Category Archives: Knee

How Do You Know if you have Bursitis

How Do You Know if You have Bursitis?

How Do You Know if you have Bursitis

What is Bursitis and What Causes it?

Aching, inflamed, and painful joints can often be mistaken for arthritis, but what might really be happening in your body is a case of bursitis. Although bursitis does result in joint pain, it is a condition that concerns the bursae within the joints. In our body, there are 160 tiny, slippery fluid-filled sacs called “bursa” that allow our joints to move in a smooth fashion, by providing a thin cushion and reducing friction between bones, tendons, muscles, and skin surfaces.

Although there are bursae found all over the body, the major ones are found near large joints such as the elbows, hips, knees, and shoulders. Joints with higher ranges of motion typically see the most bursitis damage leading to inflammation from repetitive use or pressure. Bursitis is the result of an inflammation of the bursae, and once these sacs become inflamed, there’s more friction between the bone and the muscles moving around, making the problem worse.

Bursitis can be caused by excessive pressure and repetitive movement. As a result, the shoulders, knees, and elbows are the most affected parts of the body. Another cause of bursitis is traumatic injury, since the bursae no longer fits in the small space between the bone and muscle or tendon.

Bursitis Symptoms to Look For:

  • Feel achy or stiff
  • Swelling
  • Dull pain with occasional sharp pain
  • Painful to the touch
  • Pain (increases with movement or pressure)

How Do I Treat Bursitis?

Home treatment is often enough to reduce pain and let the bursa heal. Physical therapists can also help strengthen the muscles around your joints and relieve pain.

What do I do if I have bursitis?

  • Rest the affected area. Avoid any activity or direct pressure that may cause pain.
  • Apply ice or cold packs as soon as you notice pain in your muscles or near a joint. Apply ice 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as often as twice an hour, for 3 days (72 hours). You can try heat, or alternating heat and ice, after the first 72 hours.
  • Use pain relievers. To reduce pain and inflammation, use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. NSAIDs come in pills and also in a cream that you rub over the sore area. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can also help with pain. Don’t rely on medicine to relieve pain so that you can keep overusing the joint.
  • Do range-of-motion exercises each day. If your bursitis is in or near a joint, gently move the joint through its full range of motion, even during the time that you are resting the joint area. This will prevent stiffness. As the pain goes away, add other exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joint.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke. Smoking delays wound and tissue healing.

Physical Therapy treatment for Bursitis:

Your physical therapist also will perform an evaluation to determine the likelihood that you have bursitis. The time it takes to heal the condition varies, but results can often be achieved in 2 to 8 weeks when a proper stretching and strengthening program is implemented. Contact your physical therapist today to help you get on a healing & regenerative program.

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The Risks of Not Treating Bursitis:

If you don’t treat this condition and develop a severe case of bursitis, your doctor may use a needle to remove extra fluid from the bursa. You might wear a pressure bandage on the area. Your doctor may also give you a shot of medicine to reduce swelling. Some people need surgery to drain or remove the bursa. Sometimes the fluid in the bursa can get infected. If this happens, you may need antibiotics.

Preventing Bursitis:

While not all types of bursitis can be prevented, you can reduce your risk and the severity of flare-ups by changing the way you do specific tasks. Examples include:

  • Using kneeling pads. Use some type of padding to reduce the pressure on your knees if your job or hobby requires a lot of kneeling.
  • Lifting properly. Bend your knees when you lift. Failing to do so puts extra stress on the bursae in your hips.
  • Wheeling heavy loads. Carrying heavy loads puts stress on the bursae in your shoulders. Use a dolly or a wheeled cart instead.
  • Taking frequent breaks. Alternate repetitive tasks with rest or other activities.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight places more stress on your joints.
  • Strengthening your muscles can help protect your affected joint.
  • Warming-up and stretching before strenuous activities to protect your joints from injury.


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PT News August 2022

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout August 2022. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

What is Osgood-Schlatters

1. Osgood-Schlatters & Strickland Protocol 

Written by Horizon Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine with 3 locations in South Carolina

Osgood-Schlatters is commonly found in children going through their middle school years. As the child goes through a “growth-spurt”, they may be experiencing pain just below the knee. Their bones are growing faster than their muscles can adapt so the tension on the muscle can often pull at the bone causing pain.  Read more



2. Suffering from Osteoarthritis? Movement is Medicine!

Written by Life Fitness Physical Therapy an outpatient physical therapy practice with locations throughout greater Baltimore.

