If you are set to undergo a knee or hip replacement, it is critical you see a physiotherapist first. Here’s why.
1. Work on a Swelling Management Plan
Immediately after surgery, you will swell heavily. To start feeling better fast, you need to manage the swelling as quickly as possible. Consult your physiotherapist as soon as you can for a swelling management plan for the first two weeks after surgery. The plan will involve the use of compression to minimize swelling when standing or walking around. It will also recommend regular breaks where you will be required to lie down with your operated limb elevated.
The physiotherapist will advise you on how to appropriately and at what intervals you should apply ice to the swollen area. They might recommend a cryotherapy machine for this purpose. If you faithfully follow the swelling management plan, you will experience less pain. You will also recover and regain your mobility quickly.
2. Lessons on Mobility
Many people think using clutches is a breeze. However, the moment they are out of the hospital, the hard reality of how challenging this ‘simple’ task is, hits home. Just think about it: the pain and your leg’s limited mobility can make simple tasks such as taking the stairs and visiting the toilet or getting in and out of your car very difficult.
Luckily, your physiotherapist will train you how to tackle these essential tasks while your leg is still strong enough to take the punishment – and that is before you go for your knee or hip replacement. Knowing exactly what to do in whatever situation you find yourself in after surgery can make your life that much bearable. You may not be as agile as you were before the surgery, but you will at least be flexible enough to perform simple exercises with minimal assistance.
3. Help with Bathing Lessons
Some of the tasks we take for granted, such as bathing, can be hugely daunting when you are recovering from a knee or hip replacement surgery. Besides, you need to know when it is safe to get incisions wet and the safety measures you need to follow after your operation.
Your physiotherapist will advise on whether you will require an elevated toilet seat. You will need to know how to get in and out of the shower or a bathtub. The physiotherapist may recommend a shower chair. All these require careful planning and strategizing since each home is different. Having a physiotherapist take you through a test run before your surgery will definitely come to your aid later on after the operation.
Most people don’t think they should be concerned about dressing. However, when one of your legs is stiff and painful, getting dressed can seem like mission impossible. A home physiotherapist will point out the importance of having most of the things you need within your reach. He or she will also recommend practical tools you can use to reach and grasp items.
In general, a physiotherapist will give you tips and recommend tools that could make your life easier after the operation. One of the critical tip you will get is dressing your operated leg first and undressing last.
5. First Exercises
Your rehabilitation will take quite some time, and the earlier you commence your exercises, the better. The best time to start is on the first day after the surgery. Of course, this is not the time for aggressive exercises. Your physiotherapist will show you which exercises are safe to do during the first few days after the surgery.
Seeing a physiotherapist prior to your hip or knee replacement surgery prepares you for life after the operation. Knowing what to do, and the tools you need after the surgery makes for a speedy recovery.