How Long Do You Need To Elevate Leg After Knee Surgery
Keep your operated leg elevated at a minimum of a 45-degree angle. Prop your leg on cushions or pillows so your knee is at least 12 inches above your heart for the first three to five days after surgery. Keep your leg elevated if your knee swells or throbs when you are up and about on crutches.
Find Out Your State Or Surgeons Protocol For Narcotic Refills
Patients are are now seeing a real bottleneck when attempting to get refills on narcotic pain meds. There are unwieldy regulatory hoops to jump through that differ by state all in the name of solving the opioid crisis. Some will limit the initial script to only a few days and mandate an in person doctor visit to get a refill.
Make sure you find out what the system entails before you are about to run out on a Friday night at 4pm and make sure you surgeons is committed to getting you enough quality meds to get you through the first two weeks.
Again its not impossible to make it through that time period without narcotics, but your rehab effectiveness goes down drastically, why waste that time?
Needless to say, you wont be sleeping well after your knee replacement surgery if you neglect this task.
How Do You Get Out Of Bed After Knee Replacement Surgery
Sometimes getting in bed is harder than getting out of bed. Weakness in the hip and thigh makes flexing the hip to get the surgical leg into bed a monumental challenge. Regardless of whether you are getting in or out of bed, the recommendation is to use a log roll position. Turn to your side facing the edge of the bed. It is preferred to have the surgical leg resting on top of the non-surgical leg. As you slide both feet and lower legs off the side of the bed your hands will push your torso up so you will be sitting in the middle edge of the bed.
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What Is Preventing You From Sleeping Well And Exercising Regularly
If your health goals for managing KOA have gotten off track, you may be unsure of where to focus your energy. Did your restless sleep lead to depression, which then kept you from exercising? Or did your knee pain keep you from being active, which led to weight gain and feeling down?
How Do I Elevate My Leg After Knee Surgery
A wedge pillow is a great option for elevating your leg after a total knee replacement or ACL reconstruction. A wedge pillow may be purchased in different sizes and heights.
These pillows come with different coverings. Some are cotton and removable for easily cleaning while others are vinyl and easily wiped down.
If you dont have a wedge pillow you may stack multiple pillows in a manner that would allow you to raise your ankle above the level of your heart.
In the video below I share some examples of a three stack pillow system.
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Safe Sleeping Positions: Dos And Donts
Not being able to sleep in your go-to position can certainly keep you up at night. Unfortunately, when it comes to the safety of your new artificial implant, there are some positions that are off-limits. Its important that you stick to safe positions and pay attention to your body.
Around the 6 week mark, once your physician gives you the greenlight, you may be able to return to sleeping in your preferred position . Until then, stick to these positions.
Safe Hip Replacement Sleeping Positions:
Physicians Note: Sleep restrictions are tied to stability precautions. There are more sleep precautions for the posterior approach than the anterior approach. Ask your physician about positional precautions for sleeping to see if she/he have any for your joint replacement type. For instance, Dr. Tiberi adds that, The position recommendations are variable. Personally, I dont have any hip replacement position restrictions on sleep.
Note: It is not safe to sleep on your stomach after hip replacement surgery. Do not attempt to lie in this position. It is also unsafe to sleep on your surgical side. Consult your doctor to see if there are other positions you should avoid. After the 6 week mark, speak to your care team again to see if its safe for you to return to other sleeping positions.
Safe Knee Replacement Sleeping Positions:
The Best Sleeping Position For Shoulder Pain
For any shoulder pain, pillows can again come in handy to help you get a good nights rest. Side sleepers should lay on their unaffected arm and use pillows to prop the suffering shoulder in a comfortable position. Its also suggested that back sleepers should prop the arm in a comfortable position, again using pillows. Often, the best sleeping position for shoulder pain is to form some sort of barrier with the pillows to prevent you rolling over and landing on the affected shoulder.
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Does Your Doctor Support Your Efforts To Sleep Well
Make sure you talk with your doctor about all aspects of your knee osteoarthritis. Primary care physicians can be a great source for referrals and resources, says Gilbert. Whether youre looking for a mindfulness class or an exercise group, your doctor may be able to point you in the right direction. I encourage my patients to do as much as they can and not feel limited by their arthritis, says Gilbert.
If your doctor isnt asking you about your sleep, it may be up to you to begin the conversation. Ask about assessment tools such as the Sleep Health Index, which can help determine if you have restless sleep and how it may be impacting your life.