Okay, so you have OA- now what? The good news is that there are many interventions that can help you manage your OA so that you can live a healthy, pain-free, and active life. One of the most beneficial interventions for osteoarthritis is physical therapy! While we physical therapists cannot wave a magic wand and make your OA disappear (unfortunately!), there are still many different things that we can do to help manage your symptoms. Read more


better understand concussions

3. How to Better Understand Concussions

Written by Sports Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations in Bellevue, Factoria, Kirkland, Everett, and Lake Stevens, WA.

Concussions can and do happen to anyone, so it is crucial to recognize the signs and take proper precautions. In a definition provided by the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move inside the skull. Even a ding, getting your bell rung, or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head is serious.  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News August 2022 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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How to treat and ACL Injury

How to Treat an ACL Injury

How to treat and ACL Injury

As summer concludes, we can see the beginning of fall sports coming around the bend. Football, Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, and Cross Country are fall sports enjoyed by many. If you participate in these sports throughout the fall, work with your athletic trainer and physical therapist to help prevent an ACL tear from occurring. If you do experience an injury, physical therapists are experts on how to treat an ACL injury and can effectively help you get back into your sport.

A tear to the ACL can be one of the most common forms of injury during fall sports. There are approximately 100,000 to 200,000 ACL injuries per year in the United States. This type of injury is common in both professional and recreational athletes across a variety of sports.

What is an ACL?

The ACL is formally known as your Anterior Cruciate Ligament. Ligaments, located throughout the body, are a type of durable, flexible tissue that connects bones and cartilage structures. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, located in the knee, is placed to connect the thigh bone to the shin, which keeps the knee stable as you walk, run, and absorb impact throughout the day. The ACL is at constant work, especially during athletic activities, which is why it is a common injury amongst many athletes.

How do ACL Injuries Happen?

The ACL can withstand and absorb large amounts of impact, and particular stretches and exercises can help the durability of the ACL. However, this does not fully protect you from injury as something can happen during gameplay that can impact the overall health of your ACL.

The ACL can tear from both contact and non-contact movements. Roughly 70% of ACL injuries result from a non-contact motion in which the athlete attempts to change direction, slow down, or land. However, contact injuries result in a direct blow which causes the knee to bend inward or hyperextend.

The following non-contact motions are amongst the most common resulting in ACL injury.

  • A sudden change of direction
  • Pivoting with a foot planted in the ground
  • An awkward landing from a jump
  • Sudden stops

Symptoms & Signs of an ACL Injury

Soreness in the knee after physical activity is not a good indicator and can be a symptom of an ACL injury. More specific points of pain to look out for would be indicators such as:

  • An audible pop sound or feeling in the knee
  • Decrease in range of motion
  • Inability to bear weight on the knee
  • Trouble walking
  • Severe swelling in the knee within a few hours of the initial injury
  • Instability in the knee

If any of these symptoms relate to a knee injury that you are dealing with, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment immediately

What to do if You’ve Suffered an ACL Injury

There are precautions and steps to take to ensure the injury doesn’t progress and that you start a road to recovery that gets you back to 100% so you can continue playing the sport that you love.

First things first, after the impact of the injury, take all bearing weight off the knee. Doing this will help take the tension and pressure off the torn ligament. Using an ace wrap, ice wrap, and a knee immobilizer will also help reduce the swelling and movement of the knee, limiting further damage. Following these steps will help keep you more comfortable until a specialist can reach a diagnosis.

Reminder: Only a medical professional can truly determine the source of your pain. Do not self-diagnose your injury without consulting with a specialist.

How Medical Professionals Determine if You Have an ACL Injury

One of the most common ways a medical professional can determine if you have suffered an injury to your ACL is through the Lachman test. This test induces stress on the ACL. It conducts movement of the shin bone, and the feel of the endpoint (How solid the ligament feels) offers additional information about the condition of the ACL. Knees with a damaged or torn ACL may demonstrate more movement and a less firm endpoint during the Lachman test.

How to Treat an ACL Injury

Treatment to repair a torn ACL is highly individualized. Some patients will have to have their torn ACL repaired through surgery, while others can use non-surgical methods such as physical therapy.  Treating an ACL Injury depends on the severity of the injury, and the performance levels reached prior to the injury.

