At Southeast Orthopedic Specialists, we know the thought of having joint replacement surgery can be stressful. One source of concern for many of our patients is the anticipation of pain and inactivity they will endure while they heal and recover from the surgery.

Our Jacksonville orthopedic surgeons and the rest of our team work closely with our patients both before and after surgery to help their recovery go as smoothly as possible. We have a team of experienced Florida physical therapists who provide physical rehabilitation services to our surgical patients and get them back to an active, pain-free life as soon as possible.

Patients can play an important role in how well and quickly they recover by taking some important steps before the surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss important preparatory steps that you should take before your surgery based on your health and your living situation. However, there are some things that most everyone should do.

Prepare Your Body

  • Eat a healthy diet and lose any excess weight. Being overweight or obese puts more stress on your joints.
  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking can slow down the healing process.
  • Generally it’s helpful to build your upper body strength. This will help you get around on crutches or other mobility devices you will need immediately after the surgery. However, ask your doctor and physical therapist to recommend exercises to do prior to surgery. You don’t want to exacerbate your current joint condition.
  • Practice with the mobility devices you will be using immediately after the surgery to help you get used to them.
  • Tell your orthopedic surgeon about any and all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) you are taking.

Make Appropriate Work Arrangements

  • Be sure to schedule enough time away from work and any restricted work activity after surgery. You don’t want to try to go back before you’re ready. Discuss the timeline with your orthopedic surgeon for when you can expect to be able to go back to the office or at least work from home. Remember that the length of recovery cannot be predicted with certainty. It’s better to arrange for more time off than you need rather than less.
  • If your job involves physical activity, your doctor may need to provide authorization to your employer to restrict that activity during your recovery.

Prepare Your Home and Support System

  • You should get your home ready for your recovery period before the surgery. Set up an area on the first floor where you’ll have everything you need within easy reach. Remove any tripping hazards like rugs. You’ll probably want to sleep on the first floor for a period of time.
  • Have a reliable support system in place. You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery, to and from your post-op and physical therapy appointments as well as to help with errands. You’ll also need help with daily tasks and taking care of any children, animals or anyone else who relies on you. If you live alone, see if a family member or friend can move in with you for awhile. If that’s not possible, a home healthcare provider or rehabilitation facility may be the best choice.

The team at Southeast Orthopedic Specialists has a great deal of experience helping patients prepare for their orthopedic surgery and their recovery period.  If you have any questions about preparing for joint replacement surgery or what to expect afterwards, call or contact us online.

Image Courtesy of: Southeast Orthopedic Specialist

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