Healthwise: Joint Replacement Classes

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

April 7, 2010

Look outside on a Spring day and you'll likely see people strolling the streets. However, taking a simple step is not so easy for people crippled by arthritis.

"Typically as Arthritis progresses, patients have pain at rest, pain that limits their activities that they want to do. Even walking to the mailbox could be a problem," said Angie Honeycutt, who teaches a class on arthritis at Martha Jefferson.

Martha Jefferson offers two sets of classes for people suffering through aches and pains. One is a seminar focusing on arthritis, while the other is geared toward patients who know they need a joint replacement.

Honeycutt uses specific models in her class to show patients what to expect from the surgery.

"If they know there is going to be pain involved and they know how we're going to manage their pain - through various medications and modalities - patients seem to do better. They are more prepared and know what to expect and anticipate," said Honeycutt.

In the sessions, Honeycutt talks about how to prep for surgery, what happens in the hospital and the weeks of recovery that follow.

"It's not like you come in, you have surgery and you're all better. You really have to work at it," said Honeycutt.

There are several changes that come with joint replacement surgery that many people simply don't think about before the class.

"Patients don't realize that you are really going to be using your arms to push up out of the chair, because with a hip or a knee replacement, you just don't have the muscle strength to do that," said Honeycutt.

Other issues addressed in the class include talks about insurance coverage, strengthening the areas after surgery and mobility.

"When patients leave, they usually use a walker, and when they are using a walker when they go home, they're not able to do a lot of things they may have before surgery," said Honeycutt.

Honeycutt gives patients the pieces they need to follow through with their pain management, so they can take steps to enjoying a more comfortable life and a simple walk in the park on a nice Spring day.

For a complete list and schedule of joint replacement classes at Martha Jefferson Hospital, Click Here.

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