Post-Surgery Physical Therapy for a Repaired ACL 

Rehabilitation to the knee through physical therapy is crucial in getting you back to 100%. Physical therapy typically starts a few days after surgery and can last up to 3-4 months. There are protocols in physical therapy that allow patients to increase their range of motion, decrease swelling, and regain the strength of the knee. There are fewer complications when the patient participates in the rehabilitation program during physical therapy rather than trying to complete the exercises alone. So, if you’re suffering from an ACL injury, talk to your physical therapist to develop a strategy that is right for you.

Preventative Measures to Take to Keep Your ACL Healthy

There is not one or more given steps that can assure you won’t injure your ACL, but there are preventative measures that an individual can take to strengthen the ligament and help diminish the chance of it happening. These steps include things such as:

  • Get a pre-examination or screening done by a physical therapist or a specialist. Doing this will ensure that you don’t have a pre-existing injury.
  • Practice a good technique. Proper technique can help fend off injuries. Work with your trainer or physical therapist to identify any improper form and correct it.
  • Avoid overworking your body when fatigued. When tired, it is easy to throw proper form and techniques out the window. Stopping your workout before exhaustion sets in helps to prevent injury.
  • Create a balance between strength and flexibility. Core and extremity strength are important. Working on both in moderation is key to avoiding injury.
  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet that provides the proper nutrients to your body. Poor nutrition and dehydration lead to a decrease in strength, endurance, and attention. Keeping a balanced diet and staying hydrated will help improve focus, performance, and strength, reducing the risk of injury.

Physical therapists can help prevent injury but are also experts in how to treat an ACL Injury or tear. For more information about the services provided, please schedule an appointment or reach out to the location nearest you.

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how to run with bad knees

How to Run with Bad Knees: Pain Prevention & Care

how to run with bad knees and running with knee pain; Do your knees hurt after running?

Running With Knee Pain

The biggest fear of every runner is that their joints will start to ache and prevent them from running. You can actually never know when something like knee or ankle pain could occur, but you should know the most common reasons that happen and how to prevent it.

Maybe you had a knee injury when you were younger and it could start showing up again while running. Also, a meniscus tear is another problem that could make your knees ache as well as the jumper’s knee. There are simply many reasons for this pain to show since knees are gentle and the impact of feet to the ground puts too much stress on them. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent this and take proper care of your knees and tendons around them which will enable you to run without any difficulties.

Wear the Right Shoes

Feet are very complex and if you don’t take care of them while running, you will find more problems occurring in them, your knees, and even hips. It is all connected and you have to protect your foot in order to avoid any further aches and problems. Running is a high-impact sport and puts plenty of stress on your feet, ankles, and knees, and wearing proper shoes will help you run easily and reduce any risks of injury and pain.

Your job is to find the right shoes that will provide proper support for your toes, heel, and arch. Also, the sole should be comfortable and thick enough to provide amortization during running. Not only will running become even more fun, but you will manage to save your knees from stress, provide comfort for your feet and avoid and prevent any ankle pain and injuries.

Don’t Skip the Strength Training

Strength training is good for your entire body. Proper strength exercises will make your muscles more strong and more flexible which is an essential part of preventing any pain and injuries. If your lower-body muscles are weak, you should try to make them stronger. You can perform plenty of different exercises, such as lunges and squats and you will manage to make your thighs and knees stronger and more balanced. Also, don’t forget to work on your core and stability, because those will keep your knees and hips protected while running and even help with performance.

Check Your Posture While Running

If you’re experiencing any knee pain during or after your running session, it could be that your technique or posture is off. In the past leaning forward was thought to help, but a recent study by Human Movement Science found just the opposite. Their study found that the impact your body had on the ground increased significantly when runners leaned too far forward. If you’re unsure of how your running posture is affecting your body, ask your physical therapist for a gait analysis.

Don’t Overtrain

It is essential to know your body, listen to it, and know when it’s tired. Too much intense training will only bring negative effects and increase the risks of injuries and pain. If you’re already experiencing knee pain, think about how much you’ve run in the last couple of days and see if that was maybe too much for your body. Your body needs proper rest in order to stay healthy, injury-free, and make progress. If you run one day, make sure to rest the next day, or adjust the amount of time you spend running in one take. Take care of your body, let it rest, and you will reach your goals fast and avoid pain.

