Reduce Pain and Speed Recovery from Orthopedic Surgery.
Start Your Physical Therapy Before Surgery!

As the demand for hip and joint replacement surgery increases, there is a growing need to be equipped with accurate information concerning the benefits and drawbacks of orthopedic surgery. 

According to the American Medical Association, total knee replacements in the U.S. increased by 63% in a seven-year period from 1997 to 2004. Hip replacements increased by 48% in that same period. These trends are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Comparing Common Treatment Options to Physical Therapy
In the most severe cases of joint inflammation, damage and pain surgery can be the only viable treatment option. However there are always risks associated with surgery. For individuals with mild to moderate symptoms, the need for surgery may be prolonged or even avoided altogether. Surgeons are often quick to recommend surgery to their patients even if that is not necessarily the best option. Physical therapy can be a great alternative in most mid to moderate cases and should not be overlooked as a viable option. Take a look at the charts below to see what treatments are available for knee, hip, and shoulder pain, and the benefits and drawbacks of each. See if physical therapy might be a better option to start with.


Common Treatments

Treatment Options for
Knee, Hip and Shoulder




Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen & prescription drugs.

Can provide temporary pain relief by reducing inflammation in joints.

Temporary fix; pain will usually return soon after an individual quits taking the medication. Some medications can be expensive and some have an addictive component.

Use of cane or walker

Helps to reduce pressure on painful joint and aids balance.

Used long-term can cause surrounding muscles to atrophy which may create other orthopedic problems. Short-term use is recommended for whenever possible.

Steroid injections

Provides immediate pain relief for some individuals. Helps reduce joint inflammation.

Potential side effects: steroid reaction (cortisone flares), infection of joint, atrophy, high blood pressure, weight gain, cataracts, and diabetes. Recent studies show that individuals that receive steroid injections have a higher incidence of long–term health issues compared to those who avoid the use of corticosteroid medications.

Hyaluronic Acid injections

Hyaluronic Acid is a natural substance found in knee joint. It can help relieve pain and help to improve functionality for individuals suffering from osteoarthritis.

Potential side effects: severe reactions for individuals with egg or poultry allergies, cough, problems swallowing, dizziness, and feeling feverish. May take as much as 12 weeks for pain relief.

Joint replacement surgery

Repair of damaged joint. Long-term pain relief. Most replacement joints last 20 or so years before they need to be replaced, depending on the individual's level of activity.

Potential side effects: risk of Infection, joint stiffness. Surgical side effects include the risk of infection, blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Risk of breaking the prosthesis, excessive wear and tear may require earlier replacement.


Physical Therapy

Treatment Options for
Knee, Hip and Shoulder



Physical Therapy

Reduced pain, improved or restored mobility and functionality, increases strength, may help avoid or prolong the need for surgery. Surgical patients can enhance recovery with a pre-surgical therapy. Post-surgical physical therapy is essential to full recovery.

Minimal side effects. requires time and commitment to achieve optimum results.


Already Decided To Have Joint Replacement Surgery?
Physical therapy has historically been emphasized as a post-surgical rehabilitation treatment. However, we have discovered that proper evaluation and preparation by a skilled and competent physical therapist can have dramatic pre-surgical and post-surgical benefits. Physical therapy preparation for surgery can reduce pain and inflammation, relieve anxiety and aid the post-surgery healing process. It also provides a pre-surgical baseline from which to gauge the benefits of surgery on mobility, functionality and pain. In addition, you will become familiar with your physical therapist and the exercises that will be recommended after surgery.


Beginning the physical preparation and planning process in anticipation of surgery is an essential element for a complete and successful rehabilitation. Below, we have provided a checklist of things to consider before and after surgery.

Pre-Surgical Checklist:

  • Gain a good understanding of the anatomy and mechanics of your problem area.
  • Evaluate your Range of Motion (ROM). Good as a baseline indicator to determine post-surgical progress.
  • Get a good understanding of what you can expect with surgery and the recovery process to follow.
  • Physically strengthen the area that will be impacted most by surgery to assure successful rehabilitation.


Post Surgical Checklist and Goals:

  • Decrease pain and inflammation, and speed healing with physical therapy. Your physician may prescribe medications as well.
  • Restore and increase range of motion (ROM) to normal parameters.
  • Increase strength to gain functional abilities for everyday living tasks.
  • Education for self management through exercise at home and at work.


At Joshua Tree Physical Therapy we would like to help you get the most out of your surgery with as little recovery time as possible. Give us a call today.