Looking After Your New Joint

As good as joint replacements are, they are not yet as good as the joints we were originally born with. This means that there is some special care needed in order to look after a new joint. Although we certainly do encourage patients to walk and to return to their favourite sports such as golf, bowls, cycling, swimming and bush-walking, it is important to remember that the replacements are not designed for potentially jarring activities such as marathon running or repetitive jumping.

Having said this, if a patient occasionally needs to run a few steps to avoid an accident or to catch a bus, then they by all means should do so.

Patients often find that kneeling can be uncomfortable following knee replacement, however kneeling can be performed without compromising the replacement itself. There is usually some numbness on the outside aspect of the scar, which may take months or even years to resolve, and is of variable severity.

However the most important thing that patients always need to keep in mind following joint replacement is to understand that because the new joint is artificial, it is subject to some degree of wear. Joint replacements are lasting a lot longer than we ever expected them to, and this means that maintaining contact with an orthopaedic surgeon over the years and decades after surgery is of considerable importance. Dr Hasn contacts his patients at one year after surgery to monitor their progress, then ten years after surgery and beyond to do X-Ray checks to see that the hip or knee is functioning satisfactorily with little wear and tear.

Of course, it is very important that patients who develop new problems in their replaced hip or knee should seek early referral, so that investigation and treatment can take place before the issue becomes serious.