Recovering From Total Joint Replacement

Immediately after your total joint replacement surgery, you will be moved into a recovery room to be monitored for a couple of hours. After the anaesthesia has worn off and you are awake, you will then be moved to your ward where you will stay for the next few days. A typical stay in the hospital will be between 3 to 5 days depending on your progress. Before the effects of the anaesthesia have fully worn off, you should consume pain killers to prevent a sudden onset of unbearable pain. So how do you recover from total joint replacement surgery?

Physical therapy

Muscle atrophy is the result of depriving muscles activities, leading to muscle wastage. This can happen after a couple of days post surgery, leading to shrinking of muscles and muscular apoptosis. In order to prevent this, physical therapy will be required. Physical therapy helps to strengthen the hip joints through various small but effective exercises. It usually begins almost immediately after surgery in order to prevent scar tissues from forming. A physical therapist will be there to teach you some basic exercises to help you regain strength and full hip movement in the shortest time. It continues even when you have been discharged, and you will be required to show up for your physical therapy classes up to 4 times a week.

Understand possible medical complications

Hip replacement surgery has a low risk and infections are at a low rate of 2%. However, this does not mean that you are completely clear of any complications. Blood clots in the leg veins can occur due to prolonged immobility, leading to serious consequences if they travel up to the heart or brain. Therefore, some surgeons will recommend the usage of compressive stockings.

Do not be complacent

As time passes, the hip will be stronger and the usage of walking aids such as crutches or walkers will no longer be required. Some patients will tend to get complacent and start to skip physical therapy sessions or ignore symptoms which may indicate infection. Therefore, always be mindful of your responsibilities as a patient and continue your physical therapy sessions until your therapist has given you the all clear.

Your new hip will be able to last you for at least a decade and provide you with freedom you never imagined. However, you still need to know that it is an artificial joint inside you and materials can fail due to various reasons and a second surgery may be required in future.

3 Reasons Why Physical Therapy is Important to a Sports Injury Recovery

Swelling, pain and loss of motion are common complaints following a sports injury. In order to regain post-injury levels, movement is extremely important. The experts in body movements are physical therapists who are trained to conduct specific exercises and stretches meant for aiding recovery to a specific part of the body. So, what are some reasons why physical therapy is important to a sports injury recovery?

Identification of deficiencies

Physical therapists are the ones who conduct each physical therapy session and they are trained to indentify deficiencies in the biomechanics of our body. Just by looking at how to body work will help them to know which part needs help. Therapists are also able to prescribe exercises which are helpful post surgery and help to ensure a fast recovery.

Increase range of motion

Post injury or surgery, the range of motion in that particular joint is extremely limited due to swelling and scarring. There will also be severe pain and the lack of ability to fully use the joint. As a result, exercises are required to be performed in order to overcome it. Physical therapy will help by ensuring a gradual increase in the intensity of exercises, helping to move your joints as much as possible without increasing much pain. It also helps to restore joint movements and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

Inhibit scar tissues formation

One of the side effects post surgery is the formation of scar tissues. However, scar tissues are undesirable due to various reasons such as cosmetic appearances, impediment of motion and as a source of discomfort. Scar tissues are usually darker in colour and their sizes depend on the depth of the wound. This can cause women to feel inferior and lose self confidence. Also, scar tissues are thicker and harder than normal tissues and this can impede motion especially if the scarring is at the joints. Being thicker and harder, it also presses down on other tissues, causing pain and lead to a higher chance of re-injury. Physical therapy starts early and this helps to reduce and inhibit the formation of scar tissues, lessening the chances of those effects mentioned above.

Physical therapy is an important part of the healing process. It actually starts before surgery and lasts all the way until around a year later. It helps to strengthen the muscles around the injury to help better support it and regain the range of motion after surgery.

4 Ways on How to Relieve Hip Pain

The hip joint is essentially a ball and socket joint that is designed to provide a near unrestricted range of motion and withstand this cyclic process and the wear and tear it brings along. Due to the frequency of usage, the hip joint can break down easily. The soft tissues located in the hip will be overused and injuries such as fractures and sprains can then happen, leading to hip pain. We will discuss about some ways to relieve hip pain in this article.

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises help to keep the target group muscles warm and flexible. Exercises will increase blood flow to the area, bringing more nutrients such as oxygen and aiding repair works. Hip exercises such as bridging can help to relief hip pain. You simply have to lie down on your back and raise your butt off the ground while contracting your abs muscle. Hold in this position for 10 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.

Aquatic therapy

The main benefit of aquatic therapy is the reduced stresses acting on the injured joints. As the name suggests, it takes place in the water. Aqua therapy uses the unique buoyancy of water properties to assist in healing, conditioning and strengthening of the joints, allowing patients to perform the therapy in a painless manner yet significantly aiding the recovery plan. The viscosity properties of water allow a gentle resistance to build up the body’s mechanism.


