Rehabilitation After Hip Replacement Surgery

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Rehabilitation After Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery is a major surgery performed inside of a hospital. It requires significant recovery, rehabilitation, and wound healing. It also carries intrinsic risk of infection and complications from anesthesia.

The goal of a total hip replacement surgery is to replace the ball joint, where pain is occuring because of chondromalacia. Chondromalacia is an osteoarthritic condition where the hard cartilage offering a protective coating for the bones in the joint wears down, leaving thin areas or “potholes” in the coating. Because your bones are alive and have nerve endings that can feel pain, when you put pressure on these potholes, it hurts. The pain actually releases inflammatory proteins that perpetuates more inflammation and swelling, which cause more pressure and more pain, and on and on the cycle continues. A hip replacement solves this problem by cutting out the nerve endings by removing the joint completely, but at a cost. There are risks involved, that is why it is done in a hospital and pain-free motion is not guaranteed. What’s more, hip replacement surgery is disruptive to your lifestyle. Recovery is longer than most patients realize.

Here’s why – one of the most important parts of hip replacement surgery is rehab. You need to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the hip joint so that you regain proper motion and the right amount of strength. Then you can resume your natural gait (how you walk), because this will affect your back, your knees, your hip, and everything else. This rehabilitation process can take six months or more. Unfortunately, a significant number of people who undergo hip replacement end up with chronic pain for the rest of their lives even if the surgery goes well. Once you have a hip replacement, your range of motion is restricted from certain movements in order to protect the mechanical implant. You should be aware of this, especially if your surgeon doesn’t give you all of the details prior to you having the surgery.

Here at AROmotion, we offer minimally invasive alternatives to total hip replacement surgery, alternatives that allow you to keep your natural joint and that will get you up and moving without pain within a day or two. These require very little downtime as far as recovery. We have helped thousands of patients suffering from joint pain to avoid replacement surgery by combining the technologies of radiofrequency neurotomy , orthobiologics, and physical reconditioning to stop the pain, promote healing, and restore pain-free motion.

To schedule a consultation and find out if you are a candidate for any of our minimally invasive procedures or treatments, contact us today or visit

What Should You Expect After Having A Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

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What Should You Expect After Having A Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

Total knee replacement is a hospital-based surgery. Essentially, what the surgeons are doing is opening up your whole joint (requiring about a ten inch incision), flipping over your kneecap, and cutting out both ends of the bone. This is where the hyaline cartilage has been compromised from chondromalacia, which are little worn out or divot potholes. Think of cavities in a tooth enamel. The nerve endings exposed from the cavity hurt!

Knee replacement surgery is similar to a dental cap or crown procedure, where the surgeon is cuts and grinds down the ends of your bones to create a “post” and then fasten the titanium implant like a cap or crown. Then they flip the knee back over, staple the incision, and voila! Your surgery is done.

It’s not quite that simple – obviously that is a summary, as this takes a few hours and requires a certain level of expertise by the surgeon when it comes to choosing the right implant, etc. Of course, this is done in a hospital because this is a large surgery. There are risks associated with anesthesia, infection, and more. After the surgery, you have to undergo rehab therapy. There’s incisional healing; the wound has to heal. The tissue inside the joint that has been cut and replaced has to heal. The muscles and ligaments will need to heal, and time is depending on how fit or how weak you were prior to having this knee replacement.

The goal of the surgery is to replace the hinge of the joint, by removing the ends of the bone where the nerve endings have been compromised. Everything else that might be causing you pain (the weakness in your quadricep muscles or your hamstrings or the different muscles that help you move your knee around) isn’t just going to magically disappear. You have to work hard at rehabilitating and strengthening those muscles. And it takes hard work and a lot of time to make sure that the implant bends close to 90 degrees and straightens completely. Most of the orthopedic studies that look at function and pain improvement after replacement surgery will wait six months to determine what someone’s new baseline pain and function is going to be. Sadly, a significant percentage of people who have this surgery, even if everything goes perfectly, end up with chronic pain that requires interventional and non-interventional pain management for the life of that joint.

But a total knee replacement isn’t your only option. If there is pain and you are walking with no or minimal assistance then it is likely that your joint is still in good mechanical condition. Chondromalacia – the thinning of the hard cartilage protecting the bones in the knee joint. The unprotected sensory nerve endings are the reason for your knee pain. When this hard cartilage wears down, the nerve endings in your bone are exposed, and it hurts when you walk or put pressure on them. This pain fuels the arthritis inflammation by releasing inflammatory proteins, sort of how heat fuels a hurricane. Without this heat the hurricane dissipates. This is why there are not hurricanes in the winter months. Because your knee is an encapsulated joint (a closed space), the more inflamed the joint gets, the more pressure is put inside of the joint, further compressing the sensory nerve endings causing more pain, which leads to more inflammation. It’s a vicious cycle. However, cutting out the bones to remove these nerve endings entirely is an extreme solution. If you can find a way to turn off the pain, you can stop the osteoarthritis cycle and heal the joint.

