What To Avoid With Knee Stiffness After Knee Replacement
Approaches you should avoid when coping with knee stiffness after surgery:
- Aggressively massaging or manipulating the joint
- Bearing your full body weight on the joint before your surgeon says its OK
- Forcing the knee to bend beyond a comfortable range-of-motion
- Increasing your physical activity too quickly
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers unless advised to do so by your surgeon
Lastly, you may be able to avoid some postoperative knee stiffness by losing weight, if youre overweight. This also might extend the life of your new knee implant.
Tips To Speed Your Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery
Nearly half of American adults will develop knee arthritis at some point during their lives. Pain, stiffness, and limited mobility are often the result of knee arthritis. Knee replacement surgery can relieve pain and restore function when your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury. The average recovery time from knee replacement surgery is approximately six months, but it can take roughly 12 months to fully return to physically demanding activities. Though the recovery process can be long, there are steps you can take to heal well and enhance your recovery speed.
Common Symptoms After Surgery
Your incision will be swollen, bruised and may be red after surgery. These symptoms are common and part of the healing process. The following symptoms are also common after surgery:
- temperature below 101.6 F
- warmth or numbness around your incision
- spotty drainage, red or clear in color, lasting for one to five days
It is important to monitor your symptoms every day to make sure your incision is healing properly.
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Rehab Begins One Step At A Time
Rehab after knee surgery begins slowly, but almost immediately. Its important to get in and out of bed that same day, walk a few steps, and learn how to use the continuous passive motion machine, which youll also be using at home as you start the recovery process.
Within the first 24 hours after surgery, you begin standing and walking on your new knee with the help of a walker and your physical therapist. We start you off with gentle, muscle-strengthening exercises and guide you through each move so you know how to safely take your first steps with your new knee.
What Do I Need At Home After Knee Replacement
Here are some of the must-haves after knee surgery :
- Adjustable Cane
- Long-Handled Graspers/Reachers
I have a whole sheet that I give patients that lists all of these things from strongly suggested to as desired items, Dr. Lyon says. The key is getting these things set up before the surgery.
Another thing to remember regarding what to expect after knee replacement surgery is that you will have to ice your operative knee.
To do so, youll need plenty of ice on hand, so put a bag into your freezer, invest in over-the-counter cool gel packs, or ensure your refrigerators ice machine is working properly before your procedure.
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Problems Of Stiffness After Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement surgery involves your orthopedic surgeon removing all components of your knee everything from the topmost part of the lower leg bone to the bottom portion of the upper leg bone and replacing the components with an internal prosthetic knee. Although this new knee should theoretically not have the same issues of pain and stiffness as before, there can still be complications that cause knee pain and stiffness.
If youve had a knee replacement and are experiencing stiffness, let your surgeon know. In the meantime, lets explore why this can become a problem for knee replacement patients, and where you can go in the Greater Kansas City area for top-notch orthopedic care and treatment for knee pain.
Why Is Knee Warm After Total Knee Replasment
Basically, the body increases blood flow to the knee region to support the healing process. This increased blood flow results in the warmth, swelling and redness often experienced by the patient. As the healing process progresses, the warmth, swelling and redness dissipate. The warmth can take 6 months or longer to resolve.
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Weeks After Surgery And Beyond
Now that youre stronger and more confident moving with your new knee, the frequency of in-person physical therapy sessions may start to decrease around 12 weeks after surgery. But youll need to continue your physical therapy exercises at home.
At TRIA, our physical therapists will create personalized home routines to help you reach your goals to return to regular activities and hobbies. These routines will be an important part of your continued recovery after a knee replacement. Full recovery from a knee replacement, on average, can take up to one year.
What Are The Top Three Commonly Reported Problems After A Knee Replacement
- Side Effects of Medication
- Drainage or Greater Than Expected Bleeding
- Swelling and Bruising at the Surgical Site
Side Effects of Medication
After youve been given anesthesia and pain medication, you may experience nausea, decreased appetite, stomach discomfort, and constipation. This is commonly what to expect after knee replacement surgery.
