Recovering from Joint Replacement Surgery: What to Expect

Recovering from Joint Replacement Surgery: What to Expect

Over time, stress and repetitive use wears down your joints, and they become painful, stiff, and difficult to move. If your painful hips, knees, or shoulders are lowering your quality of life, a joint replacement surgery procedure may be a good way for you to relieve your symptoms and reclaim your movement.

At South Texas Spinal Clinic, our team of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapy experts specialize in partial and total joint replacements, including the process of your post-procedure recovery. Here’s what we want our patients to expect from life after joint replacement surgery.

Undergoing joint replacement surgery

Joint replacement surgery involves the replacement of all or part of a damaged joint with prosthetic elements made from various materials, including ceramic, metal, and plastic.

Joint replacement surgeries differ based on the joint that needs to be replaced and the degree of deterioration. Our team always recommends the least invasive option for your treatment needs and does everything possible to minimize your recovery time with state-of-the-art surgical techniques that cause minimal damage to your healthy tissues. 

If you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, repetitive use injuries, or another type of degenerative or structural disorder, surgical joint replacement could be right for you.

After joint replacement surgery

Talk to your provider at South Texas Spinal Clinic about your post-surgery pain management plan. This may include medication management, icing therapy, massage, and movement strategies to help you stay comfortable and regain function. Some pain and swelling is normal in the first few weeks after surgery.

You’ll likely need to use assistive devices like crutches, a cane, a walker, and/or shoe horns. You may need to plan on making changes around your home to accommodate your recovery, such as installing grab bars, getting a raised toilet seat, and using a chair in the tub or shower to help you bathe. It’s important to stay on top of your physical therapy plan until you’re fully recovered.

After your recovery, your joint replacement should work just like your original joint. However, you need to approach your recovery with attention and care in order to heal as completely as possible after your procedure.

Full recovery after joint replacement surgery

Your recovery time depends on several factors, including the type of joint replacement surgery you’ve experienced. For example, after a knee replacement surgery, you start walking on the replacement knee almost immediately and start physical therapy within the first day post-op. 

Our surgeon lets you know more about the follow-up appointment schedule you’ll need to maintain.

Typically, within the first month after surgery, you start returning to low-impact daily life activities like driving and doing chores around the house. After about seven weeks, you can return to low-impact physical exercise like swimming and walking. 

It takes most patients at least three months after joint replacement surgery to be able to safely return to high-impact physical activity.

To learn more about recovering after joint replacement surgery and whether a joint replacement surgery procedure could be right for you, get in touch with the team of specialists at any of our six locations in San Antonio or our offices throughout five South Texas today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment online, or call now to book.

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