Why Would I Need A Knee Replacement
Knees that are damaged by arthritis or injury often fail to function properly. The purpose of the knee, which is the bodys largest joint, is ambulation. Without a properly functioning knee joint, you will have trouble doing the simplest of tasks, such as walking from your bed to the restroom or sitting down and getting up from your couch. When your knees continue to worsen you may even have trouble sleeping because of pain in your knees.
Unless the knee has been injured in an accident of some sort, this is a gradual process where the joint gradually wears out over time. Your doctor may try a variety of treatments, from lifestyle changes, such as giving up running, to medications to help with the pain. For a time, you may try walking with supportive devices such as a cane or wearing leg braces. Eventually, though, when your efforts to manage the pain no longer work, its time to consider knee replacement.
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.
What Is Considered A Normal Amount Of Pain After A Hip Replacement Surgery
Some swelling and initial pain at the joint are normal after hip replacement. To help reduce pain:
- Take time to rest between therapy sessions.
- Ice the leg and the incision site.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications, after consulting with your doctor, to help with these symptoms.
Keeping the leg elevated above the heart when you lay down can also help the swelling to recede, advises Thakkar.
Its important to pay attention to your pain levels. If you feel like you are consistently at a 6 or more on a 110 pain scale, mention it to your doctor, because it could be a sign of infection or another complication. As you continue physical therapy, your pain levels should slowly decrease to about 1 or 2 in 12 weeks after the hip replacement.
You May Like: Is Nano Knee Covered By Medicare
Keep A List Of Questions For Medical Professionals
Its common to have questions after surgery and during rehabilitation. Go old school with a pen and paper pad or download a note-taking app so you can jot down questions as they arise.
You may also find that you have questions of your own about how best to provide care. Documenting your questions and concerns will help you remember to discuss them with the care team.
See this guide for ideas about what to ask the orthopedic surgeon after a total knee replacement.
Physical Therapy Is Key
Physical therapy after knee replacement surgery is vital. At HSS, we have a program that allows patients to do PT virtually at home. A therapist gives you exercises to do and is able to watch you do them and give you feedback via video call. HSS offered this option even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now weve ramped it up and its great. If you prefer to meet with a physical therapist in person, you can do that.
You May Like: Dcf Knee Compression Sleeve
How Long Does It Take To Recover After A Hip Replacement
On average, hip replacement recovery can take around two to four weeks, but everyone is different, says Thakkar. It depends on a few factors, including how active you were before your surgery, your age, nutrition, preexisting conditions, and other health and lifestyle factors.
Achieving a certain level of activity before you have the surgery can help you bounce back more quickly, shares Thakkar. We use a regimen called prerehabilitation, or prehab, to help patients get in a physical shape that will set them up for a successful recovery.
Preparing for Hip Replacement Surgery | Q& A with Savya Thakkar, M.D.
What Exercises Should I Do After Surgery
You are encouraged to bend and straighten your knee as much as pain allows immediately after standard knee arthroscopy. Remember, however, that your knee may be swollen and full motion may be difficult for the first few days. You may tighten your quadriceps muscle right after surgery and we encourage straight leg raises if they are not too painful. Massaging the patella with your leg straight is also beneficial. Using your fingers, push the patella in all four directions and hold it for 10 seconds in each direction. This helps prevent scar formation and tightness around the patella during the recovery period.
You can put as much weight on your leg as is comfortable immediately after surgery. Again, the usual need for crutches or a walker is about two or three days. Riding on an exercise bike, using a treadmill or elliptical machine, or just plain walking are all good exercises to begin once the knee is less painful. Do not be surprised if your knee has a tendency to swell after such activities remember to ice and elevate the knee afterwards.
You May Like: What Do You Do For Water On The Knee
What Are The Risks Of Knee Arthroscopy
While knee arthroscopy is a safe procedure for the treatment of knee injuries, there are some risks that patients should be aware of. Depending on the patient and joint condition, these risks may include swelling and stiffness of the joint, bleeding, blood clots, infection, or continuing knee problems.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Recovery
After a meniscectomy, your surgeon will likely advise physical therapy to put you on the best path toward recovery. The day after your surgery, you will need to see your physical therapist to:
- Change your dressings
- Take initial measurements
- Learn an initial home exercise program
Your physical therapist will also review information about what to expect, how to take care of your incisions and how to manage your pain. Handouts outlining everything you will learn will be provided.
Physical therapy appointments will be scheduled twice a week for approximately 6 to 8 weeks.
Read Also: How To Pop Your Knee Cap
Returning To Work & Daily Activities
Most people can get back to desk work, school or sedentary activity 3 to 5 days after surgery.
If your right knee was operated on, it may be up to 2 weeks before the knee is strong enough to hit the brakes to drive safely. For heavy work, it may take 4 to 6 weeks before the leg is strong enough to allow for working. You should never drive or operate heavy machinery if you are still taking prescription pain relievers.
