Sanford Health’s total joint replacement programs specialize in hip, shoulder, and knee replacement surgery. The organization performs more than 2,000 joint replacements each year.
“Just seeing the changes that we can make, even on a daily basis is really huge for what drives my passion,” said Katie Heynen, orthopedics nurse program specialist. “We hear a lot of times the patient says I wish I would have done this earlier or I can’t believe how much this has helped me.”
Heynen said while joint replacements are still big procedures, they have changed greatly over recent years. A typical hospital stay is now just one or two days, compared to a week not that long ago.
“If it is getting to the point where it’s changing your day-to-day, then there should be something done about it,” she said.
Shannen Scheafer, a senior physical therapist at Sanford USD Medical Center, adds that therapists work with patients to prepare them to return home. That includes getting ready to climb stairs. However, it often starts with a simple walk and exercise in the patient’s room just a few hours following the surgery.
“Walking is probably one of the biggest and most important things that you can do,” said Schaefer. “Even once you return home, we say to get up and walk on the hour, every hour. You’ll have less stiffness or soreness if you just keep moving.”
You can learn more about managing joint pain and possible treatments in this podcast edition of “A Better You,” which airs Saturday on KSOO-AM.
Sanford Health is one of the largest health care systems in the nation, with 44 hospitals and nearly 300 clinics in nine states and four countries.