(ABC4 UTAH) The end of the year is fast approaching and it’s also when many people schedule elective orthopedic surgeries because they’ve hit their deducible for insurance.

The most common elective surgeries are joint, knee, and hip replacements. These are normally needed because they’re causing some pain or minimal discomfort but are often delayed because they are not urgent.

So, while patients wait for surgery, orthopedic surgeons at Intermountain Healthcare say research shows being active beforehand can help improve outcomes following surgery.

“Anytime you can strengthen muscles and joints before a surgery means less work afterwards to get back to full strength,” said Mike Holmstrom, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Intermountain’s The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in Murray. “It’s not always easy because people needing surgery have limited mobility, but even a little bit of strengthening and activity helps.”

Dr. Holmstrom says people can be more active on their own or seek help from a physical therapist who can design exercise routines with their mobility issues in mind.

ArthroFIt, for example, is a program offered at TOSH that is geared specifically towards seniors who have mobility issues and need to strengthen their body. Athletic trainers and doctors have programs to slowly build back strength which is designed to keep a person’s specific health issues in mind.

Another key factor to having a good recovery and better outcomes is adopting a healthier diet. Good nutritional habits are always helpful for the body in recovery from surgery and can make a person feel better overall.

Dr. Holmstrom also urges patients to make a plan for their post-surgery care which includes removing trip hazards from the home which could cause a fall. He also encourages patients to be diligent about follow up appointments because physical therapy which is key to making a full recovery.

For more information about orthopedic programs at Intermountain, click here.

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