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How Long To Recoup From Knee Replacement

How Much Should I Be Walking After A Knee Replacement

Why Does It Take so Long to Recover from a Knee Replacement?

Strictly speaking, there is no limit to the amount of walking that you can do following a knee replacement. Your surgeon will not place a distance or time limit on your walking activities, as most patients find that their knee that is still recovering from surgery, and this will limit them instead. Walking is an excellent exercise to help promote recovery and healing in the knee and many patients find that the more walking that they can do, the quicker they recover from the surgery and the more functional they are in the long term. However, walking should also be supplemented with other exercises that demand a greater range of motion out of the knee such as a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer.

Have Any Necessary Items

Tissue, lip balm, lotion, lens cleaners, and medication need to be within easy reach of where you are sitting.

I had my TV remotes, my fan remote and my fireplace remote nearby within easy reach. I also had a laptop computer and a kindle next to my chair.

Make sure your phone is within easy reach to answer phone calls, texts and to access emails easily.

If your thermostat has a remote keep it handy especially during hot or cold weather.

How Long Will I Need Pain Medication After Total Knee Replacement

Pain, swelling, and bruising are all normal after knee replacement surgery, both for partial and total knee replacements. Youll be sent home with oral pain medications after your surgery, which youll take for several weeks after your surgery.

The most commonly prescribed pain medications after knee replacement surgery include prescription-strength naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. If those commonly used pain relievers dont provide enough relief, your doctor can prescribe something stronger, such as hydrocodone or an opioid pain killer. Narcotics are addictive pain relievers and can be taken safely after surgery but the duration of these drugs if chosen for use, should be limited as much as possible. Please speak with your physician prior to surgery in regards to the pain protocols that will be used postoperatively

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Toughing It Out Could Backfire

Pain medication is an important part of knee replacement recovery. While you may think you are being strong by not taking your pain medication, doing so could backfire by making it more difficult for you to perform your essential physical therapy exercises. If you are not comfortable with the pain medication you have been prescribed, talk to your doctor about alternatives.

Which Type Should I Have

How long does it take to recover after knee replacement?

Your surgeon will discuss this with you. It will depend on how much of your knee is affected by arthritis – it may not be possible to know this until your surgeon has started your operation.

If you have a partial knee replacement it is more likely that you will need to have it done again, than if you have a total knee replacement . Sometimes the reason for choosing to have a partial knee replacement is that it leaves the option to have a TKR at a later date. However it’s also more likely that you will need to have your total knee replacement re-done, if you had a partial knee replacement done before having your total knee replacement.

There are over 150 different designs of knee replacement and some of the differences between all the different types and makes of knee replacement parts aren’t known, particularly how they perform in the long term. In many countries, registries have been set up so that anyone who has had a knee replacement is entered into the register. The information collected is used to monitor how their replacement is performing. In the UK, patients also enter information about their health and quality of life before and after their operation.

A study of over 500 patients with osteoarthritis of the inner part of their knee has compared the effectiveness of total and partial knee replacement. The two groups were followed up five years after surgery, and asked to complete questionnaires about pain, activity and day-to-day living.

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Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Knee

Inflammatory arthritis

This broad category includes a wide variety of diagnoses including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout and many others. It is important that patients with these conditions be followed by a qualified rheumatologist as there are a number of exciting new treatments that may decrease the symptoms and perhaps even slow the progression of knee joint damage.

Patients with inflammatory arthritis of the knee usually have joint damage in all three compartments and therefore are not good candidates for partial knee replacement. However, inflammatory arthritis patients who decide to have total knee replacement have an extremely high likelihood of success. These patients often experience total, or near-total, pain relief following a well-performed joint replacement.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is also called OA or degenerative joint disease. OA patients represent the large majority of arthritis sufferers. OA may affect multiple joints or it may be localized to the involved knee. Activity limitations due to pain are the hallmarks of this disease.

OA patients who have symptoms limited to one compartment of the knee sometimes are good candidates for minimally-invasive partial knee replacement .

How Long Does The Pain Last After A Knee Replacement

Over 90% of patients who have knee replacement surgery experience a significant improvement in their pain and mobility. But remember that this is a major surgery, which means that it takes time to recover after going under the knife.

It often takes three months to return to normal activities and six months to 1 year before your knee is strong and resilient.

