Road Tripping With Your Brand New Joint
Americans are pursuing total joint replacements at a notably higher rate. A recent study revealed that 1.25 million people undergo total joint replacement surgery each year. Aging or diseased joints can make everyday activities painful and difficult. With a new joint, patients can experience a fresh outlook on life with less pain and much more mobility. Patients may be excited to get back to road trips and long walks as soon as possible. However, doctors emphasize the importance of rest and rehabilitation. Self-care is necessary to achieve the targeted benefits of surgery successfully. Cultivating healthy habits while practicing daily low-impact exercise empowers the body to make a speedy recovery.
Healthy habits are integral to recovery
A healthy, balanced diet before and after total joint replacement surgery helps heal. Nutrients like calcium, iron, and fiber act as bone-building blocks. These also minimize the likelihood of digestive backup often caused by pain medication. Additionally, limit or stop smoking, which causes breathing problems while under anesthesia. Patients should quit using nicotine at least a few weeks before surgery to minimize risk.
Boosting range of motion
The immediate days after surgery should be spent resting and slowly stretching the new joint. After several days, patients can begin introducing movement from a mapped-out treatment plan. Exercise like knee pushdowns, leg extensions, and heel slides builds muscle while boosting motion range. Patients that plan to travel within several weeks of surgery should build daily exercise into their travel plans. In addition to strengthening and stretching activities, patients should practice about 30 minutes of low-impact aerobics per day. Gym machines such as the elliptical or stationary bike increase blood flow and heart rate while minimizing stress to the joints.
Hit the road after you heal
Some patients may want to hit the road right after total joint replacement surgery. However, doctors suggest allowing 3-6 weeks for healing and rehabilitation. Patients shooting for a fast recovery must practice consistent healthy habits while working through a physical therapy treatment plan. After several weeks of committed care and rest, patients can enjoy road tripping with less pain than before.