Whilst the surgery is the crux of the process of joint replacement, physiotherapists would suggest that the post-operation care is extremely important as well. Done well, it can lead to swift recovery with little or no complications.
The recovery process can be roughly divided into two phases; one that begins immediately after the surgery and occurs whilst in the hospital, and the other phase is that in the home.
The care at the hospital:
Once done with the operation and the haze of anaesthesia, the patient may experience a lot of pain. They are given pain-killers to combat pain. Anti-biotics are given to the patient to prevent infections alongside blood thinners and physical therapist will help with the movement on the first day of recovery.
Many patients have to be put through the CPM, continuous passive machine, which moves the limbs of the patient for them whilst they are in the bed. Mostly, the patients are discharged from the hospital within 3-5 days, however, it tends to vary per patient.
The care at home:
Some of the basic movement and how to perform it is always supervised and taught in the hospital. Hence, once home, the instructions of the experts should be followed to allow for maximum recovery in minimum time.
The wound should also be taken care of per the instructions. The patient should watch out for the signs of infection, redness etc. They should schedule appointments with the orthopaedic specialists and do the exercises religiously.
To help with soreness and the pain, icing the wound is vital. It is important to keep the leg elevated to help with the swelling. The use of cane or crutches should be done until approved otherwise by the orthopaedic specialist. It is hence imperative to have a caregiver or family member around to take care of the household chores. Make sure to take a good healthy diet to aid in the recovery and promote overall health.
By around third week, the crutches etc. can be eliminated. The patient may now continue with their regular everyday routine. However, strenuous activities like jogging etc. are still not to be done as the recovery phase is ongoing. The patient should also after around a month of the surgery evaluate the pain medications.
Since these can result in drug addiction, therefore one must monitor their use. If over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen are effective, then go for them rather than the prescribed pain medication.
The other medication like the blood thinners have to be taken per the doctor’s order. More strenuous activities like driving etc. take around 2 months of recovery. It is best to start driving after the opioid pain medications are no longer being taken to have better reflexes.
The patient can also go back to work if the work is more of a sedentary nature. If it involves heavy physical activity, then the recovery time may be greater. It is best to get the approval of the doctor before delving into strenuous physical activity.
The road to recovery following the joint replacement operation requires patience and determination on part of the patient. If the expert advice is followed, the physical therapy is done regularly, the patient can have seamless recovery.
It is also important to take care of the new joint to maximize its life and have regular follow-ups with the doctor. Book an appointment with top physiotherapists in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.