In 2007, the Hot Tub Council provided funds to the Foundation for Physical Therapy to conduct a study on the benefits of utilizing warm water therapy in conjunction with total knee replacement surgery. Two groups were involved in the study: patients relying on land-based therapy for their recovery, and a second group incorporating water-based therapy in addition to the land regimen. Those using the water therapy did so in water heated to about 92 degrees Fahrenheit—a lower temperature than typical hot tub soaking.
At the conclusion of the study, it was determined that those incorporating the warm water therapy into their recovery experienced more rapid improvement. Reduction in both pain and swelling resulted when warm water therapy was part of the patients’ routines. Range of motion also improved at a more rapid rate.
A recent visit to my aunt—who had both knees replaced this Spring, and is still struggling to achieve better range of motion—made me recall this study.
If you have a hot tub available to you, and can do physical therapy exercises in the water, consult your physician and therapist about the benefits of a warm water regimen added to your recovery routine. It could make the difference in getting you back to your old self (with new parts!) in no time.