Use Pillows Lots Of Pillows
As with most injuries, elevation is an excellent idea and necessary to promote comfort and healing. When wearing your knee brace to bed, its best to sleep on your back. In this position, you can place pillows below your knee to keep it elevated above your heart. You will likely need three or more cushions to keep it raised high enough.
If you struggle to stay on your back while you sleep, placing pillows firmly at your sides can also provide a barrier to keep you from rolling, twisting your knee, and causing more pain. The most comfortable option that I highly recommend is using two BioPEDIC Body Pillows on either side of you, and a Natures Guest Adjustable Cervical Pillow to keep you from rolling over on your stomach, preventing more damage. Then using a regular pillow to elevate the leg above your heart.
For those who struggle to sleep on their back, side sleeping can be achieved with a pillow between your knees. This will help keep the knee and hip in alignment to prevent further injury.
There is no recommended side to sleep on instead, experiment with comfort and whichever side you can stay on without too much movement through the night. In this position, hug a pillow to your stomach and place pillows at your back to serve as a reminder to take care when changing to a new position.
Twisting Your Back Or Neck
Proper positioning of the legs is key for leg elevationbut that doesnt mean you can ignore your upper body! Whether you lie down completely flat or prop your head and shoulders up on a regular pillow, you should make sure that your posture is straight and your spine isnt twisted or crooked. After all, the last thing you need on top of circulation issues is neck or back pain. Once youre lying down, you should be able to mentally draw a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone. If you cant do this, then youre probably twisting your neck or back .
What Is Pain Catastrophizing And What Can You Do About It
Pain catastrophizing is when pain becomes such a huge focus that the person becomes helpless and feels like pain has taken over their life. It leads to a heightened emotional response to pain and increased pain perception, says Gilbert. A person who is in this state of mind may feel like the pain will never end, like they can’t deal with the pain, and they cant do anything else because of the pain.
Focusing your efforts on sleeping better can help your mood and reduce pain catastrophizing, according to research published in the journal Pain. People with KOA and insomnia received either sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy focusing on helping them sleep better or a placebo, which was behavior desensitization. Not only did cognitive therapy help the insomnia group sleep better, it also significantly decreased their pain catastrophizing.
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Not Raising Your Legs Above The Heart
Lying down and propping your feet up on a single, shallow pillow will do you some good, but it wont help you nearly as much good as getting your feet above your heart. Gravity pulls on your blood and other fluids, pulling them down towards your feet, so your heart has to constantly work against gravity whenever you stand, sit, walk and otherwise remain upright. However, once you lie down and position the lower legs above the heart, youll be able to harness the power of gravity to encourage the blood to drain back towards your core, which makes the leg elevation process way more efficient and effective. This means you can get the same results in less time.
Sleeping On Your Back
The best sleeping position just after your surgery is sleeping on your back. You should make sure that your operative leg stays as straight as possible to avoid hypertension of the knee and keep proper blood flow to the surgery site.If you are sleeping on your back, put the pillow under your calf and knee. This will not only cushion the knee from pressure but also keep your leg straight. If your pillow is flat, use a second pillow. You must, however, avoid placing the pillow under your foot, as it will put stress on your knees and increase your pain.
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What Causes Knee Pain While Sleeping
There are several causes of knee pain while sleeping, many of which can be treated with exercise, pain reduction practices, and over pain medication.
Arthritis Osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee pain while sleeping among people over the age of 50. In fact, when examining the knee with radiography, up to 70% of people with chronic knee pain will show evidence of arthrosis, according to a study published in the British Journal of Medicine. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder, which means that the cartilage is exhausted. When the cartilage is depleted, open bones contract, which can be very painful.
Gout it is the most common cause of knee knee pain while sleeping. Gout occurs when your body is unable to break down uric acid, which is a waste product of many types of food. Instead of being passed into your urine, uric acid builds up in your bloodstream, causing crystals to form in joints such as the knee. This causes swelling, severe pain and swelling in the knee.
Patelllar Tendonitis also called patellar tendonitis, is an inflammation of the tendon that connects your knee to your shinbone. Tendonitis feels like pain under your knee. The condition is also called jumper knee because it often bothers people who play football, hockey, volleyball and other types of sports where jumping and turning are frequent.
