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Exercises for Joint Pain

Joint pain is one of the commonest things that a person consults with a physiotherapist about and makes up a significant amount of the workload of general practitioners.

Our joints allow us to move smoothly and effectively in the world, transporting our body weight around and participating in the jobs, hobbies and activities we desire. Pain and limitation of movement in a joint can have a great effect on our functional ability.

Exercises for joint pain are important in the major joint replacements which are now commonplace in western medicine: total hip replacement; total knee replacement and total shoulder replacement.

Long before hip replacement surgery is considered, the patient will likely have been referred to a physiotherapist for a joint exercise program to address the issues of pain, restricted range of movement and muscle weakness.

Hip replacement therapy, once the operation is over, is down to mobilising with the physio and performing the post hip replacement exercises given. Hip replacement exercises are limited in scope in most patients as the ranges of movement and strength are reasonable after operation and there are risks of dislocation and high levels of stresses to the bony interfaces if exercise is done too enthusiatically.

Hip replacement stretches are rarely required unless there is significant restriction of ranges of movement, particularly if there is a fixed flexion deformity which prevents the patient from standing up fully. In this case prone lying can be a good therapy, provided the patient can get over onto their front safely and comfortably.

Hip resurfacing exercises are more appropriate, as this technique has a much larger head of the femur and is much less likely to dislocate than a standard hip replacement. To understand what goes on in the operation and get an idea of why the exercises are important it can be useful to watch a total hip replacement video.

A good article about exercise for treating arthritic pain and stiffness is available at the Mayo Clinic and WebMD.


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