“Pre-habilitation”: Preparing for the Total Hip or Total Knee Replacement

Total knee and total hip replacements (or arthroplasties) are becoming a more common treatment for advanced knee and hip osteoarthritis as the front end of the baby boomer population reaches age 65 this year. This year alone there will be over 676,000 total knee replacements and 327, 000 total hip replacements.

“Pre-habilitation” refers to physical therapy rehabilitation prior to having a total knee or total hip arthroplasty. Pre-habilitation would consist of hands-on soft tissue and joint treatments, stretching/flexibility exercises, and strength training. Also, our physical therapists provide education on returning patients to work, recreational activities, and activities at home.

A study from the University of Louisville demonstrated that pre-operative physical therapy for total knee replacements help speed post-operative recovery by increasing initial levels of strength and function. Physical therapy also reduced recovery time and overall healthcare costs.

Another study at New England Baptist Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School, found that knee and hip replacement surgery patients who had participated in water and land-based strength training and aerobic and flexibility exercises for just six weeks prior to their surgeries reduced their odds of needing inpatient rehabilitation by 73 percent.

The rewards of “pre-hab” show in the first 24 hours after surgery. After knee-replacement surgery, for example, patients are expected to be walking (using crutches or a walker) to the bathroom or in the hallway the day after. They generally must be able to go up and down two to four steps and walk 50 to 100 feet before leaving the hospital (usually in three to five days). The improved strength that people gain from “pre-hab” can help them achieve some of those milestones in less time.

If you would like more information about pre-habilitation or our other physical therapy offerings please call Mishock Physical Therapy at (610)327-2600. We have six convenient locations to serve you in Gilbertsville (1806 Swamp Pike), Skippack (3887 Skippack Pike), Barto (1311 Route 100), Limerick (19 W. Linfield-Trappe Rd.), Phoenixville (131 Nutt Rd.) and Stowe (Pottstown) (1650 West High Street). For more information please visit www.mishock.wpengine.com.

*Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clinicians with doctorate level degrees in both physical therapy and chiropractic in the state of Pennsylvania.

New patient scheduling: 610-327-2600