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Looking After Your New Knee

  • continue to take any prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatories to help manage any pain and swelling
  • use your walking aids but aim to gradually decrease the amount you rely on them as your leg feels stronger
  • keep up your exercises to help prevent stiffness, but do not force your knee
  • do not sit with your legs crossed for the first 6 weeks after your operation
  • do not put a pillow underneath your knee when sleeping as this can result in a permanently bent knee
  • avoid twisting at your knee
  • wear supportive shoes outdoors
  • do not kneel on your operated knee until your surgeon says you can
  • raise your leg when sitting and apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel for 20 minutes every 3 or 4 hours to reduce any swelling

Page last reviewed: 02 August 2019 Next review due: 02 August 2022

How To Prevent Blood Clots

Why Does It Take So Long to Recover from a Knee Replacement?

Physical activity is the key to reducing your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis a dangerous blood clot deep inside your body. Walking even short distances promotes blood circulation, so during the day, get up every one to two hours and walk across the room. Point and flex your ankles frequently while seated. Also, remember to take your prescribed blood-thinning medication.

Symptoms of a blood clot include:

  • New or increased swelling of the affected leg that doesn’t go down in the morning or after elevation
  • Pain when you touch your calf in a distinct area that doesn’t subside with ice, elevation and pain medication

If you have one of these symptoms, contact our office immediately for guidance. If the office is closed, a doctor will be on call.

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Stay Connected With Your Surgeon

Lajam asks her patients to come in for an x-ray, or at least call and check in, every year or two for life. Mechanical pieces can fail, or you could trip or fall and knock something loose and damage it and make it wear faster, she said.

If your implant gets worn or damaged, you can consider a revision knee replacement surgery. Whats a revision knee replacement surgery? Its a procedure to replace some or all of the artificial joint if it becomes damaged or worn. Surgeons can replace just the plastic piece if thats whats needed, or the entire implant if the damage is more severe.

What The Procedure Is Like

Also called arthroplasty, knee replacement is a procedure to resurface the damaged parts of your knee that have been causing you pain.

The knee is the meeting place for three basic bones: the tibia and femur meet at the joint and are each capped with cartilage to absorb the shock of everyday movement. Resting between them is a freestanding bone called the patella . Often using a spinal anesthetic like an epidural used in childbirth a knee replacement procedure involves an incision over the knee that allows your surgeon to resurface the tibia, femur, and patella with metal and plastic components to restore the cushioning you need to move your knee comfortably.

There are two general kinds of knee replacement surgery: partial and total.

In a partial knee replacement , only a portion of the knee joint is replaced. This procedure may be recommended for patients who have damage limited to just one area of the knee. Because a partial knee replacement is done through a smaller incision, the recovery time in the hospital is often shorter and people can resume their usual activities sooner. However, more surgery may be needed in the future if other parts of the knee become damaged.

Your surgeon will discuss which type of surgery is right for you based on your medical history and risk factors.

While patients will need help in the first weeks after surgery, most people will get their feet under them and regain independence at about six weeks after the procedure.

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Dont Forget The Scar Cream

Use scar cream and an aloe based lotion often. I always applied it first thing in the morning as well as before and after my 3 exercise sessions.

It is inexpensive and ensures the scar is hydrated, making it more comfortable to bend especially during my range of motion exercises. At my age, I wasnt as worried about the cosmetic appearance of the scar, but if you are concerned, apply the scar cream often.

How To Make An Appointment With Our Joint Replacement Specialists

How long does it take to recover from Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?

If you experience symptoms of a hip replacement failure or knee replacement failure, schedule an appointment to see one of our orthopedic surgeons who specialize in joint replacements. You can get a referral from your primary care provider or another provider, or you can contact us directly by calling 801-587-7109 to schedule a consultation.

Some insurance plans require that you get a referral from your primary care provider to see a specialist. Check with your insurance provider before you make an appointment to find out if you need a referral. Your insurance carrier will help answer any questions about your coverage and costs for hip or knee revision surgery.

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Knee Replacement Recovery Tips

Here’s some top tips for four common questions about total knee replacement recovery time:

  • How Long Does The Pain Last? Many people find they have less pain after their knee replacement as the arthritis pain is no longer there. The post-op pain usually settles down within 6-12 weeks although their may be some residual pain and swelling for up to a year.
  • How Do I Sleep After A Knee Replacement? Typically people find it most comfy to sleep on a firm mattress, either lying on their back or on their side with a pillow between their legs.
  • Can I Kneel Down With My Knee Replacement? Yes you can although it may be uncomfortable in which case use a cushion or knee pad. Kneeling won’t cause any damage to the knee replacement and certainly won’t delay your knee replacement recovery time.
  • How Do I Make the Best Recovery? In order to make the best knee replacement recovery, follow all the advice from your doctor and physical therapist. Start exercises prior to surgery, get up and about as soon as possible, stick to your rehab program, take medications regularly when advised and keep going. There may be ups and downs along the way, but stay focused and positive
  • You can find the answers to loads more similar questions in the total knee replacement recovery questions section.

