If you are going for joint replacement surgery, one of the things that could be on your mind is your recovery time. Knowing how long it will take is helpful to set the right expectations about your mobility and activity levels. Unfortunately, there is not an exact answer to this.
In general, a complete recovery for a knee replacement is 3-12 months and for a hip replacement is 2-6 months. Complete recovery means that the surgical wounds and soft tissue are healed, you feel well enough to return to your activities, and your joint’s functions and range of motion are considerably improved. As you can see the range of time is quite wide.
Speedy recovery depends on many things. One of the more important ones is your overall health going into surgery. Another one is the level of your physical fitness prior to surgery. When arthritis attacks, our mobility is decreased, and therefore we use fewer muscles and they deteriorate.
Your overall health and your level of fitness can both be improved prior to surgery. Losing excess weight, quitting smoking, and eating a well-balanced and healthy diet are within our control. After meeting with your doctor, discuss what you can do to be better prepared.
Pre-hab is widely recommended nowadays for people who will be undergoing joint replacement surgery. It is an exercise program, with a physiotherapist, that you would do before the surgery to get your muscles in a better shape, thus allowing a faster recovery. Many physiotherapists offer it.
Joint replacement is one of the safest surgeries. Recovery from it requires commitment and realistic expectations on your side. There is always someone who could say they were back to playing golf 5 weeks after surgery, but everyone is different. Discuss the recovery with your doctor and be prepared to work hard at helping your body heal after.