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Getting a Total Joint Replacement? Avoid These 7 Common Post-Surgery Mistakes

Is it time for a total joint replacement? Surgery can be scary, but when it’s medically necessary, it’s good to not only prepare for the procedure but also prepare for your post-surgery recovery. As orthopedic specialists, we see common mistakes that patients make as they rehabilitate. Most missteps aren’t intentional, but some are. We’re looking at you, at-home-exercise skippers.

All kidding aside, we’re here to help you heal as wholly as humanly possible. Avoiding the post-surgery blunders listed in this article will help you do just that.

7 Common Post-Surgery Mistakes

The trouble with life is that it keeps going on without you — even when you’ve had surgery. Because of that, we can be in a hurry to get moving again or skip important parts of the rehabilitation process. Avoiding the following mistakes that total joint replacement patients commonly make will help get you back on your feet while reducing the chance of complications in the future.

1. Pushing Yourself Too Soon, Too Fast
Activities that fall in the “too soon, too fast” category: driving, returning to work, going back to your fitness routine — you get the idea. Engaging in non-approved activities before your body has healed enough can land you in a worse place than the one you started out in. You and your doctor should identify a recovery roadmap that will keep you moving forward.

2. Not Pushing Hard Enough
Not to contradict ourselves, but as easy as it is to do too much too soon, there’s also the trap of not doing enough to help further your recovery. Rehabilitation is a painful process, but it’s a necessary one. Patients are also afraid of re-injuring themselves, which is completely understandable. However, not getting up to move can result in blood clots and/or muscular degeneration.

3. Not Taking Medications as Prescribed
Deviating from your medication regimen can have disastrous effects on your recovery. Sticking to the medications that your doctor has prescribed is key — even if you’re feeling better. Early on in your healing process, the reason you might be feeling better is likely because of the medications. If you have any concerns, absolutely talk them through with the doctor overseeing your care, so that you’re able to identify a plan that you’re comfortable with undertaking.

4. Not Eating or Drinking Enough
Lack of appetite post-surgery is wildly common among patients. However, drinking and eating is crucial to ensuring your body has the nutrients, energy, and hydration required to heal properly. In fact, not getting the appropriate nutrition can stall recovery.

5. Skipping Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is critical to recovery. Full stop. Rehab strengthens the muscles surrounding your new joint. Whether your exercises are to be completed at home or with a physical therapist, it’s important to not only stick to the prescribed schedule, but also it is imperative to complete it.

6. Ignoring Red Flags
Ask questions. If something feels off or if there’s something that you’re unsure of, ask your physician about it. Don’t assume it’s part of the healing process. Don’t be afraid of looking silly or worrying too much. This is your body. You only get one. Make sure to raise a flag on red flags. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you.

7. Failing to Follow Up
Follow-up appointments with your doctor are part of the surgery process. When you leave, that isn’t the end of your recovery. The surgery is just the start. Even if everything seems fine, make sure to keep those post-op appointments.

When It’s Time for a Joint Replacement

Beacon’s physicians are here to get you back to what you love doing as quickly as the healing process allows. There are no shortcuts when it comes to total joint replacement. If you have joint pain and need to embark on your own recovery journey, schedule an appointment with our team of knee and hip replacement experts today.

Further Reading
Dr. Chaudhary Explains a Total Knee Replacement
Dr. Chaudhary Explains a Total Hip Replacement
Total Hip Replacement: From Surgery to Recovery
Frequently Asked Questions about Total Hip Replacement
Knee Surgery: Choosing Between Total or Partial Knee Replacement