Here Is An Overview Of What You Can Expect During These 12 Weeks:
- Days 1 3: In the hospital, you will work with a physical therapist and occupational therapist to work on straightening and bending the knee.
- Discharge Day: Most people are discharged from the hospital within a few days. You will be sent home with specific instructions for care, medication, and therapy.
- Week 3: By the time you reach week three, you will be able to move around a little more, and the pain will be decreasing.
- Weeks 4 6: The most noticeable improvements in your knee happen during this time if you are consistent with your rehab and exercise activities.
- Weeks 7 11: Physical therapy and rehabilitation continue. At this point, you will be working on range of motion, mobility, and strengthening the muscles.
- Week 12: You can start to return to normal activities but still need to avoid high-impact exercise .
Beyond this initial recovery time, you will notice that the pain will continue to decrease, and your function will improve.
Also Check: Medicare Coverage Knee Replacement
Reasons Why Your Knee Surgery Recovery Time Is Taking Longer
If you have undergone knee surgery within the past few weeks or months, then you are already well-acquainted with how slow the recovery process can be. The truth is, naturally, some people just bounce back quickly and recover in no time, while others take a lot longer. Thats just a fact of life. However, if you find that your knee surgery recovery time is taking longer than expectedor even taking longer than anticipated by your surgeon, then there might be something you are doing that is making your recovery longer than it should. Keep reading for 6 common reasons.
How Long After Replacing One Hip Should I Wait To Replace The Other
If you suffer from severe arthritis in both hips, you could get both joints replaced at the same time . This might actually be safer and lead to quicker recovery in some patients, says Thakkar.
Having a double hip replacement reduces the risk of many complications that come along with anesthesia. Recovery is actually shorter but may require double the effort, because you would need to strengthen both legs at the same time. It may also be more challenging to get around the house initially, so you might need more support at home.
If you want to have two separate hip replacement surgeries, it is best to wait at least six weeks between the replacements to lower the risk of blood clots.
You May Like: How Soon Can I Shower After Knee Replacement Surgery
Technical Details Of Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement surgery begins by performing a sterile preparation of the skin over the knee to prevent infection. This is followed by inflation of a tourniquet to prevent blood loss during the operation.
Next, a well-positioned skin incision–typically 6-7 in length though this varies with the patients size and the complexity of the knee problem–is made down the front of the knee and the knee joint is inspected.
Next, specialized alignment rods and cutting jigs are used to remove enough bone from the end of the femur , the top of the tibia , and the underside of the patella to allow placement of the joint replacement implants. Proper sizing and alignment of the implants, as well as balancing of the knee ligaments, all are critical for normal post-operative function and good pain relief. Again, these steps are complex and considerable experience in total knee replacement is required in order to make sure they are done reliably, case after case. Provisional implant components are placed without bone cement to make sure they fit well against the bones and are well aligned. At this time, good function–including full flexion , extension , and ligament balance–is verified.
Finally, the bone is cleaned using saline solution and the joint replacement components are cemented into place using polymethylmethacrylate bone cement. The surgical incision is closed using stitches and staples.
Length of total knee replacement surgery
Pain and pain management
Whats It Like To Recover From A Knee Replacement
As soon as you wake up from knee replacement surgery, your rehabilitation can begin. Patients are encouraged to begin walking with a walker, crutches, or a cane on the same day that their surgery occurred. Within three to six weeks after total knee arthroplasty, you will gradually resume many of your normal activities, but not all until you are released from a doctors care.
Your physical therapist will help you learn to safely use the new joint and will go over all of the aftercare necessary to recover successfully from the surgery. They will help you use a continuous passive motion machine, to gently move the joint to speed the healing process. Youll also learn to change your bandage, and practice how to get to and from the bathroom. Your physical therapist will also teach you the exercises necessary to help you regain the full range of motion in your new joint.
Typically, you will return home as long as you have a support system in place to help care for you during the rehabilitation process.
You will have some pain, bruising, and swelling after the surgery. Your doctor will likely prescribe some pain medications that are stepped down to over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers over time. Your orthopaedic surgeon may have you wear a support hose or compression boots to reduce the risk of blood clots and cut down on leg swelling.
- Slow, careful stair climbing
- Achieving full knee extension and knee flexion
- Standing up and slowly walking
Don’t Miss: Stiffness In Knee After Sitting
Arthroscopic Repair Of Articular Cartilage Injury
Articular cartilage is the cartilage at the end of the bones. Damage can occur from trauma or normal wear and tear. Arthroscopy is used to remove loose pieces of cartilage. A microfracture procedure makes tiny holes in the bone marrow of the damaged cartilage to generate new cartilage.
