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Return to Your Daily Activities ASAP after Joint Replacement Surgery

Blog 2_Rothman Institut#395

Jerry has no time to waste sitting on the bench with both knees out of commission. As a longtime athlete turned full-time grandpa, he has no time to slow down. He asked his doctor when he was going to know when it was time for surgery. His doctor said, “Don’t worry, you’ll know.”

Surgery is the last resort after all other treatments have stopped working. Jerry underwent arthroscopy in the 1990s, which only helped minimally, and steroid injections in the 2000s, which only addressed his pain for a couple months before it was back again. When Jerry realized that his leg was “curved in” and he was limping, he knew it was time to have surgery. Jerry’s primary care physician referred him to the Rothman Institute, which has many convenient locations throughout the greater Philadelphia area.

“People are usually worried about the pain,” according to Eric B. Smith, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement at the Rothman Institute. “Postoperative pain is managed with a multimodal approach—a combination of different types of medication that work together to lessen the pain with less side effects than narcotics. Patients feel better and the pain is better controlled. If early postoperative pain is controlled, then patients are able to get into physical therapy and back to daily activities more quickly.”

In addition to new pain management protocols, there have been significant advances in joint design. New artificial joints feel more natural than ever before, enabling patients to get back to any activity they want—tennis, weightlifting, biking, horseback riding, etc.

The hospital stay for a total knee replacement is generally 1-2 days. Most patients today are released to home after surgery, instead of to a rehabilitation facility. Physical therapy starts in the first week or two after surgery, initially focusing on range of motion exercises, followed by strengthening exercises for 2 to 3 months. Patients can expect to use a walker for a week, then a cane for 2 to 3 weeks, and can typically resume driving in 2 to 4 weeks.

“Patients can plan to heal for 6 months to a year,” comments Dr. Smith, who genuinely cares about his patients and strives to provide the best patient care. “The biggest improvement is seen right after surgery, but the healing can continue and improvement can be seen up to a year later.”

Jerry is now back in the game. He is playing basketball and running after his three grandsons. Jerry had joint replacement surgery on both knees. “Today, pain is gone,” states Jerry. “I am so grateful for what the Rothman Institute has done for me.”

Internationally recognized for excellence in orthopaedic science and technology, the Rothman Institute has been providing high-quality, compassionate, and affordable musculoskeletal care for more than 40 years. The Rothman Institute would like to feature your success story on its patient ambassador website. To find out how the physicians at the Rothman Institute can help you, call 1-800-321-9999 today.