DCMC’s Knee/Hip Joint Class: Building Strength, Community and Knowledge

Knee and hip replacement surgery has become common in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that orthopedic surgeons perform 790,000 knee replacements and 450,000 hip replacements every year. Perhaps because they have become so common, these life-changing procedures have very successful outcomes. However, successful outcomes also depend on the patient—how well they are able to prepare the joint for replacement surgery, as well as how much time and effort they can put into rehabilitation after the surgery.

If you are planning on having knee or hip replacement surgery, or have recently had one of those joints replaced, Door County Medical Center has the perfect class for you—a class that both prepares the joint for surgery, and then keeps the you active and the joint strong following standard post-op rehabilitation.

The Knee/Hip Joint Class

Designed by DCMC’s rehab services staff, the Knee/Hip Joint Class is a lower extremity, group exercise class that focuses on building strength in the muscles that support the hips and knees. “The purpose of the class,” says Adam Peronto, exercise physiologist at DCMC and facilitator of the program, “is to provide patients with the opportunity to strengthen those areas and muscles prior to their joint replacement surgery, and following their surgery, to provide them with a place to continue making progress with the different exercises they’ve been doing in rehab so that the new joint settles in nicely, and the patient is able to return to the active life they enjoyed before their surgery.”

DCMC Knee and Hip Joint ClassComprised primarily of chair-based exercises, standing balance exercises and dynamic movement, classes are not age-specific, but rather, are low-intensity workouts designed so anyone can participate. Furthermore, the program isn’t exclusively for people that have had joint replacement surgery at DCMC’s Door Orthopedic Center. “The Knee/Hip Joint Class is open to anyone in the community, regardless of where they had their surgery,” Adam notes, adding, “And, even if you aren’t having surgery—perhaps you just have general joint issues or arthritis—the targeted exercises in this class are a great way to improve joint function and increase mobility.”

What separates this program from other rehabilitation programs is the fact that the Knee/Hip Joint Class prepares a patient for their surgery pre-op. “It’s a great way to be proactive, to strengthen the muscles that support your joint,” Adam says, pointing out that “The stronger the muscles are, the better the function, and oftentimes, this helps to improve the outcomes participants have after surgery.”

Building community and building knowledge

One positive aspect of the Knee/Hip Joint Class is the sense of community that it builds between the different participants. Adam remarks, “Most of the people who come to the class pre-surgery, on the recommendation of their physician, end up building great friendships with their classmates. Then, after they have the replacement and 6 weeks of rehab, when they come back to the class after all of that time off, it’s like a party—everyone is so excited to see that person again.”

Perhaps the most valuable result of that community building comes from the transfer of knowledge and experience that takes place between participants. “If you go to the class pre-surgery,” Adam adds, “you’ll meet people who have already had the same joint replacement surgery, who have gone through rehab and have already experienced the same things you will. The ability to communicate with those people—to ask them how their surgery went and what they did in the home that made their life easier—is invaluable. Really, what this class creates, is a shared experience.”

DCMC Orthopedics Surgeons Door CountyIn addition to the knowledge shared between class participants, every 3 months the Hip/Knee Joint Class welcomes a guest speaker. Physicians like Dr. Daniel Tomaszewski and Dr. Mark Jordan—both orthopedic surgeons—often come to the class to discuss joint health. However, as often as not, topics are not joint specific, but rather cover any number of community topics. “Just as the coronavirus pandemic was clearly becoming an issue,” Adam points out,” Ellen Knipfer, one of our Nurse Practitioners, came to the Algoma Community Wellness Center and led a discussion on what to expect and how to prepare. It was a talk that was really well received. So, if a physician wants to give a community talk about something, we always welcome them.”

There are currently three different Knee/Hip Joint Classes taught weekly, and in collaboration with a local community wellness center. Two are run through the Door County YMCA—at the Northern Door Center in Fish Creek and at the Sturgeon Bay Center—and the third is run through the Algoma Community Wellness Center. The staff at each wellness center lead the class through the exercises, while therapists from DCMC come in and provide more focused work with the participants.

All classes are 45 minutes. Days and times for the Knee/Hip Joint Class are as follows:

  • Sturgeon Bay YMCA: 11:45 – 12:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Northern Door YMCA: 11:15 – 12:00, Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Algoma Community Wellness Center: 11:15 – 12:00. Wednesdays and Fridays*

The Sturgeon Bay YMCA is located at 1900 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay. The Northern Door Center is located at 3866 Gibraltar Road, Fish Creek. To sign up for the Knee/Hip Joint Class, or for more information on classes held at the Door County YMCA, please visit their website at:, or call 920-743-4949 (Sturgeon Bay location) or 920-868-3660 (Fish Creek location).

The Algoma Community Wellness Center is located at 1715 Division Street, Algoma. To sign up for the Knee/Hip Joint Class, or for more information on classes held at the Algoma Community Wellness Center, please visit their website at:, or call 920-487-7001.

*Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Algoma Community Wellness Center is not offering classes at this time. For updates please visit their website.

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