Arthritis & Joint Replacements

Hip & Knee Classes

Have you had a hip or knee replacement? Are you waiting for a hip or knee replacement? 

If you answered YES, we can help.

In addition to one-on-one sessions with a physiotherapist, River East Physiotherapy offers hip & knee group exercise classes for people who:

  • Have recently had hip or knee replacement surgery; or
  • Are preparing for hip or knee replacement surgery.

Our classes may also be appropriate for people dealing with knee ligament (ACL, MCL, LCL) or meniscus injuries and surgery - speak to your physiotherapist about whether classes may be right for you.

All our classes are led by a registered physiotherapist.

How Group Classes Can Help You

Our classes:

  • Are fun - you can socialize with others who have had joint surgery, and enjoy the company of our high energy staff.
  • Get you access to professional rehabilitation and cardiovascular equipment
  • Help you do your exercises correctly, so you build strength and flexibility faster
  • Help you stay motivated, with a physiotherapist instructor in a safe environment
  • Help you move more confidently, such as by improving your balance, coordination and walking
  • Help you reduce your swelling, reduce your pain, and improve how your scar tissue moves
  • Are less expensive than one-to-one physiotherapy sessions
  • Are subsidized by the Manitoba government (read more about that here)

Physiotherapist Johanna Nicholson and her assistant make hip & knee classes fun

Exercise and Osteoarthritis

Exercise is a safe and effective way to manage pain related to osteoarthritis. Regular moderate exercise can reduce your pain, improve your physical function and slow the progression of joint degeneration.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell how much exercise you need.  For example, is it okay to walk, bike or run if it hurts your knee? 

You and your physiotherapist will create an individualized treatment plan, that will give you the answers and guidance you crave.  All treatment plans are tailored specifically to help each client reach their goals.

Exercise and Surgery

A guided exercise program lead by a physiotherapist can help you to improve your mobility and maximize your strength. Group exercise classes are an excellent way to prepare for surgery, facilitate recovery, and get you back to your previous fitness level.

Your physiotherapist will be there to guide you (and challenge you!) every step of the way.

Group Classes and Infection Prevention

We still care about preventing transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious conditions.  At River East Physiotherapy, group class participation is limited so all participants are able to physically distance from each other for the entire class, if they'd like.  We also sanitize all equipment before and after use.  

Read more here about all the precautions our clinic takes to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.  

When and Where

Hip & Knee classes are offered at our Henderson Highway location: 

  • Wednesdays at 11:10 am
  • Fridays at 1:50 pm.  

You can attend one or two classes a week, depending on what you and your physiotherapist agree is right for you.  

What to Wear

Like every physiotherapy session, we advise you wear comfortable clothing you feel good exercising in. 

We recommend you wear exercise shorts, not pants, especially with knee replacements.  This is so your physiotherapist can see your legs move better as you exercise.  It also makes it easier to measure improvements in your knee and hip flexibility from class-to-class.

Bring flat, stable shoes, such as sneakers. You'll likely be walking during the class, and sneakers are generally the best shoes for preventing falls. 

Remember: we ask all clients to leave outdoor shoes at our entrance, to help us keep our clinic clean.  So bring your exercise shoes in a bag - don't wear them to the clinic.

How to Register

Registration is limited to six participants per session. 

Before registering in classes, all participants must first have an initial assessment with a physiotherapist.  At the initial assessment, the physiotherapist will make sure group classes fit well with your individual treatment plan, and to provide customized guidance for participating in group classes. 

An initial assessment allows your physiotherapist to understand your story and how your condition is affecting you.  They will also measure where you're starting from, set realistic goals for physiotherapy with you, and provide some initial treatment.

Call us now to book your initial assessment! Or if you're not sure whether physiotherapy is right for you, call us to set up a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with a physiotherapist.

Cost of Classes

Group classes are significantly less expensive than one-on-one physiotherapy treatments.  Ask our reception for our current rates.

If you've recently had a total hip and knee replacement, the Government of Manitoba may cover the cost of your classes and/or your one-on-one treatments with a physiotherapist.  Learn more here about government funding for hip & knee rehabilitation at our clinic.

Deep Dive: Why are Group Classes Valuable?

Let's dive deeper into the value of participating in group classes, and how they can be part of your successful rehabilitation journey.

Below we also provide more detail on what you can expect in group classes, whether you've have (or are having) a hip or knee replacement.

1. Expert Supervision

At River East Physiotherapy, our group classes are led by physiotherapists.  Physiotherapists are movement experts.  In Canada, physiotherapists have spent a minimum of six years studying and practicing medical rehabilitation in universities, hospitals and community clinics.

Having trained and studied with physicians, our physiotherapists know how to prepare patients for joint replacement and how to guide their rehabilitation after surgery. No other profession has the sort of training and certification we have for helping people post-operatively.

Physiotherapists are skilled at tailoring exercises and activities to the unique needs and limitations of each participant, ensuring recovery is safe and effective. 

