How will I recover following joint replacement surgery?

It is extremely important to get moving again quickly following joint surgery. This helps to prevent complications like thrombosis and accelerates the healing process. Resting for too long not only weakens your muscles but also your immune system. You will be able to put weight on the replacement joint shortly after surgery.

Your physiotherapist will get you moving as early as the day after your joint replacement surgery or even on the same day. They will explain to you which movements you can do and how to use walking aids following a hip operation, for example. The physiotherapist will also practice everyday movement sequences with you. Physiotherapy exercises promote muscle development, coordination and mobility.

After knee or shoulder surgery, a device known as a continuous passive motion (CPM) splint may be used to move the joint without the patient having to move it themselves.

Following a knee or hip operation, you will usually receive anti-thrombosis injections to prevent thrombosis or embolism.

You will also be given compression stockings or bandages for your legs. After that you will generally be able to put your full weight on your leg again and will no longer require walking aids.

Your hospital stay or outpatient surgery will generally be followed by rehabilitation lasting several weeks. This will either be provided in outpatient visits to a rehab centre or as an inpatient in a rehab clinic.

Since the joint operation is usually an ‘elective’ procedure, you can discuss the type and location of rehabilitation with your doctor either before or, at the latest, shortly after the surgery. They will go through all the details with you and help you complete the relevant applications. You may need to speak to your health insurance provider.

You should continue with the exercises you have learned at home even after the rehabilitation course has finished.

Following joint replacement surgery , you should see your doctor at regular, fixed intervals for follow-up examinations. They will examine the joint and take X-rays. Regular follow-up examinations can help to identify and treat any complications early on. This is important even if you are not experiencing any pain or discomfort. Make sure you always bring your implant ID with you.

Your muscles will only be strong enough to protect the joint against incorrect movements after several weeks or months following surgery. You should therefore avoid certain movements, particularly during the first few weeks. Your physiotherapist will explain everything in detail and offer you specific training. You must avoid all types of sport that put high levels of stress on the joint and involve a risk of falling.

Hip joint

  • Sitting in deep armchairs and crossing your legs
  • Rotating the leg concerned outwards
  • Heavy impact loads

Knee joint

  • Squatting and kneeling down when gardening, for example
  • Crossing your legs when sitting down
  • Lifting and stretching the leg concerned

Shoulder joint

  • Work that puts strain on the shoulders (above the head and in front of the body)
  • Working on ladders or scaffolding