During sudden onset of hip pain, pain relief medication is able to produce a temporal solution to counter the problem and allow patients to relax. Medication can only be a stop gap measure as it does not solve the root of the problem and that can only be solved by exercises, physical therapy or surgery.

Ice packs

Ice packs help to bring down swelling and calm irritated nerves and tissues in the hip region. Ice also contracts the blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood flow in the region. This will help to produce a temporary pain relief effect similar to medication but the effective duration is shorter.

Discussed above are 4 ways to help reduce hip pain. Hip pain is inevitable at some point in our lives due to the wear and tear of the cartilage lining. Joint supplements may be able to help alleviate the pain to a certain extent and is best taken when you are still young and active.

2 Exercises to Prevent ACL Injuries

There are a total of four major ligaments in our knee whose function is to provide stability to the knee joint. One of the most important one is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). There are numerous fibrous bands attaching the ACL to the bones and that helps to keep motion in check and prevent excessive ones. It also prevents the lower leg from going into hyper extension. Due to the many types of forces experienced by the ACL, it is much easier to be injured compared to the other 3 ligaments. In this article, we will look at some exercises that can help to prevent ACL injuries.

ACL injuries are the most common knee injuries. Every year, many people tear or rupture their ACL due to various reasons, with the most common being sports. When the ACL is extended to beyond its maximum capability, it ruptures. Unlike bones that can heal on its own over time, ligaments do not heal on its own and once it is damaged, it will be permanently damaged and will require surgical means to aid in a full recovery. Situations where the ACL can be ruptured usually involve sudden directional changes or deceleration. In soccer, it can be as simple as a sudden change in direction to shield the ball from an opponent, with a hard twist while the studs of the boots are still firmly in the ground, causing the knee to twist and rupturing the ACL.

Lateral hops

Lateral hops simulate jumping and landing actions which are extremely common in almost every sport and is one of the major causes of ACL injuries. The body is designed in a way where the knee will cushion the impact from any jumps and hence it is important to “teach” our knee muscles how to properly absorb shocks. The main idea of lateral hops is to cultivate a good landing technique and thus it is important to land firmly on the ground without any shuffling actions.

Leg balance squats

Leg balance squats as the name suggests help to cultivate balance in the legs. It drives the legs forward and a quick switch to the other, creating a chain reaction. This way, the body can easily drive one leg to the side in order to work the hips and lower extremities to provide balance to the body when faced with any trauma, reducing the chances of an ACL injury.

Since our body is designed as a linkage system where every muscle group contributes to the control of the knee and the ligaments, a total body core muscle strengthening program should be put in place to help prevent ACL injuries.

Preventing Sports Injuries: Stretching Exercises

Medical research has proven that an increase in the flexibility of a muscle unit increases performance and reduces the amount of injuries sustained. Basic stretching exercises include warming up and cooling down sessions. The main mechanism is due to the loosen tendons after stretching which is less prone to tears when used. Stretching also helps to reduce the recovery time in-between sessions and increases the biomechanical efficiency.

There are basically 3 main types of stretching namely static, ballistic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Static stretching is the most common and the safest amongst the 3. Static stretching works by slowly pulling the muscles towards its maximum end range of motion for a duration of 15 seconds. This is done in a painless and controlled environment and during the stretching exercise no sudden jerks should be made. It is performed for usually for 3 sets and after which an increase in flexibility will be observed. Static stretching should also be performed after the exercise to aid in recovery. Studies have shown that stretching can help to dissipate the lactic acid build up in the muscles which are responsible for the soreness experienced post-exercise.

Ballistic stretching on the other hand uses the momentum of a moving body to stretch it beyond the normal range of motion. This is also known as bouncing stretching which pulls your muscles through exercises such as bouncing on a trampoline while stretching the back. Medical studies have concluded that this is not useful and can lead to injuries since it stretches your muscles suddenly instead of progressively as seen in static stretches.

Last but not least is the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretch. It is the fastest and most effective stretching method that combines passive and isometric stretching to obtain maximum flexibility. PNF stretch was originally intended for recovering stroke victims. It works by passively stretching the muscles and then contracting it isometrically and repeating over and over again.

Stretching can be easily performed anywhere regardless of the activity you are about to perform. In fact, stretching should not be considered a warm up exercise. You should perform stretching even before you commence your warming up exercises. Always keep your stretches sport specific so that you work the correct muscle groups. Remember to always exercise caution when doing stretches and do not work muscle groups that are injured or it can be further aggravated.

3 Things to Expect During a Physical Therapy Visit

It’s not surprising that you are a headless chicken with regards to a physical therapy visit. No one wants to go for it if ever possible. If you are a greenhorn, you must definitely be curious about what you will be doing and prepare yourself for it. Firstly, you must know that a physical therapy visit non-surgical and there is no need to worry about needles and blood. The one and only aim of your physiotherapist is to bring you back on the road to recovery. So what are some things to expect during a physical therapy visit?

