiotherapy appointment. “You’re already involved in an exercise program,” says physiotherapist Michele Hribar, PT. “Now you have to continue the rest of your life.”
The Importance of Exercising After Joint Replacement Surgery
It is essential to build muscles around the new hip or knee to keep the joint in tip shape. Hribar recommends continuing the specific exercise routine that you have already established with your physiotherapist.
“You really have to optimize the exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles,” Hribar says.
Fitness in general is also important, especially because knee or hip pain before surgery may have prevented you from doing enough activity. This may have caused weakness or limitations in areas other than the affected joint.
“Now that the joint is in better shape, you have a chance to improve and maintain overall fitness,” Hribar says.
You also need to exercise for balance, which can be affected after surgery.
The best exercises after joint replacement
Your workout routine should be a combination of aerobic activity and strength, flexibility and balance exercises. With a walking or cycling program it is not enough for any of the muscles needed for mobility and balance.
Some good news too: when this new hip or knee is put into operation, the activities may seem easier to do. “After surgery, these exercises should be better tolerated because of the relief of joint pain,” Hribar says.
Below are recommendations for sweating in two categories:
Aerobic activities make the heart beat faster. To get the ticker to pump, try walking, cycling, or using an elliptical machine. By variety, alternate the different activities. Consider using trekking poles to walk outdoors if you have difficulty maintaining balance and stability.
Once you have fully recovered from joint replacement, you should be able to do virtually any activity you have done before surgery. However, most surgeons do not recommend running.
Before giving up any activity you enjoy, Hribar suggests that you talk to your doctor or physiotherapist. You may be able to return to some higher impact activities or find ways to modify them.
“We’re able to get people back to playing pickle or doubles tennis, even though individual tennis is harder,” Hribar says.
Aim to try to achieve at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week.
Exercises of strength, flexibility and balance
Muscle mass and bone density naturally decrease with age. To slow down this process, it is important to have a complete exercise routine.
Strengthening exercises after a hip or knee replacement should include exercises aimed at the quadriceps (four muscles in the front of the thigh), gluteals (three muscles that form the buttocks), and hip abductors (responsible muscles). to move the thigh to the side)).
Try to do focused strength and balance exercises two or three times a week. To build and maintain flexibility, exercises such as hamstring stretches and heel cord stretches should be part of your daily routine.
Find joy in exercise
Hribar points out that there are activities that combine aerobics, balance, strengthening and flexibility. Examples are dance, yoga, tai chi and pool exercises, which can also be social, with face-to-face classes opening once again after the pandemic and online options also available.
“You can make it fun,” Hribar says.