How To Prevent knee pain while sleeping
Tips On Sleeping With A Pillow Between Your Legs
Several factors can affect your ability to sleep well with a pillow between the legs. It mostly comes down to the kind of pillow you use, as not all regular pillows do well between the knees.
You will want a pillow that is firm enough to keep your hips and spine aligned. At the same time, it has to be soft enough that you can avoid feeling any stiffness. Here are some tips for finding the right pillow and for you to get the most out of the side sleeping position.
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Reasons Why Youre Not Sleeping At Night
Depending on the stage of recovery youre in, there may be a few things contributing to your lack of sleep. Pain is a likely underlying reason youre awake at night. In addition to the pain culprit, there are other contributors that are creating your perfect storm of sleeplessness. Lets break em all down.
When will I start sleeping again? Theres no clear-cut answer for this. However, around the 6 week mark you should be experiencing less pain, be off pain medications that cause side effects, and you will likely get the green light from your care team to sleep in more comfortable positions.
Reduces Strain On Heart Muscles
Our heart is a vital organ and is responsible for pumping blood through our entire body. When were sitting or standing, the blood in our legs has to work against gravity to travel back to our hearts.
If we elevate our legs, especially above our heart, this relieves this organ from the hard work it does to pump blood all day. Putting our legs up can help to improve blood flow and facilitate a healthy body.
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Should I Sleep With My Leg Elevated After Knee Surgery
Yes, elevating your leg after knee surgery will reduce the chances of excessive swelling as well as help improve knee extension range of motion.
The most common recommendation is to sleep flat on your back with your knee straight and the ankle raised above the level of your heart.
If you are not able to sleep on your back because of back pain, spinal stenosis, sciatica, or sleep apnea, then click on this link to read Sleeping After Knee Replacement 3 Best Positions.
The Dos And Donts Of Leg Elevation
Learning how to elevate the feet in the correct manner can mean the difference between speedy healing, reduced pain and improved blood flow and a slew of negative results, such as increased pain, swelling and risk of infection. Follow these dos and donts to ensure that youre not elevating the legs the wrong way.
- Do: Lie flat on your back. As tempting as it is to elevate while youre sitting upright, its much more beneficial if you start with a flat back. Why? The legs must be elevated to a level above the heartits all about gravity!
- Dont:Sit in a recliner.The key here is to make sure that your upper body, primarily your heart, is positioned at an angle below the legs. Unfortunately, you cant easily accomplish this if youre sitting upright in a recliner or a regular chair.
- Do:Use an elevation aid.As you can see, getting the proper angles and height right is key to proper leg elevation, and using a foot rest pillow can help you achieve these specifications without sacrificing comfort or setting up a new rig every time you need to elevate.
- Dont:Prop your legs up on a table.You wont get the angle right by propping your legs up on a table, or any other surface for that matter, and the hard surface may cause additional pain and discomfort. Always use an elevation pillow for feet to ensure safe, comfortable healing.
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Take Doctor Prescribed Medications
It is likely that your doctor will recommend that you take some medications before you go to bed to effectively manage the pain in your knee and help you sleep better.
The most commonly prescribed medications for oral consumption are non-steroidal analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen , ibuprofen , or naproxen sodium .
Consider taking a dietary supplement called glucosamine, which helps improve the joints mobility and the healing process .
Some people might also find relief by rubbing the affected knee with creams containing a numbing agent, such as lidocaine, or capsaicin.
Depending on your individual case, your doctor may also prescribe you some stronger pain relievers or may inject a steroid in your knee joint to ease your pain and relieve the swelling and stiffness.
Always make sure to contact your health care provider immediately if you experience any allergic reaction or if you notice that your pain either gets worse or fails to subside.
Elevating Your Legs If You Have Certain Medical Conditions
Leg elevation is an easy-to-use, gentle technique that can benefit people of almost any age and health status. However, there are two groups of patients who may be unable to elevate their legs due to preexisting conditions. Patients with severe Congestive Heart Failure may experience shortness of breath while lying flat, and therefore may be unable to elevate their legs. Secondly, patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease may feel pain in their feet when their legs are elevated because the arterial blood has to push against gravity to get through the legs. Patients who suffer from either of these conditions should thoroughly discuss leg elevation with their doctor before attempting it.
Leg elevation is so simple practically anyone can do itbut even so, mistakes are still possible. Following the proper technique will result in the most comfortable, efficient leg elevation experience possible, so keep these 15 mistakes in mind whenever you elevate your legs.
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