Friday 19 April 2019
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What Will I Be Able to Do after a Joint Replacement?

Many that are experiencing severe joint pain and are considering their treatment options are very cautious about having a joint replaced.

It’s easy to see how one might be scared to have a set of bones completely replaced with manufactured alternatives. This is a serious decision, of course, and it should not be taken lightly. Besides being worried about the surgery itself, many worry about what kind of life they’ll have after the surgery is completed. You can’t go back from such a surgery, after all.

So what should you expect to be able to do after having a joint replaced?

Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is one of the most common types of joint replacement surgeries. Fortunately, this means that there’s plenty of knowledge in the industry about how to handle the procedure and how to best care for your new joint after the surgery is completed.

What can you expect to be doing with this new joint after your surgery?

At first, you will need an assistive device to do almost anything. Walking will require a walker or crutches. After several days to a few weeks, you should expect to move onto using a cane. Shortly thereafter, you’ll be able to walk without any assistive devices at all.

In most cases, anywhere from several months up to a year later, you’ll reach total recovery, and will be able to resume going about your normal activities without worrying about the replacement knee.


There are many types of physical activities that are considered as being safe for those that have recovered completely from a total knee replacement surgery. Walking, swimming, yoga, cycling, dancing and even weight lifting are generally thought to be perfectly safe.

Higher impact sports or exercises are thought to be riskier, however. You should consult with your doctor before performing activities such as skiing or jogging. That means that many sports are also risky. Playing basketball, football, or even baseball could potentially cause damage.

This should be examined on a case-by-case basis, however, so be sure to speak to your doctor before deciding which activities are safe for you.

Hip Replacement

Hip replacements are also extremely common. The hip joint is a very large one and supports practically all the movements in your body. From how you sleep, to how you walk, your hip joint is involved. As such, it might be appropriate to take extra cautionary steps when performing many ordinary activities.

As with a knee replacement, you should take your recovery period seriously, and follow the directions of your doctor and physical therapist in order to have a speedy and successful recovery.

Once recovery is complete, lower impact activities are generally acceptable. Walking, swimming and cycling are thought to be good for you. Weight lifting can help you increase overall strength in the muscles surrounding the hips.

Higher impact sports are generally thought to be unsafe. Again, the hip joints support all of your body movements, and they thus support a large amount of stress from your various activities. As always, proceed with caution, and get advice from your doctor.

Shoulder Replacement

Like the hips, the shoulder joints are complex and precise. The more complex the joint, the more potential complications there can be with recovery. Overall, shoulder replacement surgeries are very successful, and the replacement joints do tend to hold up very well even ten years after the surgery is completed.

Compared to hips or knees, your shoulder doesn’t bear much stress, and so going about your normal daily activities immediately after a surgery is quite common. You should expect to deal with some pain, of course.

Immediately following your operation, your doctor will instruct you on how to stretch and exercise your arm to aid in the proper recovery of the joint. As mentioned above, the shoulder joint is a complicated and precise structure, so it’s important to take good care of it, especially in the few weeks after the procedure.

Follow the doctor’s instructions on how to complete the exercises very closely. These exercises will allow you to regain the total movement of your arm and shoulder that you had prior to the replacement. These exercises and stretches are often quite difficult to perform initially, but be patient and work with your doctor if you have serious issues.

It’s important to understand that you should use your arm and shoulder often. Physical activity is a very important factor in your recovery. As it is comfortable, try to use your shoulder and arm as you normally would.

During this recovery period, you may experience swelling and bruising, not only around the shoulder, but also down the length of the arm.

Many sports can be unhealthy for your shoulder even after total recovery. Repetitive motions are usually considered to be a bad idea.

However, as each case is different, you should consult with your own doctor about what would and would not be appropriate. Your doctor can also help you find alternative methods for some sports or activities, or can tell you where your boundaries should be set.

Elbow Replacement

The elbow is a very common place to experience pain. From tennis elbow to rheumatoid arthritis, there’s pain in all the spectrums. If you’ve just had or are considering an elbow replacement, you should know what to expect.

In an elbow replacement, a metal and plastic hinge joins the two halves of your arm together. You will probably be in the hospital for a few days after the surgery is completed in order to aid in your recovery and be sure that everything has gone smoothly.

Stiffness tends to be a problem after an elbow replacement. For this reason, your doctor will assign you a specific stretching and exercise regimen that you should adhere to closely. You should expect that you won’t be able to put much stress on your arm for several weeks after the surgery.

This means that you shouldn’t be pushing against anything, lifting furniture, or doing strength training.

No matter what your situation, Real Life Performance can help you find a solution.