Physical Therapy Before a Total Joint Replacement

Over 1 million joint replacement surgeries are performed every year in the US. By the year 2030, that number is supposed to increase to over 4 million. That’s a lot of artificial knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, and elbows. The most common cause of joint replacements is arthritis, or degeneration of the joint surfaces. This can lead to pain, decreased range of motion, and decreased function.

Physical therapy is a great place to address limitations caused by pain, decreased range of motion, and decreased function! Physical therapy is also recommended prior to joint replacement surgery. Some might ask “Why should I go to physical therapy if I’m just planning on having surgery anyway?”. That is a great question! Will physical therapy be able to “fix” the
arthritis in your joint? Meaning, can we restore the normal amount of cartilage and lubrication to joint and make it look like that joint is the same as a 20 year old athlete? The answer to that question is no. Once the cartilage in the joint is gone, the only way to replace it, is by artificial means. That doesn’t mean that physical therapy can’t help address your limitations prior to surgery. In some cases patients have even done so well in physical surgery they opt to postpone their surgery for a period of time, or even indefinitely!

Physical therapy can improve strength and ROM in the painful joint prior to surgery. A joint that has better strength and ROM going into surgery leads to better outcomes following surgery! Physical therapy is more than just giving you exercises, that may lead to muscle soreness. We can use a variety of techniques to address pain, ROM limitations, and limitations in daily life
including manual therapy, electrical stimulation, ice, balance, stretching exercises, and strengthening exercises.

Interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help you before and after a joint replacement?!?! You are in luck! Isanti Physical Therapy is hosting a FREE joint replacement workshop on Wednesday, October 2nd at 7pm. Check out our website or register at

Hope to see you at the workshop!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

September 18th, 2019

Posted In: General

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