JOPLIN, Mo. — A pre-surgery session at Freeman Health System can benefit patients greatly. And what helps them prepare for a knee replacement can also help the rest of us stay healthy and avoid surgery.

“It’s a general exercise program that really helps, you know, the entire lower body,” said Dustin Richardson, a Physical Therapy Assistant with Freeman Health System.

Freeman Physical Therapy Assistant Dustin Richardson helps knee replacement patients get ready for some big changes. Part of his routine is recommending exercises that isolate key muscles.

“Quad muscle which is your you know, your your thigh muscle there and it’s one of the main muscles that atrophy with the whole process of joint degeneration. And so, several of the exercises in our program are directed toward that muscle in particular,” said Richardson.

It could be leg raises or lunges – even simple exercises can have a big impact getting ready for surgery or just staying healthy.

“It’s very true when you don’t use it, you lose it type thing with muscles. And so a lot of these people as we tend to get older in life, we get less and less active. And so this helps maintain that strength,” Richardson added.

What is important is to keep doing the exercises regularly to improve your health.

“And so by doing these on a daily basis, it would help tremendously with maintaining normal activity, normal daily living and things that people want to do.”