So you have been told that you need a new knee? Or maybe a new hip? Don’t despair. That’s good news! It means you have lived a robust and active life.
Think of your body like a car. Those older, shiny, rust-free cars with low mileage have gone nowhere. They have sat in the driveway. Your “car” (a.k.a. body) has been driven hard and seen a lot. Lived an active, adventurous life and laid down some serious mileage. So it’s worn out in a few places? No big deal. Makes sense actually.
Especially when you realize that the hips and the knees take the biggest brunt of aging. They are what us medical people call weight-bearing joints. They bear a lot of weight over the years. (Running is said to be five times your body weight!) The other good news about your predicament? It can be fixed, thanks to modern medicine and your doctor and surgeon. But — you knew there would be a “but” coming. This was sounding too easy. Well…it takes a team to make sure your joint replacement surgery is successful. Your surgeon, your physiotherapist…and you! The surgeon will do an impeccable job. Your physio knows how to prepare you for surgery and how to rehabilitate you after. Your job is to do the grunt work to ensure success. It is advisable to have a consult with a physiotherapist before your surgery. They are university-trained rehab specialists and are able to guide you through this time. They work in conjunction with the surgeon and know each surgeon’s particular protocol for pre -and post-op care. It is best to see a physio two to three months prior to surgery. They will assess you and determine areas to work on. This will include functional strengthening, stretching and balance within your pain and other limitations.
There is no need to buy a gym pass or fancy equipment. The physio can make it work so you can work out at home. Or can provide guidance for gym or pool work-outs. After you have had the joint replacement surgery you will need to see your physiotherapist again. The timeline for this depends on your surgeon. You and your favourite physio don’t really pick up where you left off. Because now you have a new knee or hip. But you have met and you know the basic premise of rehab. So now the stage is set for you to build up the muscles around the new joint. And train your leg to do what your surgeon says is safe. Rehabilitation is critical for a full recovery. It’s best your program is as simple and effective as possible, so you will do it! That’s key. You need to be a part of this process. Be proactive. Join in. And welcome your new knee or hip to some more fun and smart adventure!