An arthroplasty is a surgical procedure involving the reconstruction or replacement of the articular surface of a joint. Arthroplasties are commonly performed on the knee, hip and shoulder joints. These procedures become necessary when the integrity of the particular joint is compromised, which can arise due to factors involving an acute injury, such as torn ligaments, or a chronic condition such as osteoarthritis.
It is commonly recognised that after undergoing these procedures, patients will be required to take part in a rehabilitation program. Such programs are designed to improve the mobility, strength and stability of the joint. However, as we strive to obtain the optimal post operative outcome, the concept of a pre-rehabilitation program is increasingly becoming recognised.
Before undergoing a surgical procedure, the joint is typically stiff, weak and inflamed. Pre-rehabilitation exercise prescription, prior to surgery, is aimed at improving and maintaining the condition of the joint, in order for it to ultimately reach its optimal functionality and strength and providing the patient with the best chance of obtaining their optimal post operative outcome. These objectives are achieved by strengthening the muscles around the joint, increasing strength and stability and at the same time working the joint through its ranges of motion to maintain functionality.
Studies have shown that patients who have participated in a pre-rehabilitation exercise program prior to their procedure have reduced the time spent in hospital and have achieved enhanced post operative outcomes.