6 Ways to Prepare for a Knee or Hip Replacement

If you or a loved one in your care has recently been told that you are in the need of knee or hip replacement surgery, you have a lot to take care of in the weeks ahead. By starting to prepare now, you can move toward your surgery with better peace of mind and take steps to help yourself recover more quickly.

Dr. Kathleen Meehan, Medical Director at Williamsburg Landing, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Williamsburg, VA, states, “Hip and knee replacement surgeries are among the most common orthopedic procedures done today. While great medical advancements have been made to ensure the best results from these surgeries, those who took the time to prepare emotionally, maintained good health and lifestyle habits, and planned ahead for support seem to experience better recoveries afterwards.”

Preparing for Your Procedure

In addition to following your doctor’s directions and advice, there are other ways to prepare for your knee or hip replacement surgery. The experts at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggest coordinating everything from your state of mind to your living room furniture in order to best prepare for your upcoming procedure.

Expert advice includes:

  1. Mental Preparation – Learn as much as you can about your knee or hip replacement surgery. Understanding the procedure itself, possible risks and recovery experience can help you know what to expect throughout the process.

    Realistic expectations can help you stay positive leading up to the surgery and in the weeks of recovery that follow. Keeping a positive attitude about this procedure and the benefits you’ll gain will help you stay healthy and focused on healing.

  2. Communication – It’s important to inform your doctor about your medical history. Because a joint replacement is a complex procedure, you’ll likely be asked for this information repeatedly by different people. Write down all past surgeries and hospitalizations, past and current health conditions, medications, family history and insurance information, and bring this list to your appointments.

    Ask your doctor any questions you may have or for explanations when you don’t understand. You may want to ask important questions such as whether to stop any medications before the surgery, how to manage pain afterwards and how long you’ll stay in the hospital.

  3. Lifestyle Changes – You want to be as healthy as possible before your surgery to make recovery easier. Eat a balanced diet to obtain plenty of vitamins and nutrients. If you smoke, cut back or quit, as smoking affects blood circulation and slows healing. Ask your doctor if you are at a healthy weight. If you are overweight, your doctor may advise you to lose weight to reduce the pressure placed on your new joint.

  4. Physical Preparation – Ask your doctor what kinds of exercises will help prepare your body for recovery. Strengthening your upper body will help if you need to use crutches or a walker for a while after surgery. You should also work to strengthen your thigh muscles prior to surgery, increasing not only strength but flexibility and range of motion as well.

    If there are particular exercises you’ll need to do after surgery, it might be a good idea to learn them now and practice them. This way, you’ll already be comfortable with the motions when it comes time to use them to recover.

  5. Plan for Coming Home – You may need to modify your home slightly to make it easier to move about during the recovery period. If your bedroom is on the second floor, temporarily turn a first floor room into your bedroom. Rearrange any furniture that might be difficult to move around while using crutches or a walker and remove any tripping hazards, such as extension cords or rugs.Consider installing grab bars, a shower chair or a raised toilet seat in your bathroom. Place any items that you use often, such as toiletries, books, dishes or towels at arm level to avoid bending down or reaching up as you recover.

    If you live alone or have other health conditions to manage, you may want to spend the first few weeks after surgery at a rehabilitation center. Your doctor should be able to suggest an appropriate place to receive the support you need to recover after you are discharged. 

  6. Gather Support – Contact family members, close friends or neighbors in the weeks leading up to your surgery to ask for support while you recover. Ask someone to drive you home from the hospital and to follow-up appointments. Ask friends or family to help you prepare meals or make ready-to-eat dinners that you can freeze and reheat. Let your neighbors know about your surgery and ask if they would be willing to help out with yard maintenance or walk your dog if you have one.

    Don’t be uncomfortable about asking the people close to you for support while you recover. Chances are, your family and friends will be happy to help you, and you’ll rest easier and recover faster if you don’t feel like you need to do everything yourself. 

These are just a few suggestions for how to prepare for your knee or hip replacement surgery. Since everyone’s situation is unique, always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet, trying new exercises or adjusting medications.

Getting You Back on Your Feet

As a Continuing Care Retirement Community, Williamsburg Landing offers more than just premier Independent Living. “Our community provides Short-Term Rehabilitation and Home Health Care, in addition to residential Assisted Living, Memory Care, Long-Term Care,” says Dr. Meehan. “After undergoing a major surgery or operation, your greatest desire is to get back to doing the things you enjoy. Our programs can help you get there smoothly.

“We offer both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services and therapy, depending on your health care needs, as well as an array of home health care services for those who need a little extra support around the house. Our professional home health care aids can help you recover in the comfort of your own home, offering support with bathing and dressing, transportation, light meal preparation, laundry or shopping.

“If you’d like to learn more about our extensive health care services, just give us a call or visit our website for more information.”

Welcome to Williamsburg Landing

Looking for a vibrant, engaging and fulfilling way of life? If so, you’ll find it at Williamsburg Landing.

Nestled on 137 wooded acres along the serene banks of College Creek in Williamsburg, Va., Williamsburg Landing is the premier, not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) serving Williamsburg and its surrounding areas since 1985. With one visit, you’ll understand what makes Williamsburg Landing so special. 

Williamsburg Landing is an ideal blend of beautiful landscaping and elegant, Colonial architecture. It invites residents to become part of its vibrant, active lifestyle and rest-assured in its award-winning medical care. It eases worries with maintenance-free homes and apartments with resort-style amenities and services. The community thrives with energetic, involved and friendly people who love to live here and the warmth of dedicated, committed professionals who love to work here.

With a past rich in tradition and a future filled with promise, Williamsburg Landing is the perfect place to call home – for today and tomorrow. 

To learn more or schedule a tour, please contact us today!