Joint replacement surgery removes damaged or diseased parts of a joint and replaces them with new, man-made parts.

Replacing a joint can reduce pain and help you move and feel better. Hips and knees are replaced most often. Other joints that can be replaced include the shoulders, fingers, ankles, and elbows.

How is the rehabilitation done?

Joint replacement is done mostly for hip, knee, and shoulder. The goals of rehabilitation are according to the phase of recovery. Generally, a week wise protocol is followed for any joint replacement surgery. The precautions and instructions given by the surgeon should be strictly followed. Home exercises should be done as advised in order to have a smooth recovery.

Initial 3-4 weeks focuses on reducing pain, inflammation and swelling, increasing range of motion, joint stability, muscle strength, and functional independence. Both passive and active range of motion exercises is done to reach the desired range. Icing and elevation should be done regularly. Gait training after hip or knee replacement forms an important part of rehabilitation and is done keeping in mind week wise precautions of weight-bearing. Gait training can start as early as day 2 post-surgery. Later stages aim at improving the range of motion and strength along with a focus on functional re-education. Strengthening of all the muscles that are required for various weight-bearing and non-weight bearing activities form an essential part of the rehabilitation in the later stages of recovery. A disciplined home exercise program should be followed to enhance the recovery process.

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