Recovering from Joint Replacement

While joint replacement can relieve pain, increase mobility, and improve quality of life, surgery and the recovery process that follows should never be taken lightly. The most common joint replacement surgeries are hip, knee and shoulder.

People who require or stand to benefit from joint replacement generally experience severe and chronic joint pain from arthritis or injury. This results in limited mobility and drastically affects their ability to carry out everyday activities.

If you are scheduled for joint replacement surgery, there are several things you should expect:

Expect a short hospital stay. Generally, patients stay in the hospital for about 3-7 days after hip or knee replacement. The stay will be shorter for shoulder replacement. Your doctors will closely watch your healing to determine when you can go home and what your recovery plan will include.

Expect exercises. For hip and knee replacement, you will begin by walking with support from crutches or a walker within a day of surgery. It is important to begin these exercises early to promote healing and prevent blood clots from forming. You will be eased into more demanding exercises over the coming days. For shoulder replacement, exercises might begin on the same day.

Expect medication. The amount of pain a patient experiences varies. Pain medication may be administered intravenously at first, and then oral pain medication, blood thinners and antibiotics may also be prescribed.

Expect physical therapy. Exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding your new joint will last for up to two months. Your physical therapist will show you how to perform these exercises safely and effectively. Medical Center Arlington’s Joint Replacement wing has a fully equipped rehabilitation gym for your healthy recovery.

Expect several weeks of recovery. For shoulder replacement, you will be asked to wear a sling during the day for a few weeks and at night for up to six weeks. After a few weeks, most patients can perform simply daily activities; however driving is off limits for six weeks.

Take it easy, take it slow, take care of yourself, and enjoy your new joints.

Do you have any questions about joint replacement surgery? Please attend one of our pre-operative joint replacement education sessions on the 1st Thursday of the month from 9:00 am to 10:30 am and the 3rd Thursday of the month from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm in the MCA Cafeteria, Private Dining Room. To register, please call Abbi Miller at (817) 472-4944 or visit our website for more information.

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
The Arthritis Foundation

Related Posts:
The Basics of Knee Replacement
Physical Therapy and You

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