No one wants to suffer from joint pain but, unfortunately, it’s a chronic condition many people face. Joint pain is on the rise and affects more than 15 million Americans. If your joint pain has stopped you from doing the activities you love, your doctor may suggest you undergo a total joint replacement.
If you’re like most, you might be worried about having surgery. Total joint replacement is a common and predictable procedure with over one million performed each year. The orthopedic experts at MidJersey Orthopaedics, located in Flemington and Bridgewater, New Jersey, are here to tell you everything you need to know about total joint replacement surgery.
How it works
For each pound you weigh, your joints carry four pounds. That means a 150-pound person puts nearly 600 pounds on their joints. After years of wear and tear, it’s no wonder that your joints start to ache and need to be replaced.
Here are some signs that indicate you might need a joint replacement:
- You can’t complete daily tasks without help
- Your doctor has explained other procedures won’t help
- You’re experiencing debilitating pain
- You have advanced arthritis or severe joint damage
- You’re physically and emotionally worn out
Total joint replacement surgery involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with man-made parts composed of metal, plastic, or ceramic. The man-made joint is designed to function just like a healthy joint, so many patients find they can move much more comfortably after surgery.
Your surgery is done as an inpatient or outpatient procedure and only takes about two hours. Most patients are required to do some physical therapy immediately after, where they’re asked to stand and walk with assistance.
Many people don’t realize how important prepping for their surgery is. You may not think you need to exercise and prepare for surgery, but getting in good shape can lower your risk of complications and speed up your recovery. Depending on whether you’re getting a hip, knee, or shoulder replacement, your doctor can provide you with some exercises to help strengthen the surrounding muscles.
Here are some tips to follow when getting ready for your surgery:
- Quit smoking
- Eat a balanced diet
- Don’t drink for 48 hours before surgery
- Follow your advised exercises daily
Many patients who are in good shape found they recovered safely after six weeks, whereas unfit individuals may take up to three months to get back to everyday life.
You may think the hard part is over and done once you’ve completed surgery. However, the recovery is when patients are met with the greatest amount of challenges. Keep a positive attitude, and don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help.
When you’re ready to go home from your surgery, you must have a caregiver available to help you with daily tasks for the first two weeks of recovery. You will also be required to perform at-home physical therapy three times a week for the first two weeks.
We suggest purchasing a variety of tools to help make your recovery the easiest possible. These include:
- A sock aid
- A walker
- Handlebars for the bathroom
- A shoehorn with a long handle
- A reacher to help pick things up from the floor
It may be discouraging to adapt to a different way of life during your recovery, but keep in mind that this is just temporary and the vital path to ensure a healthy recovery. There is a silver lining — most people notice enhanced mobility in 2-4 weeks.
Are you ready to regain your mobility by undergoing a total joint replacement? Call the MidJersey Orthopaedics office most convenient for you or book online to schedule your appointment today.