Tips For a Faster Joint Replacement Recovery
Joint replacements used to leave people in agonizing pain taking weeks, sometimes months to recover. It was not uncommon to be hospitalized 3 to 7 days. Now, newer techniques allow for the patient to be up and walking right after surgery and to be released from the hospital on the same day. The goal in getting someone up and moving right away benefits the patient in a huge way. They are less likely to develop blood clots, experience increased pain and lose muscle mass.
Do not mistake this for an easy ride though. There is still a lot of work that goes in before, during, and after the surgery. The more prepared you are, the better your outcome will be. Keeping everyone involved, ie. support person, facilitator, surgeon, nursing staff and anesthesiologist, all on the same page will only benefit you. Here are some things you can do to make your recovery go faster:
- Set realistic expectations on your recovery BEFORE you even have the surgery. Go in to it knowing it will take time for you to heal. Research shows that even though you feel great and are able to get around fairly easy, the muscle tissues and bone still take a full 6 weeks to heal properly. For some, it can be even more than 6 weeks. Keeping that in mind will prepare you mentally to accept that you will not be running a marathon within a month’s time after your joint replacement.
- Eat a healthy diet, stop smoking and continue a strengthening exercise routine before the big day. Doing this will have you fit and healthy for surgery. By continuing the exercise or physiotherapy prior to the surgery, you will be that much more ahead of the game when you start the routine back up.
- Prepare your home ahead of time before the surgery. Making some meals you can keep in the freezer will make eating time less stressful and easier. Get your sleeping area set up. For example, if your bedroom is in an upstairs area, it might make more sense to set something up downstairs for a couple of days until you feel like you can safely climb stairs. Clear away any unnecessary items on the floor to prevent the chance of tripping over them.
- Most importantly, ALWAYS do what your doctor has instructed and follow through with any preparation required or limitations they have set for you.