2. Peer Support and Motivation

Life can be challenging right after surgery, both physically and emotionally. Group classes are social - they allow patients to share experiences with others who have undergone similar surgeries.  We notice this tends to create a sense of camaraderie. Peer support provides valuable motivation and encouragement, keeping you on your path to recovery.

3. A Holistic Approach to Recovery

Holistic means we treat the whole patient, not just their joint.  At River East Physiotherapy, all patients do at least one one-on-one initial assessment with a physiotherapist, to make sure group classes fit well into their customized rehabilitation plan. 

Your customized plan will be designed to take you to your goals.  It will also take into account any other injuries or conditions you may have.  That said, all plans have some similarities - they’ll likely include exercises to rebuild muscle strength, improve flexibility, make your joints move more smoothly, and get your whole body moving better. 

A great rehabilitation plan is designed to prevent future pain and injury, get you back to your active lifestyle, and keep you as independent as possible in the long run.

4. They're Economical

Group classes for post-op hip and knee replacements are cost-effective.  By sharing the resources and expertise of physiotherapists among multiple participants, the class fee is lower compared to one-on-one sessions.  That makes group classes more accessible, especially for those clients who don’t have private insurance coverage for physiotherapy.  

Also, as of January 2023, the Government of Manitoba provides funding for physiotherapy for post-op hip and knee replacements.  Read more here about how our clinic can get this funding for you.

Post-Op Hip Replacements: What Do We Do in Group Classes?

(Knee replacement?  Read more in next section below)

For patients recovering from hip replacement surgery, group classes can speed up the rehabilitation process. Here are some things we do in classes:

1. Hip Muscle Strengthening

Group classes always have exercises that target the muscles that support the hip joint (and that’s true for knee replacements too!  Read more on knees below). If hip muscles are stronger, the risk of complications goes down, both before surgery and when recovering from surgery.  

Strong hip muscles are also critical for walking confidently, sitting down, standing up, getting out of bed, and picking something up from the floor.  

2. Gait Training

"Gait" refers to walking and running.  Your physiotherapist will always pay attention to your gait, and we can help you improve it – we’re highly skilled at that.  

After hip replacement surgery, learning how to walk better is crucial. It’s especially important if you were limping before your surgery – patients often have a hard time getting rid of their limp and re-learning how to walk now that the pain is gone.  

Walking well is also important if you’re getting ready for surgery.  Dysfunctional walking patterns can put stress on other body parts, such as your back, your neck, and your feet – we don’t want you to suffer any unnecessary pain!

Group classes often include gait training sessions that teach patients proper walking techniques, working towards a smooth and confident stride.  Your physiotherapist can also help you with this in a one-on-one session.

3. Pain Management

Post-operative hip pain can be reduced with targeted exercises and drug-free pain relief strategies. In group classes and in one-on-one sessions with their physiotherapist, participants learn techniques to alleviate pain.  With less pain, you can do more challenging exercises during your recovery period.

Post-Op Knee Replacements: What Do We Do in Group Classes?  

For individuals preparing for or recovering from knee replacement surgery, group classes are often similar to what we do for hip replacements.  That’s because knee stability and movement is closely related to hip stability and movement - the joints are closely connected.  

For instance, regardless of whether you’ve had your hip or knee replaced, we’ll almost always recommend you work on:

  • Your gait, meaning how effectively you walk,
  • Your hip strength and stability,
  • Reducing your pain, and
  • How you move with day-to-day tasks, such as sitting, standing, or picking something up.

For people with knee replacements, in group classes you’ll also likely work on:

1. Range of Motion Exercises

Group classes incorporate exercises that focus on getting the knee bending like it used to (your physio might call this “restoring the knee's range of motion”). These knee bending and straightening activities increase flexibility, reduce pain, and get your knee bending more smoothly.  

2. Balance and Stability Training

Knee replacement surgery can temporarily affect your balance and how stable your knee feels. That’s because the many of the balance sensors in your body are located in your joints, and those sensors need to recover too.

Did you know you can train your balance?  The same way muscle conditioning exercises can strengthen your muscles, balance exercises can improve your balance.  

Our group classes include balance exercises.  And with better balance, your risk of falling decreases significantly.  Plus, if your knee is stable and your balance is good, you’ll be able to return to your daily activities more quickly and confidently.

3. Knee-Specific Pain Relief Techniques

Managing post-operative knee pain is essential for a smooth recovery process. In group classes, participants learn pain relief techniques, enabling them to cope with discomfort more effectively.  

For knee replacements, pain relief can come from safely moving the joint, such as on a stationary bike, or with gentle heel slides on a bed.  Pain can also be reduced with ice or heat as part of the group class.  Even education can reduce pain – believe it or not, just knowing what’s okay to do and what’s not okay can actually reduce your pain. 

Still not sure if a group exercise class is right for you?

Call us for a free 15-minute phone consultation with one of our registered physiotherapists.  

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