Recovering from ACL injury, Total knee replacement or Total hip replacement can be very challenging. Your physical, emotional, and mental health play important roles in the recovery process!

We live in a fast-paced society where we want things to be delivered as quickly as possible - the process of recovery from injuries and surgeries included. Which begs the question, “Is speeding up recovery even possible? If so, how?

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Yes, speeding up recovery is possible to an extent. In addition to the quality rest, diet and lifestyle, evidence-based research has proven that a COMBINATION of the following factors contribute to the speed of recovery: [1]

1. Preoperative physical therapy

(also known as prehabilitation)
• Preoperative physical therapy consists of rehabilitation exercises prior to surgery that starts the day after your injury, you can read more about it here.
• If you have an ACL injury and are debating whether to go through surgery, you should attend physical therapy in the early-stages of injury as research has shown that this is a first step in determining if non-surgical rehabilitation is right for you. In the future if you have decided on following through with surgery, your surgery will have better results and you will experience a faster recovery![2]

2. Attend to postoperative physical therapy immediately after surgery

• Postoperative physical therapy is regular physical therapy for people who have gone through surgery and are recovering. Physical therapy will help you improve pain control, stiffness

and hasten recovery through progressive exercises, early joint movement, and stability training.
• Seeking early physical therapy (the day after surgery) is encouraged in order to facilitate joint movements that are restricted by scar tissues, making movements more useful and meaningful to patients.[3]
• Your physical therapist will give you exercises that allow you to return to your daily life activities as soon as possible. For example you may progress from exercises such as leg lifts to ‘sit to stand’ to better meet the needs of your daily life.[3:1]

3. Good pain management

• Good pain management does not mean that someone can take pain very well. It is the combination of revising your medications with your doctor and using other ways to manage your pain such as ice, compression and exercises. Having good pain management will allow you to stick to your rehabilitation exercise plan which results in a faster recovery! You can read more about experiencing pain when doing rehabilitation exercises here.

• While wearing a knee brace does not directly result in speeding up the recovery process, it can manage swelling, and reduce pain during periods of rehabilitation.[3:2] Remember it does not have to be a costly knee brace! A simple knee sleeve which provides compression can help with your pain.[4]

4. Listening to your surgeon

• Certain surgeries, such as the Total Hip Replacement, result in certain movement restrictions for the first few weeks. Following your surgeon’s instructions may just save you from further complications and another avoidable surgery!

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So, what is the magic to a speedy recovery?

The answer is a combination of all of the above! All the factors mentioned above can be controlled, and we can help the recovery significantly by following the steps listed above.

Where can I find these exercise plans?

Research has shown that in-home exercises plans had similar results in comparison to in-clinic exercise plans.[3:3] Curovate is an app that provides you a rehabilitation exercise plan for ACL injury and surgery, Total Knee Replacement and Total Hip Replacement. Download the app now using the links below!

If you need further customized assistance during your surgery or injury recovery check out our Virtual Physical Therapy page to book your 1-on-1 video session with a physical therapist.

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  1. Sharma V, Morgan PM, Cheng EY. Factors influencing early rehabilitation after THA: a systematic review. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Jun;467(6):1400–11. ↩︎

  2. Eitzen I, Moksnes H, Snyder-Mackler L, Risberg MA. A progressive 5-week exercise therapy program leads to significant improvement in knee function early after anterior cruciate ligament injury. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010 Nov;40(11):705–21. ↩︎

  3. Beynnon BD, Johnson RJ, Abate JA, Fleming BC, Nichols CE. Treatment of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, part 2. Am J Sports Med. 2005 Nov;33(11):1751–67. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  4. Hsu MD JD, Michael J, Fisk MD J. AAOS Atlas of Orthoses and Assistive Devices. 4th ed. Mosby; 2008. ↩︎

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