That’s what AROmotion is – a FDA approved microprocedure that combines the technologies of radiofrequency neurotomy, orthobiologics, and physical reconditioning to stop the pain, promote healing, and restore your motion. Our minimally invasive procedures can help you avoid a large joint replacement surgery if you are a candidate. To learn more about our treatments and what we do here at AROmotion, and to discover whether you qualify for our procedures, contact us to schedule a consultation or visit

Why Would You Need A Hip Replacement Surgery?

Young woman with lower back pain

Why Would You Need A Hip Replacement Surgery?

Total hip replacement surgery is a major operation, though it can be a very good operation if performed appropriately. What causes you to have enough pain in your hip that you would undergo this invasive, inpatient surgery, and are there any other options?

People enjoy running, walking, and participating in daily activities. At some point, your hip – which is a ball and socket joint with a hard, Teflon-like cartilage coating – wears down over time. If you experience injuries, like a fall or an accident or a sports injury, you can wear down that hard cartilage that’s protecting the ball and socket. This can lead to the formation of little potholes (divots or worn spots in the cartilage).

Why is that important? Because this hyaline cartilage is like Teflon, protecting the bone underneath. Bones are alive; they have nerve endings and blood vessels. When you don’t have protection over those nerve endings, and you put pressure on them, it hurts.

So when your orthopedic doctor views your X-rays and tells you that you have narrowing on one side of your hip joint, and that you are “bone on bone” or “almost bone on bone”, what they are really implying is that you’ve worn out some of that hard, Teflon-like cartilage. You have an area of thinning on that X-ray that’s suggestive of exposed nerve endings.

The only surgical solution to this problem known as chondromalaica is to cut out the joint and remove the nerve endings. That’s what hip replacement surgery accomplishes. It removes your entire natural joint and replaces it with a mechanical implant. It sounds like a big surgery for a very simple problem because it is! Surgery at any hospital has intrinsic risks associated with it. Note that a hip replacement doesn’t last forever. It’s not a bionic hip; you’re not going to be running at 50 miles per hour. It lasts about 10 – 15 years, per the package inserts from the people that make these implants. Are there any alternatives?

The answer is that it depends on what your hip joint looks like.

The hyaline cartilage, the Teflon coating, is the same material you see on the end of a chicken bone. When you eat chicken, that hard, white, rubbery cartilage that’s on the tip of a chicken bone? That’s hyaline cartilage. If you’re experiencing “bone on bone” hip pain, what you’ve done, over time, is worn out low areas or little potholes in your chicken bone cartilage. And then the nerve endings underneath don’t have protection, so when you put pressure on the joint through movement, it hurts. The medical term for this condition is chondromalacia. If it’s painful or bothersome to walk, you may change how you walk by limping, shifting a little to the left, etc. You may have a hard time getting out of the car. Your activity depends on the torquing and the pressure put on that low area.

Steroids and anti-inflammatory medicines are ways of reducing the swelling and inflammation inside of the joint. What most patients don’t realize is that the pain they’re feeling in their hip is a symptom of chondromalacia, yes, but it is more than a symptom.The pain is actually perpetuating the inflammation by releasing inflammatory proteins inside of the joint. The nerve endings are stimulating more inflammation because your body is trying to create a fluid cushion, so you don’t keep hitting that pothole.

Your hip is an encapsulated joint (a capsule surrounds it; it is an enclosed space). So as that fluid becomes more and more full, the space becomes tighter, the pressure becomes greater, and the pressure will press on the nerve endings, which stimulates more inflammation. It is a feedback loop that goes on for years. You’ll end up with chronic arthritic pain, stiffness, and change in your mobility, all because your muscles are adapting and shifting to try to protect you from hitting that pothole.

Think of it like you think of major hurricanes. The worse the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico – the warmer the air and the water are – the larger and more violent the storm typically is. There are no hurricanes in January, because the air and water are cold. The conditions aren’t right. When you remove the heat, the storm dissipates. Arthritic inflammation is like that. Nerve pain is like the “heat” and makes the inflammation worse, which in turn destroys more cartilage. The more pain, the worse the conditions for this perfect storm. When you ease the pain, you ease the inflammation, which decreases the visible swelling and associated stiffness.

When you undergo hip replacement surgery, you’re essentially removing the whole joint and replacing it with an implant. And voila! The nerve endings are gone. The pain is gone, and so is the inflammation…and so is the entire joint! That’s how joint replacement treats hip pain for chondromalacia.

But if the ball joint is still mostly intact and has a round shape – if it’s still functioning with just a bit of narrowing – that’s a really big surgery just for joint pain. Ironically, hip replacement surgery is positioned as a very simple solution to your problem. Remember, it is a big surgery that is hospital-based, takes a few hours, and requires six to twelve weeks of rehab afterwards. Obviously, though, there are risks of infection or other complications because of anesthesia.

If your joint is normal in appearance, though, you need to call us. AROmotion performs other, minimally invasive procedures that can help solve chondromalacia nerve pain and inflammation in your joint. Our alternatives to hip replacement allow you to keep your natural joint rather than having it cut out and replaced.

Interested? Call us for a free MRI review or visit to learn more.

