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Physical Therapy: Q&A

I have reluctantly agreed to schedule knee replacement surgery in the fall. I understand the need for physical therapy after, but why would my doctor prescribe physical therapy before the surgery?

You are not the first patient to be confused by this prescription; nor are you the first to be reluctant about knee replacement surgery.

Preoperative physical therapy is sometimes prescribed months before a planned knee replacement surgery to: a) strengthen the upper body to aid in the use of walking aids, such as canes, crutches or walkers; and b) to increase the strength and flexibility of the leg muscles to make performing postoperative rehabilitative exercises easier.

Preoperative physical therapy is often prescribed shortly before (about two weeks) surgery as a means to educate and instruct patients about what to expect following surgery. During these visits, your physical therapist will explain your post-operative treatment plan and review your rehabilitation exercises. This is an excellent opportunity to practice your exercises before surgery, so you are familiar with how perform them with proper posture and body mechanics. Following surgery, you will feel much more confident when you begin physical therapy treatment.

Let’s face it, this is major surgery. Proactively pursuing information about how to best prepare yourself and your body prior to knee replacement surgery will address your reluctance and reduce any anxiety you may have. In fact, studies have shown preoperative education and physical therapy can contribute to a reduced hospital stay and quicker functional recovery (following joint replacement surgery). At Health Quest Physical Therapy, we offer classes to help prepare patients and their caregivers for joint replacement surgery. Please see the calendar of events on page 4 for more information.


This information was provided by HealthQuest Physical Therapy and Wellness Centers: Return to Work, Return to Life, Return to Play.  To learn more about HealthQuest Physical Therapy services and how we can help you recover from an on-the-job injury, regain your independence and get back to living your life, or return to the physical activities you love visit our website at

8 Convenient Locations
Oakland County, Michigan Facilities
Rochester Hills, Lake Orion, Oxford, Clawson/Troy

Macomb County, Michigan Facilities
Romeo, Shelby Township, Clinton Township, and Macomb Township
Call now for your Free Physical Therapy Consultation


Written by Brooks Juneau

August 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm

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