Knees are delicate. No joint in your body will give in eventually if you’re putting too much stress on it every day. So, make sure your running technique is right, invest in proper shoes, and take it easy. You will be able to run faster and longer if you gradually increase the intensity.

If you are looking for help with your knee pain or would simply like to improve your running posture please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local physical therapist. Many clinics have running programs that are designed specifically to help keep people on the pavement pain-free!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News April 2021

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout April 2021. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy-based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Physical Therapy Can Relieve Your Arthritis Pain in These 4 Ways

Written by Cornerstone Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout Ohio.

Physical therapy is one of the highest-rated treatments for arthritis pain. While so many people think of physical therapy as a treatment for following an injury or after a devastating health condition like a heart attack or stroke, utilizing physical therapy for arthritis pain is both highly effective and recommended.  Read more


2. What is Proprioception Injury Prevention?

Written by O.S.R. Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy practice with 4 locations in Minneapolis. 

Proprioception injury prevention is simply using your body’s sense of orientation to prevent an injury. Thinking about how you’re moving, what’s around you, and your position can help you stay clear of acute injuries. Acute sports injuries are some of the most painful injuries for an athlete. An injury is physically painful. But, it can also be emotionally painful as you’re sidelined for days and even months until you recover.  Read more


ACL Soccer Knee

3. Second ACL Tear 7 Times More Likely in Young Athletes

Written by Custom Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with 3 locations near Reno, NV.

If you return to knee-strenuous sporting activities (e.g. soccer, volleyball) within 9 months of your ACL reconstruction and you are 25 years old or younger, you are 7 times more likely to sustain a second ACL tear! Those who returned to their sport 12 months after surgery fared substantially better.  Read more

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the PT News April 2021 edition.

Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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PT News PTandMe

PT News January 2021

PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout December 2020 and January 2021. We are excited to bring you current physical therapy based posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Shoulder Pain Treatment

Written by Riverview Physical Therapy with multiple locations throughout Southern Maine.

If you are looking for shoulder pain treatment in Southern Maine, the information below will help you make a better decision as well as help you avoid unnecessary and expensive healthcare treatment. There are seven common diagnoses that cause shoulder pain and usually respond very well to physical therapist directed treatment. These diagnoses are:  Read more


Snow Shoveling

2. Prevent Low Back Pain While Shoveling Snow

Written by Rehab Associates of Central VA, an outpatient physical therapy practice with multiple locations throughout VA. 

As I was shoveling the snow off my driveway this week, I quickly realized that I needed to adjust my technique or I was going to pay for it later. Injury can result from repetitive movements with a general lack of awareness and variability in movement and may be prevented with some easy steps.  Read more


3. FAQ About 3 of the Most Common Knee Conditions

Written by Evergreen Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with locations throughout MI.

The knee is the largest and one of the most complex joints in the body. It primarily joins the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia), but also includes the kneecap (patella) and fibula in the lower leg. These bones and the muscles that surround them are connected through a series of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage (menisci) which collectively stabilize the knee and allow it to bend, twist, and rotate…  Read more


Find these locations and others to start feeling better today!

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winter injuries

Winter Is A Great Time To Take Care Of Injuries

winter injuries

As Mother Nature keeps bringing on the winter wind, now is the time to think about spring and summer!   Waiting to take care of these injuries when the first fair day arrives can be too late. No one wants to lose weeks to months of fun in the sun because of a lengthy rehabilitation. By taking care of these injuries now, you can have plenty of time to enjoy your favorite activities in the best kind of weather.

From picking up leaves in the fall to shoveling snow, low back injuries are common this time of year. While a simple backache may dissipate in a day or two after shoveling out after a winter storm, if it lingers longer than a week, chances are it’s not going away on its own. Waiting until the first round of golf to find out that you can’t complete the backswing due to low back pain not only severely hinders the golf game, but can also severely hinder the recovery. The more chronic the pain is, the longer it takes to eliminate the pain once treatment is started. Pain management becomes more complex; muscle strength atrophies; and bad spinal mechanics become a difficult habit to break. Fortunately, from a simple muscle strain to a herniated disc, all low back injuries have the opportunity to be conservatively managed quickly if treatment is sought out quickly.

