Physical therapy after joint replacement

Physical therapy after joint replacement can help speed your recovery and get you back to your daily activities faster with less pain.


Whether it’s a creaky knee, a balky hip or a painful shoulder, joint replacement surgery may be your best strategy for relief. The ultimate success of this game plan, however, depends on you. Physical therapy afterward could be your ace in the hole.

The details of your treatment after joint replacement surgery depend on your individual diagnosis, condition and goals. Add physical therapy and you’ll likely experience a significant difference in your recovery.

Here are five examples of how physical therapy can help you heal after joint replacement surgery.

Faster recovery

Physical therapists work with you immediately after surgery to get you moving as quickly as possible. Early mobility helps cut down the chance that you’ll develop a post-surgical complication like blood clots, pneumonia or issues with your new joint. It also helps you avoid muscle atrophy due to reduced mobility during recovery.

Guidance and education

Your therapy team makes sure you understand how to use assistive devices (even temporarily), like a wheelchair, walker or cane. They assess your home to ensure you’re returning to an environment that’s conducive to a successful recovery. Along with occupational therapists, they teach you how to perform the functions of your daily life safely and effectively while you are healing.

Improved mobility and function

Physical therapy helps improve your range of motion and strengthens the muscles around your new joint.

Less pain

The techniques and exercises you learn in physical therapy help reduce discomfort and pain by restoring your muscle function. You’ll learn ways to move more effectively.

Regained capabilities

With diligent adherence to your physical therapy regimen, it may be possible to regain physical capabilities you thought were lost forever.

The recovery and rehabilitation phase of joint replacement surgery can make a difference in how effective your procedure is in reducing your pain and improving mobility. Physical therapy can help give you the tools you need for a successful recovery and a pain-free future.

Find a doctor

Physical therapy is an integral part of the recovery process when you’ve had joint replacement surgery. Our orthopedic specialists work as part of a multidisciplinary team that includes physical and occupational therapists, social workers and a wide range of other healthcare professionals dedicated to helping you get better. Find an orthopedic specialist in our provider directory. Or use one of the regional directories below:






Share your thoughts on joint replacement at #aging with readers @psjh.

Related resources

5 Common Misperceptions About Joint Replacement

Joint Decisions

St. Jude Recognized for Outstanding Quality of Total Hip and Knee Replacement

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

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From how to identify and treat heart diseases to exercise tips to maintain an active lifestyle, the Providence Senior's Health team is committed to providing real-world advice that is hyper-relevant to helping those 65+ find ways stay young at heart

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