FAQ’s Physiotherapy post hip and knee replacement.

 How much physiotherapy do I need?

  • Surprisingly little. The best time to have physiotherapy is before your surgery. This allows you to become familiar with the post-operative exercises before you enter the hospital. During pre-operative physiotherapy you will also be taught basics like walking with crutches and climbing stairs.

  • During your 2-4 day inpatient stay the ward physiotherapist will help get back you on your feet walking again.

 Why is it so important to regain full knee straightening after TKR surgery?

  • This is the most important range of motion to regain. To walk efficiently you need full knee straightening. If you walk on a bent knee it is exponentially more taxing on your muscles. You will tire much faster. Prioritize knee straightening exercises.

Will one leg be longer than the other?

  • This is a very common concern. The answer is no. You may have the perception of a longer leg for a few weeks/months but this will resolve with time. By the time you need a knee or hip replacement the space in your joint has reduced as the cartilage has worn. When you get a replacement joint it restores the natural space in the joint. This can give you the perception of it feeling longer but in essence it is restoring you back to level. The body just needs to recalibrate.

 What’s the best exercise I can do after my surgery?

  • The best exercise to re-train your hip and knee muscles is walking.

 How much walking should I do?

  • As a guideline we suggest to do 20 minutes of continuous walking 3 times a day. In the beginning you may tire earlier but you can build this up over a couple of weeks. By your six week review you should have reached 20 mins walking 3 times a day.

 How long will I have to use crutches?

  • Two crutches for 6 weeks then weaning down to one crutch for 1-2 weeks. After that you may walk independently. Do not use a walking stick.

When I go down to one crutch which side should I keep the crutch on?

  • Great question. You should keep the crutch on the opposite side of the joint you had replaced. For example, if you had your right hip replaced keep the crutch on the left side. If you had your left knee replaced you keep the crutch on the right side. This stops you from leaning over to one side keeping your gait symmetrical

 I’m a little nervous to wean away from one crutch. What should I do?

  • Our advice is when you first start to walk take as many steps as you can before you start to feel tired or a little shaky. Then use the crutch thereafter. It’s a good idea to count your steps initially. For example when you first start to walk without the crutch take 20-30 steps then use the crutch. When you can reach 1000 steps you can throw away the crutch.

 Is cycling better than walking?

  • Walking is a much better exercise to do than cycling. It is more functional to the demands of daily life. If you want to improve your endurance for walking, the best exercise to practice is walking not cycling. Practice makes perfect.

 I feel a little tight and sore in my muscles after the surgery. Is this normal?

  • Yes of course, this is normal. You will be given a prescription of medication to take after the surgery to minimize discomfort and allow you to get moving again. You will not do any damage by walking. Keep moving. Do not let this stop you from exercising. All artificial joints love movement.

 Is there anything I shouldn’t do after total hip replacement?

  • Yes. For the first 12 weeks after the surgery high bending of the hip beyond 90 degrees is not allowed.

  • You should avoid twisting the hip when you want to turn around. Lift your feet instead and turn with care.

  • You should also avoid crossing your legs beyond mid-line.

    These restrictions are in place to allow the ligaments to heal around the new implant. After 12 weeks there are no restrictions on your movements or activities.