Fear of slipping and falling is often the biggest rationale people wait to have their much-needed joint replacement surgeries. While a legitimate concern, the process of recovery and length of time for recovery is often overlooked by patients. For a typical total hip replacement, it can take 12 weeks or more to feel “normal” again. For a total knee replacement, that timeline can extend to six months. By waiting until spring to have the surgery, patients forego their fun-in-the-sun for recovery and rehabilitation. However, if that same surgery were elected to be performed in the late fall or winter, then plenty of warm weather is still left in the year to enjoy the capabilities of the new joint. To address the fear of falling, simple precautions can easily be taken to minimize the risk of slip and fall in the snow following the surgery. As an added benefit, patients in the winter often experience less swelling than those in the summer, as a result of the reduced humidity.

Similar to joint replacement surgery, shoulder surgeries are often avoided in the winter due to the fear of falling. However, again, similar to joint replacement surgeries, the length of time for recovery from this surgery is grossly underestimated. Returning to swing a golf club, throwing a ball, or even swimming laps in a pool will take a
minimum of 12 weeks of physical therapy. While a neighborhood teenager may need to be hired to shovel the snow, the winter hibernation season is an idea for resting and mending from a rotator cuff repair surgery. After completing a comprehensive rehabilitation program with your physical therapist, you will be ready to tee off with your regular golf league and enjoy your planned summer vacation without restrictions.

Winter is not only the time to remedy nagging injuries, but it’s the perfect time to prepare for the athletic season ahead. Whether you are a runner, a golfer, or an over-40 league softball player, preparing for the upcoming outdoor activities can help prevent future nagging injuries. The “off-season” is the best time to undergo performance and biomechanical evaluations with a physical therapist trained in motion analysis. From this evaluation, deficiencies can be addressed and a plan for improvement implemented. Furthermore, winter is a perfect time to re-strengthen after the holidays and to condition yourself into the shape you need to be in in order to enjoy those outdoor activities and minimize the concern for strains and sprains. In just a few simple visits to physical therapy, conditioning tips and technique changes can help make the warm weather even more rewarding and enjoyable.

The winter is long and it would be unfortunate to miss enjoying any of the warm, sunny weather heading our way in a few months. Addressing lingering winter injuries now will help ensure a fun spring and summer without restrictions. Always discuss your medical options with your doctor first. Then, call your physical therapist to help accelerate your recovery and be a picture of health.

Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain

Can Knee Pain Cause Low Back Pain?

Can Knee Pain Cause lower Back Pain; Lower Back and Knee Pain. Can knee pain cause back pain? Can a bad knee cause back pain?

Knee osteoarthritis remains a significant problem among US adults 60 years and older. A recent study suggests knee arthritis rates are as high as 37 % with women showing higher rates vs men (42% vs 31%) and higher rates among those with significant weight problems.

As a result, many of these patients opt for a total knee replacement. However, patients often suffer from pain and have difficulty walking for many years before deciding to proceed with such surgery. Living with pain for an extended period typically causes changes in how a patient walks in an attempt to relieve the pain associated with knee arthritis. Sometimes this is even done subconsciously, but it can lead to additional problems, such as low back pain (LBP). An example of how knee pain can cause low back pain would be a knee flexed position that leads to a patient leaning forward when walking. This changes at the pelvis and contributes to low back pain.

Physical Therapy Can Help Your Low Back and Knee Pain

When a patient seeks help from a physician complaining of low back pain, they are commonly referred to a physical therapist for treatment. In treating these patients, physical therapists will provide a complete and individualized assessment of the causes of low back pain, which may include a thorough biomechanical evaluation and gait assessment. Patients that go to physical therapy with knee arthritis/osteoarthritis have likely developed a permanent knee bent posture (osteoarthritis patients almost always keep their knee bent at 10 degrees or more to relieve pressure or to prevent the sheering force on the knee).

Even though back pain and knee arthritis are significant problems there is a solution. Through aggressive physical therapy that is aimed at restoring normal gait patterns, spinal mobility, and conditioning, patients have had significant relief of back pain and are prepared for successful rehabilitation following a total knee replacement. By eliminating the knee bent position before surgery and normalizing gait patterns patients can exercise more effectively, improve cardiovascular conditioning and reduce the energy cost associated with changes in how they walk all while reducing back pain.

