The Patient Journey

A path to enhanced movement

Every patient’s treatment journey is unique. The diagram to the right provides a brief overview of what you can expect your path to look like at the Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre.

Additional Information

What to Expect from Your Appointment

After your referral has been sent via FAST to the Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre to have your hip or knee assessed, you will be brought in for an assessment appointment. The purpose of this appointment is for the assessment team (physical therapist and assessment physician) to determine the nature of your hip or knee problem and decide on the best plan for management. Topics they will discuss with you may include:

  • Your medical history (medical conditions/surgeries you may have had)
  • The history of your hip or knee problem, including treatments you have had for this problem (injections, physical therapy, procedures)
  • Any physical therapy treatments you have undergone/are undergoing (where you went for your treatment, for how long, what exercises you were given)

This information, as well as your X-rays, will be used by the assessment physician to decide on a management plan and will discuss this with you. A letter explaining this management plan will be sent to your referring doctor or physical therapist. Your management plan may be surgical or non-surgical – you can learn more about both of those pathways in the sections below.

If the team determines that you are a candidate for joint replacement surgery, you will be referred to the next available surgeon for a consult appointment (if you have a specific surgeon in mind, you may also request to be referred to them). There is a waitlist to see a surgeon and wait times may vary.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Have all the information you need ready and available, including:

  • If you have not had X-rays of your joint taken in the past 6 months, use the requisition sent along with your appointment letter to have new ones taken. This requisition can be used at ANY X-ray clinic in Alberta.
  • Have all the information you need ready and available, including:
    • A list of the medications you are currently taking (their names and doses)
    • A list of the treatments you have had for your hip/knee problem (injections, bracing, procedures, physical therapy)
    • The name of your physical therapy clinic, how long you went for and what exercises you were given as part of your treatment (if applicable)

If you have questions about your assessment appointment, please contact our booking clerk at (780) 432 – 5627.

Some assessment physicians are doing telephone appointments. To prepare for your virtual appointment, please consult our Guide to Virtual Appointments.

If the assessment physician determines that you are not a candidate for joint replacement surgery at this time, they will recommend conservative treatments to help ease your joint pain.

These treatments may include:

  • Physical therapy: you can find more information on physical therapy on our Staying Active with Arthritis page. GLA:D Canada is an 8-week education and exercise program for those with stiff and/or painful knees and/or hips or those with knee and/or hip osteoarthritis. This includes 2-3 education sessions and 12 group exercise sessions (twice a week for six weeks). Cost varies by clinic.
  • Injections: you can find more information about injections here.
  • Bracing: you can find more information on bracing here.
  • Referral to a dietitian: an increased body mass index (a measurement of your weight per your height squared) can contribute to joint pain. An assessment surgeon may refer you to a dietitian to help you lose weight to see if that reduces your joint pain.
  • Referral to other specialties: if the assessment surgeon does not believe that joint replacement will resolve your pain, they may refer you to other specialties to determine whether there are other underlying causes that can be treated.

If conservative management proves to be ineffective at resolving your joint pain and you would like to be seen again by an assessment surgeon, you have two options:

  • If it has been less than two years since your appointment with the assessment surgeon, please contact our booking clerk at (780) 432-5627.
  • If it has been more than two years since your appointment, you will need to be referred to our clinic again by your family doctor.

The Edmonton Bone and Joint Centre uses the Next Available Surgeon model. This ensures that you can be matched with the surgeon who is best suited to your needs and who has the shortest wait time. An appointment with the surgeon will be booked into the earliest available opening.

Pre-Appointment Information

Before your consult visit with a surgeon, the surgeon’s Medical Office Assistant (MOA) will confirm that your personal information is correct, including your Alberta Health Care number, family physician, etc. It is important that the information on your Alberta Health Care card and your ID (ex. driver’s license) match. You will be sent an appointment letter, along with a medical history you will need to fill out and bring to the appointment.

At Your Appointment

During your appointment, you will meet with the surgeon and their Case Manager. This team will discuss symptoms, X-rays, health history, and surgical outcomes. The surgeon will physically examine you, and the case manager will ask detailed questions about your health history.

Please bring a pair of shorts and a list of all your medications (your pharmacy can print a list for you).

What’s Next?

If you are deemed “surgical” you will be asked when you will be “ready for surgery.” Preparation for surgery requires some time. You will need to ensure that you are prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is crucial that you have family or friends available to assist you through this journey. If you have travel plans, family commitments, work requirements, health issues, etc., your wait time for surgery will start when these have been resolved. Wait times vary from surgeon to surgeon, and the Case Manager will give you an approximate timeline for surgery. We will not be able to give you a surgical date at the time of your appointment.

Your surgeon’s MOA will provide you with requisitions for blood work, a dental form, and instructions about the process for booking a pre-op teaching visit. You will also be provided with direct phone numbers for your MOA and Case Manager should you have further questions. Can’t find the direct numbers for your team? Click here to find their contact information.


It’s important to be well-informed about what to expect before, during, and after surgery. We highly recommend that you, your family and your friends become familiar with our teaching materials and resources.

Questions? Reach out to your surgical team. You can find their contact information here.

Need more information about managing your hip or knee pain?

Explore our website for more resources!