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Tips to Get in Shape for Joint Replacement Surgery

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There are many things you can do to plan ahead for joint replacement surgery, which can help ensure a more successful outcome. One of the things many people can benefit from is exercising before surgery. You will want to focus on strengthening your entire body, not just your knee or hip. Strengthening your upper body can be beneficial as you will be relying on your arms to get in and out of bed, in and out of a chair and walk.

To work your upper body, try this chair exercise:

  • Sit in an arm chair and use the muscles of your upper body to lift your bottom off of the chair.
  • Start with your elbows bent and pointed back and lift until your elbows are straight then slowly lower yourself back into the chair.
  • Make sure you keep your shoulders low to avoid injury.

Wall pushups are a great upper body exercise for those that may have back issues:

  • Start by standing a few feet in front of a bare wall, lift arms to shoulder level and place palms on wall slightly wider than shoulders.
  • Back feet away from wall so elbows are bent as you lean in.
  • Inhale, and exhale as you push off wall. Inhale as you return to start position.
  • Slowing the pace and moving your feet further from the wall will increase the level of difficulty.
  • Never arch lower back, or lock arms totally straight, keep flexible bend at elbows at all times.

If you are undergoing a hip or knee replacement one of the best things you can do is strengthen your quadriceps muscle. A straight leg raise is a great way to work the quadriceps:

  • Lie flat on your bed
  • Bend up your “good” leg, and lift your “bad” leg straight in the air keeping your knee straight.

Often patients who need their hip replaced are stiff. A light stretching program that focuses on stretching your hip flexors can be beneficial:

  • Lie flat on a bed and draw your “good” leg into your chest keeping your other leg out straight.
  • You’ll be able to feel a stretch in the front of your “bad” hip.

Additionally, you may want to ask your doctor or physical therapist for a list of exercises you will be performing after surgery. Becoming familiar with them prior to your surgery will help you be better prepared.

Your doctor or physical therapist may give you specific instructions prior to your surgery. If you are prescribed a set of exercises or instructions, continue with those.  

Stop any exercise that increases your pain. Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

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