The Benefits of Pre-Rehabilitation in Joint Replacement Surgeries

The role of exercise in rehabilitation after a joint replacement surgery is clear and as many of you will know, following the proper protocol as outlined by the Exercise Physiologists at Optimum Rehab plays an important role in your recovery from a joint replacement surgery. However, what you may not be aware of is what role pre-surgery exercise can play in the recovery from a joint replacement surgery. This “pre-rehabilitation” can increase your rate of recovery from your surgery, particularly in the early stages post-surgery, as well as leading to a quicker discharge from hospital and a returning to your own home quicker.

In a study published in Arthritis Care and Research1, the effect of completing a 6 week exercise protocol consisting of strengthening exercises of the lower limbs, prior to hip and knee replacement surgery was explored. These exercises were a combination of both hydrotherapy and gym-based functional exercises, similar to what you may have done during your time at Optimum Rehab.

The study demonstrated that those patients who participated in pre-surgery exercise, were discharged earlier post-surgery, when compared with those who did no exercise prior to surgery. The study further demonstrated that those patients who undertook “pre-rehabilitation” were more likely to independently ambulate greater than 50 feet at point of discharge.

The major outcomes of this study were that by participating in this pre-surgery exercise, patients were more likely to be discharged from hospital to home, rather than to a rehabilitation hospital. Post joint-replacement patients were more likely to independently ambulate greater than 50 feet at the point of discharge.

So what does this all mean? Put simply, if you are currently experiencing arthritis symptoms, including pain, stiffness and inflammation in the joint2 and your doctor has indicated that you may be in need a joint replacement in the future; there may be some benefit in participating in “pre-rehabilitation” before your surgery. By commencing a strengthening exercise program, you are likely to return to close to your pre-injury functional capacity quicker than if you do nothing pre-surgery. Given that joint replacement surgery is not an immediate surgery, if you are in need of a joint replacement surgery in the next 2 months, speak to one of the exercise physiologists at Optimum Rehab about a “pre-rehabilitation” program before your surgery.


Effect of Preoperative Exercise on Measures of Functional Status in Men and Women Undergoing Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty DANIEL S. ROOKS,1 JIE HUANG,2 BENJAMIN E. BIERBAUM,3 SARAH A. BOLUS,4 JAMES RUBANO,3 CHRISTINE E. CONNOLLY,4 SANDRA ALPERT,4 MAURA D. IVERSEN,5 AND JEFFREY N. KATZ6  Accessed 24/09/2013 Accessed 24/09/2013

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