When fully recovered, most patients can expect to return to work — unless your type of work is not advisable for people with artificial joints. Examples of these include construction work, certain types of carpentry, and occupations that involve repeated high climbing or lifting. You should discuss your situation with your doctor.
You may also be advised to avoid certain activities, including some athletics, as they may place excessive stress your new joint. Examples of these activities include:
- Skiing (snow or water)
- Contact sports
- Distance running
- Frequent jumping
- Any activity involving lifting or pushing heavy objects
- Any activity that places excessive stress on your shoulder joint
- Hammering and other forceful arm/shoulder movements
- Boxing and other arm/shoulder impact sports
After Joint Replacement, a Good Rule of Thumb is that Acceptable Physical Activities Should:
- Not cause pain, including pain felt later
- Not jar the joint
- Not place the joint in the extremes of its range of motion
- Be pleasurable
The success of your joint replacement will strongly depend on how well you follow your orthopaedic surgeon’s instructions. As time passes, you will potentially experience a dramatic reduction in joint pain and a significant improvement in your ability to participate in daily activities. Remember, however, that joint replacement surgery will not allow you to do more than you could before you developed your joint problems.
It’s important to have realistic expectations. For example, artificial joints have limitations:
- Excessive joint “loading” because of the patient being overweight or strenuous activity, such as running and hiking, may injure the artificial joint.
- The artificial joint will not restore function to the same level as normal, healthy bone.
- The life span of the artificial joint is not infinite. It cannot be expected to equal that of normal, healthy bone.
- Adverse effects may result in a need for additional surgery, including revision or removal of the artificial joint.