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Pre and Post surgery knee and Hip Replacements

Updated: Feb 23, 2022


It has come to my attention that many

people awaiting a knee or hip replacement felt they had to do nothing prior to the surgery. Many think

there is no need to do anything with their knee/hip until after the operation.

The simple fact is, the stronger you get the surrounding joint musculature prior to the operation the easier the recovery will be after and the sooner you will get back on your feet, getting back to the things you love doing. Golf, walking, swimming, or babysitting the grand kids etc., but most of all just being pain free!

What I am really talking about here is getting your knee or hip as strong as possible and building muscle in the joint. It is inevitable that you will lose some muscle mass post-surgery. It happens to everybody. So, the more muscle you have the less you will lose. Poor muscle mass or strength will lead to ramifications, mainly increased levels of pain, discomfort and the inability for you to put pressure through the leg.


You will be given a set of exercises to do after your operation. Your ability to perform these dictates how quickly you recover. So, having as good a strength base as possible prior to the surgery really does improve the overall outcome of how successful the surgery is for years to come. Think of it as saving money for a rainy day!

I worked for a year in an orthopedic hospital where I probably dealt with 12 patients everyday who either had a knee replacement or a hip replacement. The physio staff there knew who was going to recover hassle free and quickly even before they had their surgery, we could see who had put in a bit of work beforehand. Now, I understand there are different severities of osteoarthritis in a knee joint, but remember there is always some form of strength and exercise work you can do to help, the issue is, it has to be bespoke to you and you only. We make sure this happens here at AON Physiotherapy!

For those of you who have had a knee or a hip replacement recently, there are a few things you need to know and do. The first objective marker we strive for in our clinic is to assure each client can achieve full knee extension. What does this mean? Well, it simply means that you can straighten your knee fully (see pick below). This is important because when we are walking and strike your heel off the ground, your knee needs to be able straighten fully, if you can’t do this, you are walking with a slight bent knee all the time, and this will load the joint excessively causing further unwanted pain.

Secondly achieve more than a 90-degree knee bend. Funnily enough most people think this is the most important aspect of the recovery and it is the one most people who have the surgery are fixated on. But, put it this way - as time goes by it’s harder to get the knee to straighten fully than it is to get it to bend.

A hip replacement is no different. The initial aim is to give you as much movement as possible through the joint. Secondly it is to build strength around the joint. The quicker this is achieved the sooner you can get back to doing the things that you love.

If you are struggling with pain or trying to walk properly since you got your knee or hip replaced, remember it’s never too late to do something about it. Too often I see people, even years after their surgery complaining it wasn’t a success or they never did what they were supposed to do. Also, many people fall into the trap of listening to other people’s experiences of the surgery. They often hear that a friend or somebody they know had no pain post their surgery, or they were back walking pain free after a couple of weeks. This is true, but this is usually the minority. So, a word of advice is not to listen to anybody else unless they are a healthcare professional that has knowledge in the area. Everybody is different, and everybody recovers differently. If you are being guided by an expert and do the strength exercises and treatment required, you will not go too far wrong! As I said there is hope, it may take a while but with the right advice and treatment you can reduce your pain and improve your ability to partake in your daily activities of living and things you enjoy doing most.

If you are due to have a knee or hip replacement or have had one in the past and are not happy with the outcome, or you know of anyone who is in this situation. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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