Live Life Again Pain-Free

Physical Therapy for Joint Replacement

New Joints for a New You – Physical Therapy for Joint Replacement

The decision to have a joint replacement is a big step involving major surgery and significant rehabilitation times. Patients will need to work closely with their surgeon and physical therapist for a return to full functionality and the new lease on life that a joint replacement can provide.

Knee and hip joints make up the majority of replacements, but the ankle, elbow, shoulder and wrist joints can also be replaced. During the procedure, the damaged portion of the joint will be removed and replaced with a ceramic, plastic or metal device that allows the joint to work normally.

A number of conditions can cause deterioration of a joint or the surrounding cartilage resulting in pain and disability, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Joint replacement is typically the final option when medication, physical therapy, or changes in lifestyle don’t provide sufficient relief from pain and the risk of disability.


6 PT benefits for joint replacement

Physical therapy is an essential part of joint replacement therapy. Depending upon the joint that has been replaced, patients will need to relearn how to stand, walk, lift or grasp objects. Physical therapy helps:

  • Strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the joint
  • Reduce scarring around the joint
  • Promote mobility
  • Regain full range of motion
  • Ease pain
  • Regain balance, coordination and functionality

An important part of the rehabilitation process with physical therapy will be the use of assistive aids for mobility and a physical therapist will show patients how to use them effectively. Individuals will learn new ways of performing everyday tasks and ergonomic adaptations that will make life easier during recovery.

People often assume awkward positions and behaviors due to the pain and mobility issues associated with a poorly operating joint. An important aspect of physical therapy is helping patients regain and maintain proper posture and relieve pressure on the neurological system that can impede recovery success.

Recovery typically requires two to four months following a joint replacement, depending on the patient and joint that was replaced. The goal of physical therapy will be for patients to improve their mobility by two weeks following surgery with a return to regular activities by 12 weeks after the procedure.

Physical therapy before and after

Your physical therapy following a joint replacement will focus on pain relief and restoration of movement. Your body will need time to get used to the new joint and one of the best ways to accomplish that is through a physical therapy-based exercise program.

Your individualized plan may include at-home exercises, along with therapeutic massage and hydrotherapy to promote movement and relieve pain. Electrical stimulation, ultrasound and manual manipulation may be employed to aid in the healing process and maintain mobility, along with cupping, acupuncture and dry needling to relieve pain.

Part of your surgical and rehabilitation strategy may include pre-surgical physical therapy to strengthen the body, particularly in the area in which the replacement will take place. Physical therapy prior to surgery is effective for speeding recovery time and reducing the need for post-surgical care, allowing you to return to your normal routine quicker.

Pre-surgical therapy provides you with the opportunity to make accommodations and changes at home that will be needed following the surgery such as shower benches or handrails in strategic locations, along with a long-handled grabber that will be helpful for reaching items.

Joint replacement therapy can give you a new lease on life with greater, pain-free mobility to enjoy a more active lifestyle. Physical therapy before, during and after a joint replacement will help you recover quicker, reduce the risk of potential complications, and help you return to your favorite activities.

Amazing Benefits of Physical Therapy to Female Athlete Triad

The Female Athlete Triad is a group of interrelated conditions that affect female athletes, particularly teenage athletes. It is widely believed that an energy imbalance is the cause, combined with competitive forces. This disrupts eating patterns and body image for female athletes. Despite the fact that this is common in athletes, several aspects of the triad are seen in non-athletes as well

The three medical conditions associated with the triad are:

  1. Disordered eating: anorexia, purging, induced vomiting
  2. Amenorrhea: adverse impact on menstrual cycles
  3. Osteoporosis: low bone mass/density


There are times when the athlete exercises excessively while the body is experiencing an energy deficit. A reduced caloric intake combined with malnutrition leads to a pattern of disordered eating.

The pressure to ‘be thin’ is compounded by a society that idolizes celebrities and pop stars. This can result in compulsive dieting and exercise. For a growing teenage athlete, bone density can be compromised if there are deficiencies in protein, vitamins and calcium. For female athletes participating in figure skating, ballet and gymnastics in particular, awareness is critical.


Coaches, parents and guardians should be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Rapid weight loss or marked leanness
  • Obsession about weight, body image and food.
  • Shin splints that don’t heal
  • Reduced participation or loss of interest in sports


Treatment involves:

  1. Prevention of compulsive dieting by working with a sports nutritionist.
  2. Increasing the strength of muscles, ligaments, bones and joints.
  3. Be in a progressive exercise program designed by a physical therapist.

Physical therapy for athletes begins with a detailed evaluation of the flexibility, strength, range of motion and athletic goals.

The physical therapist is a critical member of the healthcare team and works closely with a coach and athletic trainer. The physical therapist may use a combination of the following treatments:

  • Ultrasound to heal connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).
  • Manipulative therapy that includes stretching and massage.
  • Resistance training to increase muscle strength.
  • Cold compress for acute injuries and heat to relax muscular spasms.
  • Low-level laser use for muscle and connective tissue injuries.
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation to restore strength in the muscles.
  • The use of tape to support muscles and assistive devices as needed to support joints.


Physical therapy can keep young athletes healthy, strong and safe, but success begins with the right attitude towards the inner and outer self. Every physical active female should take three simple precautions to protect against the triad:

Eat healthy meals at regular intervals. Use nutritional supplementation if necessary.

Discuss menstrual irregularities (or sudden fluctuations in body weight) with your physician.

Track exercise and calorie expenditure.

An environment that makes the female athlete feel safe and comfortable encourages honest conversations that help identify underlying problems. If you suspect that someone in your family has some of the symptoms associated with the triad, seek medical attention immediately. Physical therapy is an important part of long-term treatment of this condition. In fact, physical therapy can help most individuals to live a healthy, improved quality of life. Call us today to schedule an appointment. Your success is our success.