If you believe your knee pain is causing your back pain, you may benefit from physical therapy.  Through years of experience, we have seen that comprehensive manual therapy, aimed at restoring normal walking patterns in low back pain patients considering a total knee replacement, can result in a significantly easier recovery of normal function during post-operative rehab.

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Provided by the therapists at Life Fitness Physical Therapy – MD

Safely get in and out of a chair after surgery

How To Safely Get In and Out of a Chair After Surgery

Safely get in and out of a chair after surgery

After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this article, we want to focus on how you can safely get in and out of a chair after surgery. 

One of the easiest things you can do is to choose to sit in chairs that are at an appropriate height for you. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground and your hips should NOT be lower than your knees. Avoid low chairs and overstuffed sofas and couches as much as possible. The ultimate goal is to be able to go from sitting to standing, vice-versa with even weight distribution on both legs.

How to sit down in a chair after surgery

  • Back up with your walker until you feel the chair with your legs
  • Slide your surgical leg forward. Reach back for the arm-rests one hand at a time.
  • Lower yourself using your arms and your nonsurgical leg.
  • Scoot back into the chair using your arms to assist.

how to safely sit in a chair after surgery

How to get up from a chair after surgery

  • Avoid low chairs and chairs without armrests in your immediate post-operative phase.
  • Scoot to the edge of the chair keeping your surgical leg in front of you.
  • Push up using your arms and nonsurgical leg until you are standing. Do not pull up using the walker.
  • Reach out and take hold of your walker.
  • Make sure your balance is secure before you take your first step.

how to get up from a chair after surgery

Whether you are working to safely get in and out of a chair after surgery, make sure you DO NOT pull up from the walker or sit down holding onto the walker.

The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.

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More reading on total hip or knee joint replacement recovery:

manage movement after a hip or knee replacement


manage movement after a hip or knee replacement

How to Manage Movement after a Total Hip or Knee Replacement

How to manage movement after a total hip or knee replacement; hip replacement physical therapy.


After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this upcoming series of blog posts, we will be showing you how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement. We would like to begin by preparing your home before you go into surgery. We call it our pre-op prep!

Simple things you can do to make your home safer and more comfortable as you heal from a joint replacement. 

  • Keep a cordless phone near you or carry your cell phone in your pocket.
  • Move furniture to keep a clear wide path to your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
  • Remove throw rugs that may cause you to slip or trip. Tape down any loose edges of large area rugs that cannot be removed. Make sure extension cords are out of traffic areas or tape them down if needed.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping.
  • Keep commonly used items in your home at waist level within easy reach. This will prevent you from bending over to reach items. Use a reacher to grab objects and avoid excessive bending at the hip.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting in the house. Add night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
  • It may be helpful to have a temporary living space on the same floor if your bedroom/bathroom is located on the second floor of your home. Walking up/downstairs will be more difficult immediately following surgery and could increase your risk of falls.
  • Arrange for someone to collect your mail and take care of pets or loved ones if necessary.
  • Prepare frozen meals in advance to assist you with cooking.
  • Stock up on groceries, toiletries, and any medications you might need.
  • Purchase a shower chair or a tub bench will make bathing much easier. Do not take soak baths until your physician allows you to do so.
  • Install an elevated toilet seat. This will be helpful with toilet transfers and with following post-surgical precautions or guidelines.
  • Purchase assistive devices for dressing such as a reacher, extended shoehorn and/or sock aid may be necessary during your post-operative recovery.

After surgery, your health care provider will show you how to use a walker. Use your walker for as long as directed by your surgeon. This is important since the walker relieves some of the weight off of the leg and can protect it, even when just taking a few short steps.

Steps to take while using your walker on a level surface

  1. Advance the walker
  2. Step up to the walker with your surgical leg
  3. Next, step forward with your nonsurgical leg
  4. Make sure all four legs of the walker are in firm contact with the floor or ground.

using a walker on a level surface

How to use your walker while going upstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step up with your nonsurgical leg.
  • Follow with your surgical leg to the same step.

how to go upstairs with a walker

How to use your walker while going downstairs

  • Place your walker sideways with the opening toward you.
  • Firmly grasp the stair rail with one hand and the walker with your other hand.
  • The walker’s legs should be against the stair riser with all four legs in contact with the stairs. (2 legs on the top step, 2 legs on the lower step)
  • Step down with your surgical leg. Follow with your nonsurgical leg to the same step.

how to use a walked going downstairs

The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.

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