What is prehabilitation and how can it help my recovery?

Posted: Mar 15 2022

What is prehabilitation?

If you have joint surgery scheduled or on the horizon, you may think that all of the hard work for recovery will take place after surgery.

Recovery from a joint replacement actually starts well before the surgery itself. Ask your doctor about seeing a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for some ‘prehabilitation’.

Prehabilitation involves a tailored exercise program before your hospital admission to help improve outcomes after surgery.

“Muscles can waste a bit around arthritic joints, and then the surgery can make for some further temporary weakness on top of that,” says Dr Rob Wallace, Orthopaedic Surgeon at sportsmed. “Prehab is about trying to restore some of the strength to the de-conditioned muscles around your joint, to help make the rehabilitation process a bit easier.”

Combined with effective rehabilitation, prehabilitation can help to improve outcomes and reduce the likelihood of hospital re-admission.

Read more about preparing for joint replacement surgery >

What else is involved?

Prehabilitiation may also involve strengthening core and upper body muscles as much as possible, both of which “are relied upon heavily after the surgery", explains George, physiotherapist from Your Health Navigator.

For Health Partners member Janice, after sessions with George, she was able to continue with the prehabilitation exercises at home with guidance from an instructional app accessible from her iPad as well as telehealth consultations. This took place in the lead-up to her knee replacement surgery, as part of Health Partners Rehabilitation at Home Program.

“Going through a prehabilitation program, we will visit someone and set them up so that when they finally do have their surgery, they’re in a better place for recovery.” says George.

How Health Partners can help

Contact us to find out whether Prehabilitation and Rehab at Home is included in your hospital cover. Provided that you are also clinically eligible, Health Partners can help to facilitate referral into the program through our partner Your Health Navigator.

Find out more about our health support programs.

Going to Hospital? We can help you navigate what you need to know and do before, during and after hospital.

Find out more

Posted: Mar 15 2022


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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