Post Joint Replacement Surgery Exercise
Surgeries always take a heavy toll on the body, no matter what age we are. We can be in the best shape, or have the greatest pre-surgery plan, but if we don’t take care of ourselves after there is no point. Getting back to the healthy state we were in pre-surgery takes a good post-surgery plan that we actually stick to. Although stretching or exercising may make us a little sore, or hurt a little, we have to push ourselves to move along the healing process.
The older we get the more likely we are going to have to face a total-joint replacement surgery, the most common being knee and hip surgeries. Although this is unfortunately common, that means there have been a lot of strengthening and conditioning exercises that have been tested and proven to work.
So how do you know what exercises to try, or how far to go? Obviously a doctor will give you instructions on what you can and cannot do and for how long. Following these are in your best interest. A physical therapist will also be able to help you find your limits and push yourself. But there are different things you can do at home to get the best results.
Here are a few exercises you can start with a couple times a day at home following total joint replacement surgeries such as knee or hip:
Heel slides (hip and knee flexion)
Bend your hip and knee by sliding your heel up toward your buttocks while keeping your heel on the bed. Slide your heel back down to the starting position. Keep your kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling during the exercise. You may want to use a plastic bag under your heel to help it slide easier. Repeat with opposite leg.
Lying kicks (short arc quadriceps)
Lie on your back with a 3-pound coffee can or rolled blanket under your knee. Straighten your knee. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly lower your leg down and relax. The back of your knee should stay in contact with the can/blanket during the exercise. Repeat with opposite leg.
Straight leg raises
Bend one of your legs with your foot flat on the bed. Raise your opposite leg up (about 12 inches), keeping your knee straight. Hold briefly. Progress to holding for 5 seconds. Slowly lower your leg down and relax. Repeat with opposite leg.
Obviously every person responds differently to exercises the important part is to talk to your doctor and find out what option is best for you. Return to your best flexibility as soon as possible.