Initial evaluation

The initial evaluation part of the session is the most important. It gives the therapist a full picture of your past lifestyle, your cause of injury and what you wish to achieve in the future. This way, your therapist can then design an efficient programme for you in the most suitable timeframe and physical level. If your goal is just to be able to walk properly after a knee surgery for example, he will simply prescribe you exercises to strengthen the core muscle groups to provide stability. However, if you intend to go back to competitive sports post surgery, the plan will be totally different. This part will also include your medical history which can affect your recovery progress.


After a proper warming up session, you will start to perform exercises designed specifically for your condition. A post knee surgery patient will need to perform balancing as well as stability exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles so that they can bear the weight better. Some common exercises would be the leg press and stairs. Stretches will also be performed with the intent of achieving a full range of motion at places such as the knee and elbow joint.

Review of session

After a proper cooling down session, your physiotherapist will then sit down with you for a review of your physiotherapy session. Throughout the session, he is busy noting down the amount of weight you can bear, degree of motion as well as your flexibility. A good therapist will go through these figures with you so that you know whether you are improving or lagging behind. He will also inform you what to expect during the next session and prescribe you some exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home.

A physical therapy session is actually fun and enjoyable to the patients. Although it may be physically tiring at times, patients are given exercises which are manageable to them and they are able to review their progress at the end of each therapy.

5 Types of Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapy exercises are an integral part of the recovery process of a patient with musculoskeletal problems. There are different types of exercises targeted at different parts of the body and is often used in conjunction with other treatment methods such as surgery and medication.

Range of motion exercises

One of the most common physiotherapy exercises is the range of motion exercise. This is performed by patients suffering from joint problems including the knee joint, shoulder joint and elbow joint. Due to injury, joints are often stiff, inflamed and swollen. As a result, the ability to achieve maximum range of motion is hindered. Imagine yourself being unable to fully straighten your leg or your elbow. It is definitely going to cause a lot of discomfort. Range of motion exercises can effectively loosen tight tissues and help to slowly improve your joint flexibility.

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises can be prescribed before and after any surgery. Before surgery, the muscles must be strong as patients are often required are required to rest for a certain period of time, resulting in atrophy of the muscles. Strong muscles prior to surgery can help to reduce the level of weakness and better support the injured parts. After surgery, the muscles will need to be strengthened to help better support the recovery parts and bear the weight and grunt of the body.

Soft tissue mobilisation

Soft tissue mobilisation helps to relax tense and tight muscles which would otherwise be causing a lot of discomfort and pain to the patient. It is performed by therapists doing massage on the affected area, static stretching to relax and relieve stiffness and the usage of therapeutic tapes which supposedly helps to improve blood flow.

General conditioning

General conditioning as its name suggests helps to provide conditioning of the body through various cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming and jogging. It helps to increase flexibility of the joints as well as improve overall health.

Balancing exercises

Due to injuries, the body’s natural ability to balance the body may be slightly off and therefore, exercises that help to restore the balance will need to be performed. Initially, the use of a parallel bar may be required to help you keep your balance but as time goes by, you can start to disregard the presence of that bar.

Physiotherapy aims to recondition your body back to its initial condition and help you achieve a better quality of life.

Preventing Osteoarthritis through Exercise

Osteoarthritis is a significant degenerative disease that affects the joints. It appears most commonly in the lower extremities which includes the knee and ankles. The reason why the lower extremities are favoured is due to the immense amount of stresses experienced each day. Despite the high prevalence of Osteoarthritis, it can be prevented through simple exercises. We will discuss in this article about how best to prevent Osteoarthritis through daily exercises.

Studies have concluded that exercises can help to prevent Osteoarthritis. Light exercises such as walking are able to effectively reduce the development of osteoarthritis while heavy ones can lead to an increase. As we age, our cartilage becomes less flexible and more brittle. As a result, it cannot work as effectively as before. Exercising frequently helps to prevent muscle atrophy and this is beneficial for those suffering from degenerative joint problems. Exercising frequently helps to build muscle mass, increase strength and flexibility. Patients who complain of pain while exercising should consider aquatic-based exercises which are pain free due to the buoyancy of water.

Flexibility exercises

The aim of flexibility exercises is to increase mobility in the joints and reduce stiffness. Simple flexibility exercises can help to stretch the surrounding muscles and increase blood flow to the region.

Leg stretch

Sit down on the floor and bend your knees while holding the soles together. Hold your ankles firmly and slowly push your knee down using your elbow. You will be able to feel a stretch on the inner part of your leg. Remember to do this slowly or you risk pulling your quad muscles.

