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The Impact of Physiotherapy on Joint Replacement Procedures

Joint replacement surgeries are becoming increasingly common in the UK. Every year there are approximately 160,000 total hip and knee replacement surgeries completed in England and Wales. Most commonly, it is thought the same number of hips to knee joints are replaced each year; with elbow, shoulder, and ankle joints being a much less common procedure.

With this in mind, how do people recover from these procedures and just how important is physiotherapy?

What is a joint replacement?

A joint replacement is an essential procedure used to remove and replace an arthritic joint within the body with an artificial prosthesis. The prostheses are typically made of metal, plastic or ceramic material and are designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint thus reducing pain.

A ‘joint’ is described as the point where two or more bones meet within the body. They are categorised on their biomechanical pattern and the way they move/bend. Therefore, there are multiple different types of joints in the body.

For example, the knee is considered a hinge joint as it open and closes like a door, whereas the hip is a ball and socket joint because one bone fits into another cup/socket shaped bone.

HTC Blog - Knee prosthesis

Indications for joint replacement:

HTC Blog - Causes for joint replacement surgery

Recovery following a joint replacement:

It is important to have realistic expectations when undergoing a joint replacement. Research suggests that in order to ensure the success of restoring full functional movement following a joint replacement surgery, physiotherapy should be commenced prior to the planned procedure and immediately upon replacement.

The NHS also recommends people should have a minimum of 6-12 weeks of physiotherapy following joint replacement surgery.

How can Physiotherapy help?

Pre-operative Physiotherapy:
In-patient hospital (post op) Physiotherapy:
Post-operative Physiotherapy:


√        Maintain joint range of movement

√        Maintain muscle strength

√        Maintain optimal functional ability

√        Ensure adequate pain control

√        Prepare home environment for possible required post operative adaptations

√        Help you to take you first few steps on your new joint

√        Ensure appropriate and safe range of movement in the joint

√        Provide gentle bed and chair strengthening exercises

√        Practise activities that you may need to do at home ie. The stairs

x         Often limited by post operative pain

√        Ensure maximum joint range of movement

√        Ensure maximum strength in replaced joint and surrounding muscles

√        Help prevent issues and pain experienced prior to your surgery reoccurring

√        Help achieve previously unattainable goals, such as return to hobbies/sport/walking.

√        Improve cardio-vascular fitness.

√        Improve quality of life and self confidence.

Have you had a joint replacement surgery recently? Are you waiting for a joint replacement surgery? …. Ensure you experience the best pre and post-operative rehab to enhance recovery time and reduce pain here at Hempstead Therapy Centre!