Getting it right after a hip or knee replacement

A recent NYT article (Getting a New Knee or Hip? Do It Right the First Time), as the title suggests, details the proper steps one should take if they are contemplating a hip or knee replacement – get a good doctor who has done a lot of the procedures, gather lots of data, adjust expectations, and follow doctors advice regarding recovery.

There was no mention of exercise. As personal trainers it is beyond our pay grade to prescribe and administer an exercise regime immediately after surgery, but we have worked with a large number of clients who have undergone hip, knee, and shoulder replacements once they have completed their rehab with a physical therapist.

Some examples:

• Doris aged 74 had both knees, both hips and one shoulder replaced. She exercised every week.

• Gale had a double hip replacement and had finished her therapy. When she entered our New Orleans Personal Training facility she was still using a walker. Years later she is still going strong with not a hint of a problem to her hips.

• At age 72 Jack started working out after his first knee replacement and right before his second knee replacement. A couple of months after his second surgery he was able to climb in and out of a bass boat to go duck hunting. Meanwhile his law partner who had the same operation at the same time was still using a walker.

• Tom aged 53 had a total shoulder replacement as a result of an accident. Prior to the accident he had been working out at our Austin Personal Training facility. It was seven months before he was able to return. He was told that the most he could expect was to lift his extended arm to should level. When his doctor saw him lift his arm directly over his head he said it was "amazing and remarkable” .

We follow simple guidelines. With the MedX rehabilitative exercise equipment we use we can make fine adjustments and limit the movement to a pain-free range of motion. Gradually we increase the range and make small increases in the resistance. Over time with small continuous improvements the results can be dramatic.

More information on joint replacement and exercise:
Exercise, Osteoarthritis, and Joint Replacement Part 1
Exercise, Osteoarthritis, and Joint Replacement Part 2
Exercise, Osteoarthritis, and Joint Replacement Part 3