When Can I Expect To Return To Work
For those who are self-employed or cant get paid leave, it can feel like the clock is a tickin to get back to work. Although the total long-term recovery time for a hip and knee replacement can extend beyond 6 months to a year, return-to-work time happens long before youre fully recovered. In fact, a study that looked at return-to-work time for sedentary jobs and higher demand jobs , found that on average patients returned to work 7-11 weeks after surgery. The 7 week average was for less physically demanding office jobs, while 11 weeks of recovery was the average return-to-work time for more demanding positions.
The study found that the key factor for predicting when a patient would return to work was a sense of urgency. In other words, feeling financial or obligational pressure to get back on the ol work saddle.
Those Who Tend to Return to Work Faster
- Were gainfully employed before surgery.
- Werent collecting disability insurance.
- Had better physical function before surgery.
- Had better range of motion scores after surgery.
Here Are Some Of The Reasons You Might Need Knee Surgery:
- Stiffness in the joint and pain makes it difficult to walk, stand up, or climb stairs
- You often have swelling in the knee area
- Chronic pain bothers you when resting
- The pain is disrupting your sleep
- The knee has defects or is bowed
- Medication and physical therapy havent been effective in managing the pain
If you can relate to any of these symptoms, then its time to talk to a sports medicine doctor about your treatment options.
Possible Benefits Of Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Regardless of whether a traditional total knee replacement or a minimally-invasive partial knee replacement is performed the goals and possible benefits are the same: relief of pain and restoration of function.
The large majority of total knee replacement patients experience substantial or complete relief of pain once they have recovered from the procedure. The large majority walk without a limp and most dont require a cane, even if they used one before the surgery. It is quite likely that you know someone with a knee replacement who walks so well that you dont know he even had surgery!
Frequently the stiffness from arthritis is also relieved by the surgery. Very often the distance one can walk will improve as well because of diminished pain and stiffness. The enjoyment of reasonable recreational activities such as golf, dancing, traveling, and swimming almost always improves following total knee replacement.
Also Check: Dcf Knee Compression Sleeve
Who Performs Knee Replacement Surgery
If you need knee replacement surgery, then an orthopedic surgeon is the type of doctor you must see. Here at Orthopedic Associates, we offer a range of doctors, physical therapists, and sports medicine specialists to help you manage the pain and recover as effectively as possible.
Our team offers three knee replacement surgeries:
- Total Knee Replacement Surgery
- Partial Knee Replacement Surgery
- Revision Knee Replacement Surgery
Additionally, we have other joint replacement procedures for different types of sports medicine injuries and other orthopedic concerns:
- Reverse Shoulder Joint Replacement Surgery
- Shoulder Joint Replacement Surgery
- Direct Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery
- Partial Hip Replacement Surgery
When Is It Safe To Return To Work
You know yourself and your job the best. Simply, its probably safe to return to work when your pain is under control and youve weaned yourself off your post-op dose of narcotic pain medication. Once youre finished taking narcotic pain medication during the day, you will be able to drive again, and will likely be getting back to a more normal, everyday routine.
Around the 6 week mark, you will have pain under better control, your swelling will have gone down, youre much more mobile, youre sleeping much better at night, and you will hopefully have had time to mentally and emotionally recover. In other words, once you start feeling like youre old self , its probably safe to start thinking about work again.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Get Rid Of Fat Around My Knees
What Activities Will I Be Able To Engage In
Most patients require an assistive device for approximately 3 weeks after knee replacement surgery although this varies significantly from patient to patient.
You will also be able to do low-impact exercise such as riding a stationary bike, walking, and swimming after 68 weeks. Your physical therapist can advise you on introducing new activities during this time.
You should avoid running, jumping, as well as other high-impact activities.
Discuss with your orthopedic surgeon any questions concerning your activities.
Dont Miss: Do Compression Sleeves Help With Knee Pain
What Is Knee Replacement Surgery
Its a procedure in which a surgeon removes the cartilage in your knee thats been damaged by arthritis, as well as the nearby bone. The joint is replaced with an artificial joint thats made of smooth metal and plastic parts.
According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons , the procedure has been performed for more than 50 years, and more than 790,000 people in the United States have a knee replaced every year.
You May Like: How To Whiten Knees Fast
Tips For Returning To Work
If youre feeling good enough, pain is under control, and youve gotten the go ahead from your care team, it may be work time! Here are some tips for making your return to work a little easier:
Are you thinking about a hip or knee replacement? Planning to go back to work after? Use PeerWell Health to get the best care your surgery.
Going Back To Work After Knee Replacement Surgery
When a patient is having knee replacement surgery, the question is When can I go back to work? The answer varies, depending on how demanding your job is, the rate at which your body heals, and the state of your general health.
Generally, you can return back to work four to six weeks post-surgery if you have a desk job. You may be instructed to expect a longer recoverytime before you return to a physically demanding job. You may have to wait between four and 12 weeks before you will be allowed to lift heavy objects or engage in physically challenging work. It could take much longer than the aforementioned if you have other health issues that need to be addressed.
The following are good indicators that you are ready to get back to work after knee replacement:
- Youre not dependent anymore on strong painkillers that can cause drowsiness and possibly increase your risk for injury at the workplace.
- You have already regained leg strength and mobility to drive yourself to work, take public transportation, or adequately function in case of emergency.
Furthermore, keeping your body weight under control is crucial because the excess pounds can accelerate wear and tear of your new knee implants. Scheduling regular visits to your healthcare provider so he or she can monitor the state of your new implants is equally important. The frequency of your visits will depend on your age, current health status, and lifestyle habits.
Read Also: Ginger Poultice For Knee Pain
Knee Replacement Recovery Time Guide
Here we will look at total knee replacement recovery time, including what happens at what stage post-op and how long it typically takes to get back to your usual activity.
If are having or have had only one side of your knee replaced, visit the partial knee replacement recovery time section instead to found out how it will be for you.
Knee replacement recovery time will vary from person to person, and may be affected by:
- Severity of arthritis
- Compliance with exercises pre and post-op
Let’s have a look at a typical knee replacement recovery time process.
What Is A Knee Replacement
Knee replacement is also known as total knee replacement or total knee arthroplasty. This surgery involves the surgical removal of the human knee joint, then replacement with a new prosthetic knee made of plastics and metals. The prosthetic device then functions in the same way as the original joint.
As a surgery, knee replacement is one of the most common and safe medical procedures in the United States. The first knee replacement was performed in 1968. Since then, the procedure doctors use to replace your knee is much more efficient, less invasive, and more effective overall.
During the knee arthroplasty procedure, your doctor will remove the patella and clean up the end of the femur and the tibia . The end surface of the tibia is replaced with metal and a plastic liner is inserted between the tibia and the femur to reduce wear. Then the patella is resurfaced and the surgeon will test the knee to ensure a smooth gliding surgery. The procedure will last about two hours, typically.
Also Check: Nano Knee Cost
What Are Knee Replacement Implants Made Of
The selection of knee replacement prosthesis design and materials depends on each individual patient. The main implant components are made of metal â usually titanium or chrome-cobalt alloys. The implants are fixated in place either with a cement bonding agent or by osseointegration, in which a porous metal stem extends into the tibia and the patients natural bone grows into it. A plastic platform or spacer will be inserted between the tibial and femoral implant surfaces. The spacer is made of polyethylene.
Most femoral components are made of metal alloys or metal-ceramic alloys . The patellar component is plastic . The tibial insert component is also plastic . The tibial tray component can be made of the following materials:
- cobalt chromium
Also Check: Stiff Knee Joints After Sitting
Exercise And Physical Activity
The final phase of recovery, as Dr. Parks considers it, is returning to exercises and extra activities, including hiking and biking. It typically takes eight to 12 weeks to get to this phase, he says.
In terms of full knee replacement recovery, patients generally need a year to completely heal and regain total function.
After a couple of years, you forget that youve even had knee surgery, says Barnes, who would go on to have her left knee replaced a year after the surgery on her right. Before surgery I couldnt garden. Now I walk, snow shoe, and climb ladders. I do what I want and dont have pain.
Recommended Reading: Cellulite Above Knees
Continue To Exercise: 7
Low-impact exercises like swimming, weight training, and cycling are ideal until Dr. Woodson gives you the go-ahead for more intense workouts. Again, everyone is different, so listen to your body to know when to rest. You want to make steady progress, but you dont want to injure your knee or create a setback for yourself because you pushed too hard, too soon.
Do Follow Your Doctors Instructions On Caring For The Wound
To avoid post-op infection, be sure you understand how and when to change your bandage. If the skin aroundthe wound becomes red or drains, or if you develop a fever and chills, call your doctor right away. To avoidcomplications of a clot, call your doctor if your leg is tender, swells unduly below or above the knee, orif you develop pain in your leg or calf.
Recommended Reading: Roller Knee Walker
Research: Three Out Of Ten Patients Do Not Expect Knee Replacement To Help Them Perform Their Job Better
Here is a study led by the University of Amsterdam published in December 2018 in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. The question is asked:
- What are patients expectations regarding the ability to perform work-related knee-demanding activities 6 months after compared to their preoperative status?
The learning points:
- Three out of ten patients do not return to work after total knee replacement. Patient expectations are suggested to play a key role.
- A study was performed among 236 working patients listed for total knee replacement.
