Post-Surgery Care for Total Joint Replacement

Published March 31, 2023

Total joint replacement surgery is a common and effective treatment option for patients who suffer from chronic joint pain and disability due to injury or conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, about 790,000 total knee replacements and more than 450,000 hip replacements are performed in the U.S. each year according to This number continues to grow as our population ages.While the surgery itself is a significant step towards improved joint function and quality of life, post-operative care is equally important to ensure a successful recovery.

post joint replacement surgery care

If you or a loved one is considering total joint replacement surgery, it's important to learn some important tips to follow for post-surgery care.

  • Follow your surgeon's instructions:
    Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions for post-operative care, including medication schedules, activity restrictions, and other important information. It's important to follow these instructions closely and to contact your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Attend all follow-up appointments:
    Your surgeon will schedule several follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and to ensure that your joint is healing properly. It's important to attend all of these appointments and to communicate any concerns or issues with your healthcare team.

  • Manage pain and swelling:
    Pain and swelling are common after joint replacement surgery, but there are several strategies to manage these symptoms. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medications or recommend other therapies such as ice, compression, or elevation (learn about R.I.C.E. vs. P.O.L.I.C.E.).

  • Participate in physical therapy:
    Physical therapy is a crucial component of post-operative care for joint replacement, as it can help improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength in the affected joint. Your physical therapist will work with you to develop an individualized rehabilitation program and to monitor your progress over time.

  • Practice good nutrition and hydration:
    Good nutrition and hydration are important for overall health and can also help promote healing after surgery. Be sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains, and to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids.

  • Avoid falls and other injuries:
    This might seem like a no-brainer, but falls and other injuries can be particularly dangerous after joint replacement surgery, as they can damage the healing joint and delay recovery. Be sure to follow all activity restrictions and precautions provided by your surgeon and physical therapist, and to take steps to prevent falls in and around your home.

  • Reduce complications:
    The most common complication after joint replacement surgery is infection. Although infections can occur in any surgery, joint replacement surgery carries a higher risk of infection due to the artificial joint itself being a foreign material and the surgical procedure involving cutting through skin and other tissues. Other common complications after joint replacement surgery include blood clots, implant dislocation, implant loosening, nerve damage, and ongoing pain or stiffness. It's important to note that these complications are rare, and most people who undergo joint replacement surgery have successful outcomes

By following these post-surgery care tips, you can help reduce the chance of complications, ensure a successful recovery, and achieve the best possible outcome. While the recovery process may take some time and effort, the benefits of improved joint function and quality of life are well worth the investment.

Considering joint replacement surgery?

The doctors at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics provide the most advanced total joint replacement and revision techniques available so our patients can regain the ability to participate in activities previously limited by pain. If you're experiencing joint pain, schedule an appointment to learn more about all available treatment options.