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Marsh column: If you have knee replacement, do your exercises

At least four people I know have had knee replacement surgery in the past six months.

And I have dealt with a lot more who have had the same surgery. When you are dealing with bad joints, try to do everything else you can like physical therapy, exercise, eating healthy and losing weight (if needed) before you jump into any replacement.

Too many times I see people who have joint replacements not doing their therapy pre- and post-operation, so their surgery isn’t as successful as it could be.

Your doctor can put in a new joint, but if you are not willing to do the exercises he or she prescribes, that joint will not be as good as it could be. And you can’t blame the doctor when this happens.

I know many people have put off surgeries like this due to COVID-19, but all hospitals and staff take strict precautions to keep you healthy. So after the surgery if you go home and you stop doing the specific exercises your doctor/physical therapist/nurse provided and instructed for you to do, within a pretty short amount of time you will feel your range of motion in your knee joint disappear. Then you go back to your doctor and you tell him or her that your knee has gotten stiff, maybe even painful and they will ask if you have been doing the exercises that were specifically worked up for you.

We have to take ownership of our own health, your doctors/PT/RN don’t just give you “homework” to annoy you, they know to make a surgery such as a joint replacement successful you have to continue the exercises to get the full benefits.

It will hurt when you do the exercises but typically it will only be painful in the beginning, and your doctor and physical therapist will teach you to differentiate between pain that is supposed to be there and pain that happens when you are pushing too hard. Within time and with the correct therapy/exercise plan, you will be as good as new with your “bionic” knee.

So all the exercises they prescribe to you should become part of your daily workout routine. The better you listen to your doctor and therapist,  the sooner you will feel amazing and be a great success story — if you do the exercises you need to be doing.

Ester H. Marsh Health & Fitness director JF Hurley family YMCA.

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