Your Guide to Exercising After Joint Replacement

June 16, 2022 4:28 pm Published by

woman using walker

If your physician has recommended joint replacement, odds are that you’ve been experiencing joint pain for months or even years. You’re already looking forward to returning to normal activities afterward. But how quickly will that happen?

We have some good news to share—following joint replacement, being physically active is not only encouraged, it’s essential to the healing process.

Since you’ll be recovering from a surgical procedure, it’s important to carefully follow your surgeon’s advice and participate in physical therapy as directed.

Why You Should Exercise After Joint Replacement

When you’re discharged from the hospital after having your knee replaced, working out may be the last thing on your mind. Luckily, that’s OK. In the first days after joint replacement, you should be focused on managing your pain effectively, finding ways to stay comfortable and stay comfortable while beginning with light exercise.

In the long run, returning to physical activity after joint replacement offers many benefits. Moving the affected joint and the rest of your body will help you recover more quickly and fully after the surgical procedure and regain abilities as the days and weeks pass.

Exercise will also help you protect your joints long-term. Staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight keeps pressure off your joints and keeps them stable.

5 Facts About Exercising After Joint Replacement Surgery

When you think about joint replacement, the knees may immediately come to mind. However, many different joints can be replaced, including the hip, knee, ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow. Of those, hip and knee replacement surgeries are the most common.

Although your recovery and return to physical activity after surgery will vary depending on the type of joint replacement you undergo, there’s some basic information about post-surgical recovery that’s true nearly across the board:

  1. Your rehabilitation will start within hours. In most cases, you will be encouraged to move the affected joint shortly after you come out of anesthesia. A physical therapist will help you get up and moving, maybe even going up and down a small set of stairs.
  2. You will be given a set of exercises to perform at home. After you’re discharged from the hospital, which often happens within one day after surgery, you’ll be given instructions for exercises and stretches to help keep the joint active and help it heal. Performing these exercises on your own or with the help of a loved one will help ensure the joint doesn’t stiffen.
  3. Attending physical therapy is important. Rehabilitation following joint replacement is an essential part of the healing process. During physical therapy sessions, you’ll learn exercises to help restore range of motion, encourage healing and improve mobility. These activities also prepare you to handle normal daily activities with more ease and independence.
  4. Physical therapy will build up over time. At first, your physical therapist will take you through basic movements aimed at helping you stay active while dealing with some level of postsurgical discomfort as the joint heals. After several sessions, you’ll learn new exercises and movements that can help you return to your regular activities sooner.
  5. A physical therapist can advise about safe activities. If you’re an avid exerciser, you may be eager to get back to your workouts, but it’s important to pace yourself when recovering after joint replacement. Your physical therapy team can provide you personalized guidance about what exercises are safe for you to perform and when you’ll be able to do them. This includes advice such as whether you can run after a knee replacement or do basic exercises like squats after a hip replacement, both of which are specific to your individual health and recovery.


When you’re looking to get back on your feet after joint replacement, physical therapy is your first step. The Magnolia Regional Health Center Outpatient Rehabilitation Services team can help.


Magnolia Outpatient Rehab Services
1001 South Harper Road
Corinth, MS 38834
(662) 287-1400

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This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center

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