What to Expect During Total Joint Replacement Recovery

December 6, 2019

So you’ve studied the benefits of what a joint replacement can do for your quality of life, but now you’re left wondering: What is total joint replacement recovery going to be like?

In the weeks leading up to your total joint replacement procedure, your doctor and medical team will walk you through what to expect and help you prepare for life after surgery.

In some cases, you may be able to go home the same day as your surgery, allowing you to sleep in your own bed on the morning of your surgery and be home that evening. This type of outpatient procedure may be available, depending upon certain health criteria and your insurance coverage. In other cases, patients may need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days before going home. Either way, keeping up with the proper recovery habits after a major surgery is crucial to ensuring a successful outcome.

In the days and weeks following surgery, here’s what total joint replacement recovery might look like for you:

Initial recovery stages

Recovery and rehabilitation will be different for each person. In general, your doctor will encourage you to use your “new” joint shortly after your operation. Although it may be challenging at times, following your doctor’s instructions will speed up your recovery process.

Most patients will experience some temporary pain early on in the replaced joint because the surrounding muscles are weak from inactivity, the body is adjusting to the new joint, and the tissues are healing. This pain should resolve over time.

To make your home safer and easier to navigate during your initial recovery, consider doing the following:

  • Create a living space on one floor, since climbing stairs can be difficult.
  • Install safety bars or a secure handrail in your shower or bath.
  • Secure stairway handrails.
  • Remove loose rugs and cords.

Continuing down the road to recovery

Exercise is an important part of the total joint replacement recovery process. Your doctor or physical therapist will provide you with specific exercises to help restore movement and strengthen the joint. As you regain strength and mobility in the replaced joint, the majority of patients are able to perform daily activities more easily after joint replacement surgery. Regular visits to see a physical therapist or follow-up appointments with your doctor may be necessary as you adjust to life with a new joint.

Most people can expect their joint replacement to last for many years, providing them with an improved quality of life that includes less pain, along with improved motion and strength that would not have been possible otherwise.

If you have any questions about limitations on your activities after total joint replacement, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your doctor. To schedule a visit with one of our joint replacement specialists, call (901) 759-3111 today.


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