    Focus On Your Surgeon Not On The Device Or Technique

    Newer technologies like computer navigation can help surgeons be more precise in how they position the implant components during knee replacement surgery. But theres a lot of information to sift through.

    Between advertising, the internet and conversations with other people whove had knee replacements, you may have questions about your prosthesis and your surgeons technique.

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    Try To Recover Using The Least Possible Pain Medicine

    The first 7-10 days after surgery, you will be struggling with chemical pain induced by the trauma that your knee has undergone. Marines, and other really tough guys get humbled by this pain and you do yourself a grave disservice to try to muscle through this period. You will waste valuable time feeling poorly and will have limited success advancing your range of motion, the most improtant goal. This tactic will also ensure that you are taking narcotic pain medication for a longer period.

    However if you take your pain meds as prescribed, and work hard, you can be off narcotic pain medicine in two weeks or at least by the time you finish gaining back your range of motion. Gotta get the range then you can back off pain medicine.

    Different Types Of Knee Replacement Surgeries

    How long is knee replacement recovery?

    You may wonder whether robotic knee replacement surgery is better. You might come across information about different types of knee replacement surgeries and the latest developments in knee replacement surgery, minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, lateral knee replacement surgery, alternative knee replacement surgery techniques and robotic versus traditional knee replacement surgery.

    Springer says it can be hard for people to sift through the conflicting information they find. People come in and say they want a certain type of prosthesis, or a specific technique or technology, he said.

    Surgeons usually have reasons for choosing the devices and techniques they use. I tell patients to focus on researching your surgeon. Once youve found a surgeon you mesh with, have an open and honest discussion of techniques and technologies to find whats best for you, Springer said.

    Knee replacement is major surgery, so its natural for people to look for easier alternatives. They sometimes ask about non-invasive knee replacement surgery. But its impossible to perform surgery non-invasively. They also ask about cartilage replacement knee surgery. That can work, according to the Arthritis Foundation, but its typically recommended for people who have injured their cartilage.

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    Three Factors That Can Affect How Long It Takes To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery:

  • Your condition before surgery A body that is fit, well hydrated and energetic tends to take less time to recover from surgeries. However, the pain you feel from your injury might make it tough to meet these goals. Physical therapists offer pre-surgical rehab that can help reduce your pre-surgical pain. This service can help strengthen your body and prepare you for surgery, too.
  • Additional medical issues How long it takes to recover from knee replacement surgery can also be affected by other medical problems you have. Some examples of issues that can slow your recovery include:
  • How Successful Is Surgery

    Orthopedic surgeons have strict criteria to follow when deciding if a partial knee replacement is suitable to ensure they work and Physical Therapists are specially trained to help you make the best knee replacement recovery possible.

    Studies looking at partial knee replacement recovery have shown that after:

    • 10 years: approx 98% of partial knee replacements are still working
    • 20 years: approx 92% are still working – 7% higher than Total Knee Replacements

    Occasionally the fittings may come loose or arthritis may develop in the other side of the knee in which case a total knee replacementwill be performed. For more information see the risks and problems page.

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    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.

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    How Long Does It Take To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery!

    The success rate for knee replacement surgery is high. Overall, its a widely successful surgery, Dr. Bryan D. Springer, fellowship director of the OrthoCarolina Hip and Knee Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a spokesperson for the AAOS, told TODAY. If you look across all surgeries its one of the most frequently utilized thats based on success.

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    Prepare Your Home Before Surgery

    Its a good idea to prepare your home for your recovery before you go to the hospital for your surgery. That way, when you return with a walker or cane, you can easily move around your living space. Also, youll want to be sure to have a comfortable chair and ottoman where you can rest and elevate your knee, so you dont have to stay in bed.

    How Do You Know If You Need Knee Replacement Surgery

    Each patient is unique, which is why it is essential to schedule an examination and testing with an experienced sports medicine doctor. Our team will determine a diagnosis before deciding if you need to schedule a date for surgery. The preference is always to use minimally-invasive treatments first before surgery is necessary.

    But there are times when surgery is required. Whether the minimally-invasive treatments arent working, or youve had a severe injury, you might need to schedule surgery to achieve the recovery you desire.

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