Why Do People Have Knee Replacement Surgery?

Man running with knee pain

The first and most important thing to understand is that when possible a physician’s goal should always be to preserve and heal your natural joint. Knee replacement surgery is not able to accomplish that, and therefore should always be considered as a last resort (for reasons that we’ll explain later in this blog post).

The main reason someone has knee replacement surgery in the U.S. is to solve knee pain. Typically, knee pain is caused by something called “chondromalacia”. Chondromalacia is a medical diagnosis term used to describe the erosion of the hard cartilage that coats the surface of the bones making up the joint. This cartilage, which is made out of the same material you see on the end of a chicken bone, serves to protect the nerve endings and blood vessels that live inside of the bone underneath this hard, “Teflon like” coating.

When you have chondromalacia, it indicates that you have basically worn out parts of this hard cartilage, and the nerve endings are less protected or even exposed. Using your joint puts pressure on these nerve endings and results in pain, which in turn causes swelling and inflammation inside of the joint. This creates tightness and more pressure, causing even more pain….and this cycle or feedback loop is what we commonly refer to as “osteoarthritis”. Your knee joint is an encapsulated joint, so it actually becomes more and more tense as swelling and inflammation increases, and that puts more pressure on the nerve endings as well. This is a cycle that keeps going on and on for months and years, and pain is the driver – it’s not just a symptom, it is actually the underlying cause perpetuating the destructive “arthritis” inside of your joint.

Treatments for knee pain have included anti-inflammatory medication like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Cortisone steroid shots, and maybe even hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation, but these solutions are band aids designed to treat the symptoms rather than break the underlying cycle of pain and inflammation.

The orthopedic solution to this problem is to remove and replace the joint. Total knee replacement surgery is essentially cutting out both ends of the bone and replacing or “capping” them with a titanium and Teflon hinge. That sounds like a really big jump, and it’s something that happens a lot in medicine. However, it’s really the only surgical option to treat it. Think about it…if you have a painful cavity in your tooth, you will likely be offered a filling or maybe a root canal. Grinding the tooth down to a post and placing a cap or crown is only used as a last resort if the tooth is beyond repair. Well, that’s essentially what joint replacement is – grinding the ends off of the bones, thus removing the painful nerve endings and creating a post, then gluing an implant like a dental cap or crown to reconstruct the joint.

Here’s why that is the only available surgical option: as you wear out little potholes in the hard and protective hyaline cartilage (the areas of thin cartilage) and put pressure on those nerve endings beneath, it hurts! Surgically, we have two tools we can use to resolve joint pain; 1) arthroscopy and 2) total joint replacement. An arthroscope is a cutting/grinding instrument. If you have a symptomatic torn meniscus, and the meniscus tear is flapping around and getting stuck like a rock in your shoe, it hurts. An orthopedic surgeon will use arthroscopy to trim away the tear. The way surgeons repair a symptomatic meniscus tear is by cutting out the piece that’s flip-flopping and getting stuck. If you have potholes, or worn out areas of the hard hyaline cartilage coating the surfaces of the bone in the joint, an arthroscopy won’t work. It’s a cutting/grinding instrument that cannot address the potholes. So there’s nothing you can do arthroscopically to treat chondromalacia, or potholes in this hard Teflon cartilage.

However, when total joint replacement is performed, the whole joint is cut out, removing the ends where the hyaline cartilage is and where the nerve endings live. So if your knee hurts, the only solution to fix your “knee pain”, in an orthopedic surgeon’s office, is to remove those nerve endings surgically and then place a new implant or “cap” on top so your joint can function.

Total joint replacement is a drastic solution, a major surgery to treat knee pain, and that’s why good orthopedic surgeons always attempt all other less invasive options first. However, once you have that surgery, your knee anatomy will be permanently changed. You’re going to have a mechanical implant sitting on top of the post created by grinding down the ends of the bone for a knee joint. If all goes well and you follow the restrictions published by the implant manufacturer, it should last 10-15 years. Remember, per the implant manufacturer, there are many restrictions on activities and how you can function with that joint: twisting, torquing, tennis (you’re not supposed to play tennis if you have knee replacement surgery) – and more!

There are other nonsurgical options, though. If for the most part you are suffering from knee pain and stiffness, then it is likely that your joint is mechanically functioning and chondromalacia is the only thing causing your knee pain. When that is the case, a total joint replacement is unnecessary; the good news is that you don’t have to cut out your joint and replace it with an implant! AROmotion is an FDA approved microprocedure that breaks the cycle of osteoarthritis by “turning off” the nerve pain. This helps normalize the environment inside of the joint capsule so you can begin healing.

When you come in for a consultation, you will see one of our Board Certified Physical Medical Doctors who will discuss this FDA approved microprocedure designed to mitigate the pain and break the cycle of arthritis. They will also review the different types of orthobiologics that can be used to augment this natural healing process.

After the AROmotion microprocedure, one of our Board Certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctors will prescribe and supervise your customized reconditioning program, so that the muscles and ligaments which move the joint return to proper form and function.

Contact us today for a free consultation or visit our website, , to learn more!