A total joint replacement procedure, such as a knee or hip replacement, will reduce pain and restore mobility. However, you won't see these benefits automatically or immediately. While your knee or hip will typically feel better after surgery, you should also see a physical therapist to have some rehab.
Why is this a good idea?
Rehab Improves Post-Surgical Recovery
You will feel some pain and discomfort after a knee or hip replacement. You've had major surgery, and your body needs to get used to its new joint. Your tissues will be sore and swollen.
Plus, if you don't get moving quickly, then you might have issues with blood circulation. In extreme cases, people can develop life-threatening blood clots after surgery if this happens.
Rehab can make this whole period easier and less stressful. It will boost your post-surgical recovery.
For example, physical therapy will help reduce your swelling and make your joint less uncomfortable. It will reduce your post-surgical pain and discomfort, so you will feel better faster.
Rehab also ensures that you get moving quickly and safely under trained medical supervision. You're less likely to have problems with your blood circulation, and you reduce the risk of getting a blood clot.
Rehab Helps Restore Motion and Strength
You won't necessarily have a full range of motion in your new knee or hip joint after surgery. Your body needs to adapt to its new artificial joint. You might have to retrain it to move smoothly and naturally.
A rehab therapist can exercise your body around the joint to improve your range of motion. They can help you rebuild strength that you may have lost as your joint deteriorated in the past.
Remember that your knee or hip might still feel weak even after you've had your new joint fitted. Chances are, you've lost some strength in this part of your body. You might have used your body differently before your procedure to compensate for your joint pain.
Your new joint won't automatically strengthen the weakened areas. Or, it might take some time to build up strength naturally.
However, a course of rehab can help you build up your strength faster and more effectively. Your therapist can teach you a range of exercises to rebuild your muscles around your new joint and get them all working again.
To find out more about total joint replacement rehab and how it works, ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist.