How To Look After Your New Knees
The new normal might be difficult for you to adapt. Heres what to do to properly adjust to your new knees –
Regularly take your prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatories to reduce any pain or swelling felt in the body.
Use your walking aids but try to rely less on them with time and walk on your own for improving the condition.
Continue to keep up with your health exercise to get rid of stiffness and other problems, but dont put great force on the knees.
Do not sit while your leg crossed for the first six weeks after your surgery. It can cause dislocation. Limit your sitting position.
Avoid using a pillow underneath the knee while sleeping. It can result in permanent knee bend.
Lift your leg while sitting or applying an ice pack covered in a tea towel for 20 minutes after every 3 to 4 hours to decrease any swelling.
- Try to avoid twisting at your knee.
- Always wear supportive footwear outdoors.
- Avoid kneeling on your operated knee in the first 6 months after the surgery.
In the period of initial healing, the patient may constantly require assistance for their movement and the need for a caretaker becomes essential.
Total Knee Replacement Recovery: What To Expect After Knee Replacement
Nearly 1 million total knee replacement procedures are performed in the U.S. each year and that number is expected to continue rising exponentially to over 3 million in the next 15 years!
So it comes as no surprise that the most common joint replacement procedure Physical Therapists rehab in the outpatient clinic is a total knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement.
Many candidates want to know what to expect after a total knee replacement before they choose to have the surgery. Patients usually elect to have this procedure after nonoperative treatment options or knee replacement alternative surgeries fail to maintain knee function and pain levels.
For those patients that do decide to have total knee surgery, keep reading to learn more about the total knee replacement recovery process.
Lifestyle Habits After Joint Replacement
After a joint replacement, patients can resume just about everything, especially walking, swimming, and bicycle riding. We discourage repetitive jumping and running, yoga, or excessive stretching.
You should also take prophylactic antibiotics, because total joints are made of metal and are at risk for infection when bacteria circulate through your bloodstream.
If your joint becomes infected, it requires more than two additional surgeries. Therefore, take antibiotics with any bacterial infection as prescribed by your family practitioner. We strongly recommend that you take antibiotics for all dental and invasive procedures for the rest of your life.
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Here Are A Few Things You Can Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery:
- Rest and Ice: The knee will be swollen and tender, which is why you need to follow doctor suggestions for keeping the leg elevated and icing the joint.
- Medications: Not only does medication help with pain management, but it is also vital to reduce inflammation. Sometimes antibiotics are needed for preventing infection.
- Follow Up: You will have follow-up appointments to talk to your sports medicine doctor about recovery. Surgical staples or stitches will be removed during the office visit. Reach out to your doctor if you notice unusual symptoms, such as redness, fever, incision drainage, or increased pain.
- Home Modifications: You might need certain modifications to help you navigate your home. Since the knee needs to heal, you must use crutches. Some patients transition to a cane or walker as the recovery progresses. Consider using other modifications, such as handrails, a shower bench, a reaching stick, and removing loose cords and rugs that could cause a fall.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention After Knee Replacement
After you go home, call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain and/or shortness of breath.
- Fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit .
- Incision problems, like bleeding, leaking, swelling, redness or odor.
- Pain in your calf, ankle or foot that is new and gets worse.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have severe knee pain but medications and therapy arent helping, knee replacement may provide the answer. This common and effective surgery can reduce pain and get you back to everyday activities. Talk to your healthcare provider or an orthopedic provider about whether knee arthroplasty is a good option for you.
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What Are The Risks Of Knee Replacement Surgery
Joint replacement is major surgery. Although advances in technology and medical care have made joint replacement safe and effective, there are risks. You should discuss these risks with your surgeon, and they should be considered carefully before you decide to have surgery. The most common risks include:
- Blood clots
- Nerve injury
Should I Have A Knee Replacement
To help you decide, you might want to ask your surgeon questions such as:
- What are the alternatives to surgery?
- What are the possible complications and how likely are they?
- What can I expect during the recovery period?
- How much improvement can I realistically expect after surgery?
- Would a new knee last all my life?
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What Is A Knee Replacement
Knee replacements may be total or partial. In a total knee replacement, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone from the surface of the knee joint.
These are replaced with an artificial surface of metal and plastic.
In a partial knee replacement, the surgeon replaces only the affected part of the knee joint and leaves the healthy parts alone.
A knee replacement is also called a knee arthroplasty.
What Is The Fastest Way To Recover From Knee Surgery
4 Tips for Faster Recovery after Knee Surgery
Most patients are able to care for themselves and resume normal daily activities within 6 weeks and drive within 3 to 6 weeks. It may take 4 to 6 months or up to an entire year to fully recover and realize total benefits of knee replacement surgery.
Genicular Nerve Block With Radiofrequency Ablation
Instead of more invasive surgical options, many patients turn to a genicular nerve block to treat and diagnose persistent knee pain. A genicular nerve block uses anesthetic injected into one or more of the genicular nerves to interrupt pain signals being sent to the brain.
Unfortunately, a genicular nerve blocks effects only last eight to 24 hours. Doctors use genicular nerve blocks to test the effectiveness of the procedure on a persons knee pain. Many patients who experience relief with genicular nerve blocks will then get radiofrequency ablation. When combined, these two procedures can offer pain relief that lasts anywhere from six months to a year.
Ial Knee Replacement Overview
A is also known as unicompartmental knee arthroplasty or unicondylar knee arthroplasty. In this surgery, damaged cartilage and bone are removed and replaced only in one diseased compartment of the knee. This differs from a total knee replacement, in which bone and cartilage from the entire joint are replaced.
Partial knee replacement is suitable for people who experience arthritis only in one compartment of the knee joint, rather than throughout the joint. It can also provide relief from pain and stiffness in some people who have medical conditions that make them poor candidates for total knee replacement surgery.
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Should I Have Knee Replacement Surgery
You might be a candidate for knee replacement surgery when other treatments no longer relieve severe pain and loss of function. Joint pain and immobility usually occur when the cartilage that protects and cushions the joints wears down. When this happens bones rub directly against each other, causing further damage and pain.
Not everyone is a candidate for knee replacement surgery. Your overall health is taken into account. If you have a history of other health problems such as heart attack, stroke or diabetes, surgery might not be right for you.
What Is Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery is a surgical technique to repair the knee joint. Plastic and metal prosthetic parts are attached to the bones in the knee joint. During the procedure, damaged cartilage and bone are cut away. Then an artificial joint is put in place.
This surgery might be required for someone with a severe knee injury or people who experience pain from chronic arthritis. A sports medicine doctor might recommend knee replacement surgery based on your knees strength, stability, and range of motion. A variety of surgical techniques and prostheses can be used, depending on your weight, age, knee size and shape, activity level, and overall health.
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My Time In The Hospital
A great medical team took over my care once I reached myroom. I was advised that the surgery went well and if there were nocomplications, I would be going home in less than 24 hours.
At 4:00 pm the hospital physical therapist came in to my room and had me up and out of bed doing some easy range of motion exercises. I was allowed to walk to the bathroom during this time with my walker.
The physical therapist told me she would be back in the morning. At that time, she would give me some simple walking and stair climbing tests.
If I could complete the tasks, I would be going home around noon, the day after surgery.
I did my best to follow my care teams suggestions. Theywanted me to drink a lot of fluid, eat as much as I could and do simpleexercises in my bed to enhance my circulation.
I slept on and off during the night. My surgeon arrivedearly in the morning and removed my drain tube. He examined me, told me thesurgery went well and that he expected that I would be going home shortly.
After breakfast, the physical therapist arrived and had mewalk and go up and down a few stairs. I was able to complete all of the tasksand she told me I was ready to go home.
I called home for a ride, ate lunch and was on my way home at 12:15 pm.
What Is A Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement, also called knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement, is a surgical procedure toresurface a knee damaged by arthritis. Metal and plastic parts are used tocap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint, along with the kneecap.This surgery may be considered for someone who has severe arthritis or asevere knee injury.
Various types of arthritis may affect the knee joint. Osteoarthritis, adegenerative joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and olderadults, may cause the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in theknees. Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation of the synovialmembrane and results in excessive synovial fluid, can lead to pain andstiffness. Traumatic arthritis, arthritis due to injury, may cause damageto the cartilage of the knee.
The goal of knee replacement surgery is to resurface the parts of the kneejoint that have been damaged and to relieve knee pain that cannot becontrolled by other treatments.
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How Long Does Recovering From Knee Replacement Surgery Take
When patients and their orthopedic surgeons agree that knee replacement surgery is a good option, one of the first questions or concerns usually is how long will the recovery process take? The simple answer would be about 13 weeks to recover. This timeline is dependant on a lot of factors such as type of procedure, limiting complications, and being consistent with their doctor and physical therapy visits.
Patients typically have a good understanding of the benefits of having a knee replaced, but they also appreciate knowing what is required to reach those benefits. A knee replacement, otherwise known as knee arthroplasty, is one of the most successful surgeries performed throughout the world. If you want to be a part of the 90% of people with a well-functioning knee, 15 years post-surgery, understanding each part of the recovery process can help you with that goal.
Balanced Physical Therapy has combined real-world experience with proven clinical research from around the internet to help you better understand each part of the recovery process, specific timelines for recovery, and why each element is essential.
Walking After Knee Surgery
As previously mentioned, walking after knee surgery will likely begin the day of or day after surgery in the hospital with a walker or cane. The amount of weight put on the surgical leg is usually as much as tolerated, so using the walker and taking smaller steps can help offload a painful knee. The goal of walking early is to prevent muscles from weakening and to get the knee moving in a normal gait pattern again.
Patients that are hesitant to walk or use the walker as a crutch for too long can also delay the recovery process. This goes back to the as tolerated concept. If you can tolerate walking without a walker, then walking starts with short bouts until longer distances are comfortable.
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Before You Leave The Hospital
- Talk with your surgeon about any precautions you may have after surgery.
- Make sure you have a follow-up appointment scheduled with your surgeon 10 to 14 days after your surgery.
Important: After surgery, it may take a while before you feel like your normal self. Recovery is different for each person.
Life After Knee Surgery
As a Physical Therapist, Ive seen firsthand the significant improvements in people following a knee replacement. However, there is no surgeon or PT out there who can 100% guarantee success. There certainly are risks following a surgery and this should be discussed with your doctor. But just as important, you should discuss the expected outcomes with your physician.
Returning to activities such as walking, golf, bowling, swimming, light dancing, and even light tennis is usually encouraged. However, ask your doctor about suggested timeframes for these activities.
Knee replacements have come a long way in the past 20 years and the technology continues to improve. Set your expectations appropriately with your physician and therapist. Heres to hoping your life after knee surgery is full of enjoyment and activity!
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Will I Need Any Treatments After Knee Replacement
Your healthcare team will prescribe medications to help you manage pain after surgery, such as:
To prevent blood clots and control swelling, your healthcare team might also recommend:
- Blood thinners, such as aspirin or injectable Enoxaparin based on individual risk of blood clot formation.
- Compression devices, usually used while hospitalized. These are mechanical devises which provide intermittent compression.
- Special support hose.
Your team will ask you to move your foot and ankle around frequently to maintain blood flow at home. Theyll also show you special exercises to help strengthen your knee and restore motion. Exercises are very important to the success of your knee replacement. Initially, physical therapy will be in the home. Arrangements for this in home PT are made at the time of discharge from the hospital.
How Soon Will I Be Up And About
The staff will help you to get up and walk about as quickly as possible. If you’ve had keyhole surgery or are on an enhanced recovery programme, you may be able to walk on the same day as your operation. Generally, you’ll be helped to stand within 12 to 24 hours after your operation.
Walking with a frame or crutches is encouraged. Most people are able to walk independently with sticks after about a week.
During your stay in hospital, a physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help strengthen your knee. You can usually begin these the day after your operation. It’s important to follow the physiotherapist’s advice to avoid complications or dislocation of your new joint.
It’s normal to have initial discomfort while walking and exercising, and your legs and feet may be swollen.
You may be put on a passive motion machine to restore movement in your knee and leg. This support will slowly move your knee while you are in bed. It helps to decrease swelling by keeping your leg raised and helps improve your circulation.
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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.