The older you are, the more likely you will experience constipation, particularly when using narcotics and iron, which are frequently used to build up the blood count after surgery.
Drainage or Greater Than Expected Bleeding
Drainage that comes from the knee incision is expected. Blood and serous fluid, which is a yellowish thick translucent-looking fluid , will drain for up to one and a half weeks after surgery.
Swelling and Bruising at the Surgical Site
Swelling and bruising at the surgical site is normal. Sometimes bruising will travel up or down the leg. Among what to expect after knee replacement surgery, you should know that blood thinners are often given to decrease the risk of blood clots.
This causes more bleeding at the surgical site resulting in increased swelling and bruising.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Knee Replacement
For most people, it will take three months after surgery before they can do their regular activities again. It may take six months to a year before your knee regains full function.
How quickly you recover from surgery will depend on your:
- how strong your knee was before surgery, and
- whether you have other health problems like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
These diseases weaken your immune system and can slow down healing.
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Follow All Physician Recommendations
Some patients think they can defer the preparation of getting medications ahead of time. They may think they dont need specific durable medical equipment as recommended by their physician.
You really need to listen to your specific physician and what theyre telling you because they know the techniques and how to get good results, Dr. Lyon says. Listen to the team and physician, and theyll guide you. And, some of the best advice youll get is from people who have been through it before.
Preparing Your Home For Knee Replacement Recovery
At IBJI, your care team will support you with a packet of information that details what youll need at home for a successful recovery.
Its vital to secure these itemsalso known as durable medical equipmentahead of your surgery to avoid anxiety and remove the burden on family members to scramble post-surgery.
Reasons Why Scar Tissue Management Is Important
Once scar tissue develops, its essential to work on promoting healthy tissue as soon as possible before possible problems arise. Remodeling the scar makes it so the injured tissue can tolerate the stress and forces the body encounters every day from regular activity. Tissue remodeling can help in three ways:
- Improve range of motion in surrounding joints and muscles
- Restore normal mobility and function
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New Sensations And Feelings After Knee Replacement Surgery
When you have a knee replacement, you may feel different in a few ways. Your knee may feel new and cause you some sensations, but those sensations may fade over time. It should be possible to resume normal activities within six weeks of surgery. However, the pain and swelling can last up to three months after the procedure. It can take up to a year for swelling in the legs to go away. A person who has had knee replacement surgery may notice new sensations and feelings in their knee. These changes may initially appear strange, but they will fade over time. After surgery, it usually takes six weeks for the pain and swelling to go away, but it can take up to three months for the pain and swelling to go away. The recovery process from knee replacement surgery can be lengthy and time-consuming, but in the end, most people see significant improvements in their quality of life. Most people recover in three to six months, and it can take up to a year for them to fully recover and regain full strength. It should be noted that recovery time is measured in days. Dont rush yourself instead, spend time and be patient. Your decision will be well worth it.
Knee Replacement In Greater Kansas City Kansas
Here at Midwest Orthopaedics, our orthopedic surgeons regularly perform knee replacement surgery and our patients love the results. Our medical team makes sure that our patients understand the importance of following the recommendations given during physical therapy, which will help them to achieve optimum results from their knee replacement.
Ours is a full-service orthopedic clinic, and we are partnered with physical therapists who know how to help you begin your rehabilitation right away. We will pair you with a physical therapist who will show you how to get your new knee working safely and completely.
If you are interested in finding out about the best solution for your knee pain, contact our friendly staff at Midwest Orthopaedics today by calling us at or by filling out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you get back to your active lifestyle!
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Flexion And Extension Contracture
Contracture is a shortening of the muscle itself. So, fibrosis is something that sets up, like we talked about, as a spiderweb, and it connects bone to bone. Contracture is an actual shortening of the muscle, the tendon, because its been in a short position for so long. You know that whole use it or lose it? Thats real. That really happens. And so if you dont move that muscle, its going to contract, its going to stay short, because thats all it ever had to do. And thats why sometimes strengthening after a knee replacement takes longer, because you most likely didnt have that range of motion before surgery.