Lower back stretch

Lie flat on a piece of yoga mat whilst extending your legs. Get into a position similar to when you are doing crunches but instead of holding your ankles, hold your knee this time round. Pull your knees towards you at a slow but consistent pace while maintaining proper breathing techniques.

Low impact aerobic exercises

Low impact aerobic exercises such as swimming and cycling are gentle on your joints yet improving your cardiovascular function effectively. While people commonly associate osteoarthritis with aging, it does not seem to be the case now. There is an increasing trend in younger patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Instead of participating in high impact sports such as soccer and running, consider making the switch to low impacts ones.
There is no effective cure for osteoarthritis yet and the only way is to manage it with medication and exercises in an attempt to live with the pain and go on with your life.

Snapping Hips : Causes and Treatment

Snapping hip or dancer’s hip is a medical condition resulting in a snapping sound whenever the hip is used such as running, walking, jumping or even simply standing up from a sitting position. There are many possible causes for snapping hip and will often cause annoyance to the patient.

Iliopsoas band snapping

There is a thick connective tissue called the iliotibial band located at the outside of the hip. This iliotibial (IT) band passes through the part of the thigh bone that is protruding out called the greater trochanter and standing up from a previously sitting position can cause the IT band to snap, creating a snapping sound.

Iliopsoas tendon snapping

Similar to the above, the IT tendon acts as the primary flexor muscle for the hip passing through the front of the hip joint. During hip flexing motions, the IT tendon can cause a snap, creating the annoying sound that disturbs patients. This is usually harmless, only annoyance.

Cartilage tear

Cartilage is another possible reason for snapping hips. Due to injury or various reasons, the cartilage can be injured and result in a loose flap. During hip motions, this loose flap can hit against the hip, causing a snapping sound that is rather faint. Since this is due to injury, patients may experience instability in their hips and will require stability aids.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help to strengthen the soft tissues around the hips to better support it. Most of the exercises can be performed at home or your office and will not take up much of your time.

Iliotibial band stretching

This exercise requires the presence of a wall for support. Cross your right leg over the left and lean your hip towards the wall. You will be able to feel a stretch at the hip region and hold for 20 seconds. Change the leg and repeat the step. Repeat the exercise for 3 sets of 15.

Piriformis stretch

Lie down on your back and bend your knees slightly while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Cross the leg of the side of the injured hip and hold your hands behind your thigh. Pull the injured hip towards you and you will be able to feel a stretch. Hold in the position for 15 seconds and repeat for 3 sets of 15.

Quadriceps stretch

This exercise also requires the presence of a wall. Place your hand on the wall for support. Reach for the ankle of the injured hip and pull it towards you while standing in an upright position. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets of 15.

If the cause of your snapping hips is not due to injuries, it does not affect you much except annoyance. If they are due to injuries, you will need to administer medical treatments. Try doing physical therapy exercises initially and if it fails, you may need corticosteroid injections or even surgical treatments such as hip arthroscopy.

3 Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Did you know that each person walks an average of 9000 steps per day? And the total distance covered by a person in his lifetime is sufficient to cover the Earth a whopping 4 times? Not only has the foot need to bear our body weight, it also has to lift it off the ground when we are walking. This places tremendous stresses on the ankles as well as the surrounding ligaments and tendons. With such a high use rate, problems can easily arise if it is not well taken care off. Imagine your ankle to be a car engine – you need preventive maintained after a certain mileage. However, you cannot give your ankle an off day as that will result in lots of inconvenience so the best alternative is to perform ankle strengthening exercises which can help to better support the ankle.

Ankle strengthening exercises are simple and can be performed easily almost everywhere without the need for big and bulky equipments.

Resistance band assisted flexion

The resistance band assisted flexion is a simple and convenient exercise that does not take up much space and time. You will need a resistance band which can be easily purchased from most sports shops. Place the resistance band over the top of your foot and curl the toes in. Slowly flex your leg outwards and you will be able to feel a slight pull at the ankle. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 3 sets of 20s.

Achilles stretches

The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in our body and it passes through the ankle. Therefore, it makes sense to strengthen this tendon which is responsible for absorbing the weight of our body. Sit down in an upright position and using a towel, wrap it around the toes. Slowly pull the towel towards you and you should be able to feel a stretch in the ankle. Repeat this exercise for 3 sets of 20s.

Toe raises

Toe raises can be performed almost anywhere, even when you are on your way to work or school. Stand on the edge of a flight of stairs and slowly raise your toe. Standing on the edge causes your body to shift the entire weight to the toes and help to strengthen your ankles. It can also help to promote a sense of balance in your body. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 20 times for 3 sets.

Without such a high usage, it is not shocking to know that ankle injuries are common. However, the inconvenience and discomfort of ankle injuries are too serious to ignore. Simple ankle strengthening exercises are simple and convenient and a little can go a long way.