Physical Therapy Treatment Options for Joint Replacement

Physical Therapy Treatment Options for Joint Replacement

by Yenny (SU)

Joint replacement surgery, also known as an arthroplasty, is a procedure that involves removing all or part of the damaged joint and replacing it with prosthesis. Joint replacement surgery can be performed on many joints in the body, but it is most commonly done on the hip and knee.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common type of arthritis that occurs when the protective cartilage at the ends of the bones—lining the joints— gradually wears away, resulting in chronic pain, instability, and limited range of motion. A joint replacement may be recommended if such symptoms no longer respond to any form of conservative treatment.

Physical therapy is an integral part of recovery following joint replacement surgery, helping you regain strength and mobility and adjust to your new joint. It can also help speed up the healing process and strengthen the muscles surrounding the new joint to get you moving safely.  

Treatment Modalities

After your joint replacement, your physical therapist will work directly with your orthopedic surgeon to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.  

A physical therapy treatment plan consists of two main parts: active and passive. Active physical therapy involves exercises that you, the patient, apparently have to do. This is what will keep you functional in the long term. Passive physical therapy (such as in heat/cold therapy and massage), on the other hand, simply entails that you are a submissive recipient of the treatment.

A physical therapy treatment plan for an orthopedic condition typically consists a combination of the following modalities: 

o   Exercise

Exercise programs incorporated into a physical therapy treatment plan are geared toward improving strength, endurance, flexibility, and range of motion in a safe way.

o   Joint Mobilization 

Joint mobilization is a manual therapy intervention in which your PT employs a careful use of skilled graded forces to move your joint in certain directions in order to improve mobility and flexibility and reduce pain.

o   Alternating Heat and Ice Therapy 

Heat helps boost circulation to damaged tissue, provide pain relief, and reduce muscle tension. It may be applied via a heat pack or via a device called a hydrocollator.

Ice therapy may be used to reduce inflammation around the affected tissue. It can help to reduce pain and control swelling. It may be applied using a cold pack or ice. 

Physical Therapy Services in Northeast Tennessee 

At Watauga Orthopedics, we have highly skilled, licensed physical therapists who have helped many of our patients who had undergone joint replacement recover successfully and enjoy a good quality of life with their new joint.  

Our physical therapy services are available at all three of our locations: in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol. To find out more, contact us at (423) 282-9011 or you can use our convenient appointment request form to arrange a consultation.