- A clinical improvement in the ability to perform work-related knee-demanding activities was expected by 72% of the patients, while 28% of the patients expected no clinical improvement or even worse ability to perform work-related knee-demanding activities 6 months after
- Of the patients,
- 30% in crouching and
- 17% in clambering 6 months after total knee replacement.
How Long Does A Knee Replacement Last
According to the data, about 90% of knee replacements last a minimum of 15 years, but many are still doing well at the 20-year mark. You can extend the life of your replacement knee by staying active and keeping your weight down. Its a good idea to avoid high-impact exercise like jogging, however.
Advanced Orthopaedic Centers offer state-of-the-art care for patients to improve the quality of their lives. We offer a variety of procedures, including total knee replacement, to help our patients return to a pain-free life.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table Knee Pain
How Long Do You Need Physical Therapy After A Knee Replacement
Of course, this will vary from patient to patient, depending upon your individual situation. However, in general, you can expect around 3 to 4 weeks of formal physical therapy from our experts.
Dr. Christian Eccles, our Fellowship-trained Hip and Knee Replacement surgeon, says Therapy is vital to obtaining the best functional outcome possible after a knee replacement as it can aid in pain control, improve motion, and expedite recovery.
Our patients typically are able to drive within 2 to 4 weeks, go back to work in 6 to 8 weeks, and golf in 6 to 12 weeks.
Your physical therapy exercises that you learn should be continued on your own for a minimum of two months after your surgery. They may also recommend some additional exercises such as riding a stationary bicycle after this period to help keep your knee flexible. This will also help build your muscle tone.
What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery
When the surgery is over, you will need to stay in the hospitals recovery room for observation. Usually, patients can return to their hospital rooms within a few hours after their pulse, blood pressure, and breathing are stable. Since knee replacement is major surgery, its common for the patient to be in the hospital for a few days before returning home. You will begin physical therapy during this in-hospital time.
When its time to head home, your medical team will have a transition plan to help with continued physical therapy and pain management. Its crucial that you are diligent about following these recommendations to regain the range of motion and strength needed in the joint.
You May Like: Where To Get Knee High Converse
What To Expect From Knee Replacement Surgery
To see if knee replacement surgery might be right for you, your doctor will want to confirm that you have arthritis. You have to see that somethings wrong on the x-ray, Dr. Claudette M. Lajam, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Health in New York City and a spokesperson for the AAOS, told TODAY. You can be fooled by other disease processes. For example, a damaged disc in your back could cause pain in your knee.
If you have arthritis, you wont go straight to surgery. Your doctor will want you to try other, less-invasive strategies to reduce your pain.
Those might include:
- Wearing a knee brace
- Using shoe inserts
These options can be good alternatives to knee replacement surgery for elderly patients or others who cant undergo surgery.
If these strategies arent controlling your pain, it might be time to consider knee replacement surgery. If the pain is interfering with your life and you cant make it better with other means, you have to consider other ways to fix it, Lajam said.
While its important to exhaust your other options for alleviating your pain, you shouldnt wait too long. There are some dangers of delaying knee replacement surgery.
Patients Desiring Help And Information To Return To Work Were Not Routinely Discussed
- The patients in this study found that the advice they received from healthcare professionals focused on the needs of the elderly and retired population.
- Preoperative education reportedly focused on the inpatient stay and immediate postoperative period, but longer-term outcomes, such as return to work, were not routinely discussed.
- In summary: Patients found that work-related activities were not discussed and focused on people of a certain age and people who didnt work.
Also Check: Inversion Table Benefits For Knees
Knee Replacement Recovery Continues Once Youre Home
Even though hospital stays for knee replacement surgery are shorter than they used to be, getting back on your feet still takes time, says Dr. Parks.
The next phase of recovery continues at home, as patients begin acclimating to normal activities, such as moving between rooms, getting up and sitting down in furniture, and using the bathroom. While everyone is different, many patients are likely to have similar experiences during the early weeks of recovery.
For Barnes, stability was a big issue. I became very aware of where I was placing feet, for example, when stepping off a curb. I just felt a little clumsy early on after surgery so I was afraid of falling.
In addition, she experienced a lot of swelling. The hospital gave me a special brace that circulates cold water around the knee, which was great and helped with swelling, she says.
Whether your doctor has prescribed formal outpatient physical therapy or has entrusted you with an at-home regimen of walking and exercises, patients progressing through recovery achieve some big milestones along the way.
One To Two Weeks After Surgery
During this time, physical therapy concentrates on balance, range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. This may include:
- Leg raises
- Practice getting up from a sitting position
- Knee straightening exercises
- Supported knee bendswith the goal of eventually having the knee bend to a 90-degree angle
- Walkingif you need to use a cane or walker, the physical therapist will work with you ensure youre using them properly
You May Like: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve