Physical Therapy BEFORE Total Hip or Knee Replacement Improves Your Recovery

Preparing for total hip or knee replacement is much like training to run a marathon. It is important to prepare your muscles and body for the recovery and the physical therapy afterward. This is known as Prehab (preoperative rehabilitation), which are pre-operative physical therapy and exercises prior to surgery. The focus of these exercises is aerobic, stretching, and strength. In this post, we discuss our top exercises for each group that will get you ready for surgery!

Aerobic Exercises

Many aerobic exercises can be difficult due to hip or knee joint arthritis and pain. There are several aerobic exercises that do offload the joints and can help prepare your cardiovascular system and leg muscles for surgery such as stationary biking, elliptical, walking, swimming, and water aerobics.


Stretching is an important part of your hip and knee health. While arthritic joints cause limited motion, maximizing the motion you do have before surgery can make the world of difference in your recovery. Many of these exercises you will also utilize after surgery so being familiar with these exercises is an added plus.


Optimizing your core strength and quadricep strength prior to hip or knee surgery can improve your recovery and range of motion.

Dr. Eric Cohen

Eric M. Cohen, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in total hip and knee replacements at University Orthopedics. His focus is on minimally invasive total hip and knee replacement and rapid recovery after total joint replacements. He performs direct anterior total hip replacement, partial knee replacement, total knee replacement and complex revision surgeries. Dr. Cohen is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons and the Orthopedic Research Society. His research interests include rapid recovery after joint replacement and modifiable risk factors prior to joint replacement.