If you had a knee, and that knee was only bending to 70 degrees, then the quadriceps knew that it had to work from 70 to zero, and thats all the quadriceps had to do. And the hamstrings only pulled the knee back to 70 degrees. They didnt pull it back any further, right? So, those muscle fibers that exist after 70 degrees on either side of the joint, theyre on vacation, and they like being on vacation.
And when you ask them to start working again it takes a little bit of time for them to remember what their goal was, what their target was, what their job is.
Scar tissue and swelling after knee replacement are the biggest challenges for most patients. Do your homework and make a plan for your recovery. With a good physical therapist and the right approach to recovery you will get back to your life in no time.
How Long Does It Take For Soft Tissue To Heal After Hip Replacement
In general, most surgeons prefer that you avoid certain positions of the hip that can increase your risk of dislocation of the hip for about 6 weeks following surgery. After 6 weeks the soft tissues involved in the surgery have healed and restrictions are often lifted allowing more vigorous activity.
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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.
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.
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Get Back On Your Feet: Six Tips For A Smooth Recovery After Knee Surgery
May 05, 2022 12:00 AM
University of Utah Health Communications
When it comes to knee surgery to recovery, patience and due diligence are keyespecially during the first three critical weeks that account for 70 percent of healing.
Prepare Your Home
Prior to surgery, its important to prepare your home by stocking up on groceries, clearing pathways for your mobility devices, and removing any tripping hazards. If you dont already own comfortable slip-on shoes, now is the time to buy a pair and start breaking them in.
Get in Pre-Op Shape
Get on the road to recovery before surgery by speaking with your doctor about ways to improve and manage medical conditions that could potentially complicate the healing process. Strength training will also help prepare your body for the challenges ahead.
Follow Doctors Orders
Self-care is of utmost importance during the critical first two weeks of recovery. During this time, you must diligently avoid certain daily activities such as driving and housework and follow your doctors orders, which will include an intensive rest-ice-elevation routine and short daily exercises.
Expect to do some form of physical therapy two to three times per week for up to six weeks, then follow a prescribed exercise plan for the remaining months of recovery. The goal is to fully extend and bend the leg to at least 110 degrees within the first three months.
Dont Overdo It
Watch for Warning Signs
Activities You Cannot Do After Full Recovery
You shouldn’t downhill ski or play contact sports such as football and soccer. In general, avoid sports that require jerking, twisting, pulling, or running. You should be able to do lower-impact activities, such as hiking, gardening, swimming, playing tennis, and golfing.
Other directions you will always need to follow include:
- Take small steps when you are turning. Try not to pivot on the leg that was operated on. Your toes should be pointing straight ahead.
- Do not jerk the leg that was operated on.
- Do not lift too much weight. This will place too much stress on your new knee. This includes grocery bags, laundry, garbage bags, tool boxes, and large pets.
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When Can You Use Heat After Total Knee Replacement
The use of heat is often discouraged in the early stages after a total knee replacement. This is because heat can increase swelling and pain in the joint. However, after the initial healing period, heat can be a helpful way to reduce stiffness and pain in the joint. Always check with your doctor before using heat on the joint.
Do Take Rehabilitation Seriously
When you return home after surgery, its important to follow your doctors instructions carefully. This includes performing all exercise prescribed by your physical therapist even when its uncomfortable. While you may experience some pain and frustration, keep in mind that some experts say 50 percent of a positive outcome is dependent on the patients willingness to work hard in physical therapy and rehab. So try your best to stick with it! The end result will be worth the effort. Taking medications as prescribed and getting plenty of sleep are also important to help your knee heal properly.
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Perform Recommended Exercises To Regain Range Of Motion
You want to regain the arc of movement of the knee as recommended by the physician or therapist.
The most successful patients are generally those that understand that they do the exercises and the therapists are their coaches, cheerleaders, and monitors for those exercises, Dr. Lyon says. Once the patients understand that, they will do well.