After surgery the joint must be protected while the cartilage heals. No weight bearing is permitted for the first few weeks after surgery. Physical therapy to restore mobility may include continuous passive movement therapy which moves the joint through ROM constantly. Rehabilitation is focused on strengthening the joint and muscles.
Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Painful
Excessive pain in the knee following arthroscopic surgery is usually due to overactivity or spending too much time on your feet before the thigh muscles have been adequately strengthened. Excessive swelling can also cause pain in the knee. It is normal for the knee to be sore and swollen following arthroscopy.
Recommended Reading: Remove Scar Tissue From Knee
Knee Extension Stretches And Exercises
Expect to perform a variation of these knee extension exercises:
- Quad Sets
- Seated calf stretch with towel/belt
- Standing TKE
Some patients will use a continuous passive movement machine that will repeatedly assist bending and straightening your knee slowly for hours each day for a couple weeks until they have reached a desired range of motion.
Knee Replacement Range Of Motion
Knee swelling will limit knee flexibility, but there is also healing and scarring of tissues to consider that will prevent a knee from bending and straightening. Patients need to slowly improve their flexibility so their knee does not heal stiff, but at the same time not push too much that they are aggravating the recovery and causing more swelling.
The normal knee range of motion is 0 degrees of knee extension to 135 degrees of knee flexion . It is not unusual for someone to have 5-10 degrees of hyperextension and knee flexion varies anywhere from 120-150 degrees.
The expected range of motion after knee replacement is 0 degrees of knee extension to at least 115 degrees of flexion or greater, but this can take several weeks or months to achieve. Starting out, the goal is to get the knee to bend to 90 degrees within the first week and then improve 5 to 10 degrees each week after that until full flexion is reached. Again, this timeline is variable from patient to patient.
It is important to achieve full knee extension for walking to feel more natural and have less knee pain. If you dont achieve full extension, it will feel like youre walking with 1 leg shorter than the other.
Read Also: How Much Is Total Knee Replacement Surgery
How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Knee Replacement
There are many factors that determine how long it takes to recover from a total knee replacement.
Patients are typically discharged from the hospital within five to 14 days after knee replacement surgery.
Short-term recovery, in which a patient can walk with minimal aid or no aid and only needs over-the-counter pain relief generally occurs within twelve weeks after surgery, and most patients can return to full normal activities within 3 to 6 months.
What To Expect After A Total Knee Replacement
If you struggle with chronic knee pain and knee mobility, your doctor may recommend total knee replacement surgery once conservative treatment options are exhausted. Knowing what to expect after a total knee replacement can help you regain knee strength and mobility so that you can resume independent living more quickly.
Don’t Miss: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve
Take Care Of Yourself
It can be difficult to care for someone else if you arent taking the time to care for yourself. Make sure to take breaks and do things you enjoy, such as hobbies, visiting friends, or scheduling some alone time.
Try going for a walk, reading a book, or meditating regularly to keep stress levels down. Dont be afraid to ask other friends or family members for help, especially if you feel overworked or overwhelmed.
Should I Use Ice Or Heat
Ice should be used for the first several days, particularly if you have a lot of swelling or discomfort. Ice is also helpful if you develop swelling after exercising. Once the initial swelling has decreased, you may use either ice and/or heat depending on which helps you the most. Some patients report that using heat prior to activities helps “warm up” the knee.
You May Like: Why Does My Knee Keep Popping Out Of Place
What Are The Benefits Of Knee Arthroscopy
Knee arthroscopy is an effective tool in diagnosing your joint condition and for confirming treatment for knee problems such as meniscus tears and cartilage wear. An arthroscopy can ultimately provide relief from knee pain and improve mobility. Maintaining a normal and active lifestyle with greater comfort is a key benefit of this procedure.
Learn What To Expect And How To Prepare From The Doctors Who Perform This Operation Every Day And The Patients Who Have Been Through Knee Surgery Successfully
If your knee arthritis has gotten so bad that your medication and physical therapy are no longer enough to keep the pain at bay or prevent mobility issues, it is a good time to consider knee replacement surgery. The procedure has come a long way from the extended hospital stays, bed rest, and narcotics-based pain relief of the past.
Fifteen to 20 years ago we told patients to wait until they could no longer take the pain of osteoarthritis to consider surgery, but thats not the case anymore, says P. Maxwell Courtney, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. With todays advances, minimally invasive techniques, and accelerated rehab and recovery protocols, we now tell patients if the pain is limiting your daily activities and youve exhausted conservative options like injections and physical therapy its time to consider surgery.
That was certainly the case for Sharon Barnes, a teacher from Maine whose pain got so bad she couldnt sleep. My doctor said I had osteoarthritis in both knees it was literally bone on bone, she remembers. We did hyaluronic acid injections, and that got me about a year then didnt work as well. Thats when we started discussing surgery.
You May Like: Knee Injury Urgent Care Or Er