“Prehabiliation”- The Next Big Thing
Millions of people are receiving joint replacement surgeries each year, most typically for hip and knee joints. People enter into this surgery with increased joint pain, increased swelling, reduced endurance and reduced muscular strength. Returning to full function quickly after surgery is everyone’s goal, and “prehabilitation” or physical therapy prior to surgery is growing in popularity because it can help improve results more quickly post operation. Research has shown that an exercise program prior to surgery has reduced admissions into inpatient rehabilitation facilities by 73% post surgery. A physical therapist can create a personalized program to help improve endurance, strength, balance and range of motion prior to surgery. A “prehab” program can include aquatic and land based exercise to fit a persons needs and abilities. Aquatic exercise specifically can help to reduce swelling and pain by using the hydrostatic pressure and the unloading properties of water. Also moving quickly against the drag force of water can help improve muscular strength in a more pain free environment 4 times more than when moving at the same speed on land. It is important to remember that “the doctor is replacing your joint, but not your ligaments and muscles, so correcting muscle imbalance prior to surgery can improve results post operatively.” (Rick McAvoy PT DPT, AKWA April May 2015) Your physical therapist can also help answer any pre-operative questions you may have, help to guide you in what to expect after surgery, and set your mind more at ease as you prepare for surgery. So if you are considering joint replacement surgery, stop by, ask questions about how we could help, and make an appointment at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center to make sure you set your self up for success post operatively!
Rooks D, Huang J, Bierbaum B, et al. Effect of preoperative exercise on measures of
functional status in men and women undergoing total hip and knee arthroplasty. Arthritis Care and Research. 2006;55:700-708.