You’ve found a surgeon to replace your worn-out knees or hips, your surgery is scheduled, you’ve read all you can and talked to others who have gone before you. Still … you may feel trepidation. You wonder if you will you bounce back quickly or struggle to get on your feet again? That is a normal concern. If you want a speedy recovery and an overall successful outcome, you need to do more than just have the surgery and hope for the best. You need to get in shape with prehab before your surgery!
Prehab or prehabilitation involves getting your body and YOU ready for surgery. The stronger and more flexible you are before surgery, the faster and less painful your recovery will be after the surgery.
A study at New England Baptist Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School found a 63 percent reduction in the odds of needing inpatient rehabilitation after hip or knee-replacement. In other words, instead of being admitted to a rehab facility, individuals were returning home.
“I completed a course of physical therapy after my first Total Knee Replacement (TKR). I started PT in the clinic, but once my stitches were healed I began aquatic therapy in the warm therapeutic pool. This was such a comfortable experience that I looked forward to going to my therapy! I continued my warm water exercise in a Medical Fitness Program well after my knee was fully recovered because I knew I was going to be having my other knee replaced.
A year later, it was time for my second TKR. Much to my and my son’s surprise, the recovery for my second knee was so much faster and less painful. The water exercise I had done prior was prehab for my surgery! Immediately following the second surgery, I could lift my leg and change position in bed with minimal difficulty. That was not the case with the first knee. Prehab should not be recommended, it should be a requirement before having a TKR!” ~Kleia L.
Prehab is performed at least two to six weeks before surgery and is a conditioning program that includes strengthening, flexibility and aerobic exercises. You are also instructed on exercises to perform at home after the big day. Prehab is not just about exercise. Home modifications, how to use the different assistive walking devices, and education on what to expect after surgery are also very important part of the program.
You can start by making an appointment with your local physical therapist. If your insurance has visit and Therapy Cap Limits, such as Medicare, your best bet would be to contact a facility that can provide prehab through a Self-Pay plan.
If you know you are going to be having a knee or hip replaced, don’t hesitate! Start prehab at least two weeks before your surgery for less pain and a quicker return to daily activity!