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Joint Replacement Frequently Asked Questions

Understand Joint Replacement Surgery and What to Expect

At Riverside, our orthopedic joint replacement surgeons and our extensive team will take care of you every step of the way for any joint replacement surgery you may need. We know that even with our support, you may have questions about your treatment plan or what it’s like to be a patient at Riverside. We hope these frequently asked questions and provider videos will help inform you and your loved ones about what to expect with joint replacement surgery.

View videos from your Riverside Orthopedic Team.

For adults experiencing joint pain that can’t be managed by medication or mobility issues that affect work and daily activities, it is probably time to think about joint replacement surgery. Other symptoms are stiff joints, overuse injuries or previous trauma to the joint causing discomfort. Stiff joints or joint pain have been linked to an increased risk of falls and other serious injuries. If you are concerned about your stability or joint pain, it’s time to see an orthopedic specialist to consider joint replacement surgery.

As crucial as specialized care is to optimal outcomes, it is also critical to schedule surgery where any and every medical need is available. For example, Riverside ensures that you are cleared for surgery with input and approval from any medical team member involved in your health, including cardiologists, pulmonologist and nephrologists. At Riverside, you have specialized orthopedic joint replacement and the support of an entire health system for optimal outcomes.

Depending on your specific situation, you and your orthopedic surgeon will determine what rehabilitation choices make the most sense for you. Physical therapy rehabilitation begins the day of surgery because we know that the sooner you are mobile, the sooner recovery can begin. In some cases, if assistance is unavailable at home, our team will offer a range of options for your best healing and recovery path.

When it comes time to consider joint replacement surgery because joint pain or mobility issues are affecting your quality of life, getting in better physical shape isn’t always an option. After your surgery and recovery, you’ll feel better and be able to exercise without the pain you are currently experiencing. However, you can eat healthy foods and practice stretching to keep your muscles strong and increase muscle blood flow. After surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions for optimal recovery so you can ease back into more physical activities.

Physical therapy (PT) is vital to optimal healing and recovery – and each patient’s PT plan is based on individual needs and goals. Generally, full recovery from joint replacement surgery is a phased and gradual process. Our orthopedic-trained physical therapists work closely with your orthopedic surgeon to monitor your progress, making adjustments as needed.

Several recovery options are available for support after surgery for anyone living alone. Riverside has excellent choices for short-term post-acute care, meaning patients can stay at one of our facilities and receive nursing support, meals and physical therapy while healing. Other options are to ask a relative or friend to stay with you for several days until you feel stable enough to get around on your own. Another option to consider is home health services, including physical therapy services.

As long as a patient is healthy and wants to continue being active, we don’t put age limits on candidates for joint replacement surgery at Riverside Health System. Every patient is unique, so we review your goals and discuss any restrictions that diminish your quality of life, such as pain or lack of mobility. We want to help you achieve improved orthopedic health.

Immediately following surgery, our physical therapy team will get you moving so you can begin the healing process. Your recovery will include physical therapy sessions, but also walking and increasing your mobility. Depending on the sport, you should be able to begin light exercise within 6-8 weeks, but it is critical to follow the recommendations of your surgeon and physical therapy team, so your joint is fully healed before you increase activity levels too quickly.

Our team provides extensive patient education so our patients at Riverside Health System feel prepared for their joint replacement surgery. You’ll receive expert care, including helping you understand what to expect through our extensive Joint University educational program and our orthopedic-specific blogs.

We want to answer any remaining questions you or your loved one may have about joint replacement surgery. Please contact our orthopedic team or make an appointment at one of our convenient locations to ask questions and discuss your options.


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