Recovering From Knee Replacement Surgery
Successful recovery from your surgery greatly depends on you, the patient. How quickly and how completely you recover depends on a number of factors including how thoroughly you follow your surgeon’s instructions as you begin rehabilitation . Equally important to your recovery time is how well you stick to your therapy and rehab plan at home in the weeks immediately after surgery.
Walk As Soon As Possible
Recovery from joint replacement surgery isnt always easy, but getting back on your feet as soon as the doctor says its okay can help you recover. Walking helps prevent complications like blood clots, improves circulation, and keeps your joints limber. You dont have to wait until you return home after surgery. Most patients can start walking while still in the hospital. Walking helps deliver important nutrients to your knee to help you heal and recover. You can expect to use a walker for the first couple of weeks. Most patients can walk on their own roughly four to eight weeks after knee replacement.
Tips For How To Shorten Your Recovery
Your doctor will provide you with instructions to follow while youre recovering from your knee replacement. You should always rely on your doctors instructions, but with his or her approval, there are certain steps you can take to minimize your recovery time and achieve the best possible results:
- Continue taking pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed.
- Keep up with any exercises or stretches that were recommended by your doctor or your physical therapist.
- Wear supportive shoes.
- Walk around every couple of hours during the day.
- Raise your leg while sitting .
- Apply an ice pack for approximately 20 minutes every three to four hours.
- Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet thats high in Vitamins A and C.
- Avoid kneeling, sitting with your legs crossed, and twisting your knee.
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Follow All Physician Recommendations
You should always heed all of your surgeons instructions and advice. Your surgeon is a medical expert, and they know what recovery looks like and requires. If they prescribe medication, recommend rest, or have other instructions, follow everything as prescribed.
If you fail to follow your surgeons recommendations, you might experience adverse effects that prolong the recovery process beyond the initial time frame. Additionally, if you avoid medications or dont rest when told, you could negatively impact the long-term results of your surgery.
Total Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery
Patients are encouraged to begin ambulation the same day as their knee replacement surgery, with the aid of a walker or other orthopedic device. A patient typically stays in the hospital for 1 to 2 days, and longer if needed. Some may be able to go home the same day of their surgery if their medical team feels it is safe to do so. Patients who require extra attention or do not have home support may be transferred from the hospital to a rehabilitation center, but every effort is made to help the patient return to their home environment with additional support.
Anterior view of a knee that has undergone a total knee replacement.
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Care For Your Incision The Right Way
Believe it or not, many patients go overboard in trying to keep their incision clean. They want to scrub it and remove any scabs that form around it. Or they want to use alcohol or peroxide to keep the area free of germs. Unless your surgeon specifically instructs you to do any of these things, a gentle wash with soap and water is more than adequate.
It may not be pretty, but it is normal to have scabbing on your surgical staples. Removing them could slow the healing process. Similarly, soaking the incision can be harmful because it could weaken the incision line. For this reason, many surgeons recommend showers instead of baths following surgery and often forbid swimming during the early stages of recovery.
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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Knee Replacements In Reno Carson City & Nearby Areas
If you need a knee replacement and youre in Reno, Carson City, or any of the surrounding areas, you can turn to the orthopedic specialists at Tahoe Fracture & Orthopedic Medical Clinic. Were a full-service orthopedic clinic thats been serving this community since 1966, during which time weve treated tens of thousands of patients. Our team is highly experienced in performing knee replacements and other joint replacement procedures.
Start Using The Knee Early
Recovery and rehabilitation must start shortly after you awake from surgery. On the first day, you need to start standing up and walking with an assistive device, like a walker or crutches, with the aid of a physical therapist. Use your artificial knee as soon as you can. Your therapist will guide you through exercises that will increase the strength of your muscles, as well as help you get in and out of bed.
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Dont Do More Exercise Than Recommended
While you need physical therapy and home exercise, its just as important to only participate in the exercises and activities that we approve. The type and amount of exercise thats safe during your recovery depends on the type of joint replacement, the complexity of your surgery, and your overall health. Doing too much too soon can irritate the surgery site, reinjure the joint, and lengthen your recovery.
Pain After Total Knee Replacement
You will experience some postsurgical pain in the area that has been operated on after your knee replacement. This is normal and you will be prescribed medications by your surgeon to attempt to control your pain and bring it within tolerable levels. It is important to remember that, at this stage, it is unrealistic to expect that there will be no pain and so a small amount of soreness in and around the knee is normal. It will take one to two weeks for the postsurgical pain to dissipate however, this does not indicate that the knee has fully healed.
There will be some discomfort in the knee up to around 6 weeks following the surgery and in some patients, this may even persist up to 3 months following the surgery. The pain is caused by a number of factors including the muscles around the knee recovering from the surgery and regaining strength that they have lost as a result of the surgery, as well as other tissues around the knee healing and getting used to the new biomechanics of the knee joint.
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Ways To Improve Your Recovery After Surgery
If surgery is in your future, you may be interested in how you can heal faster, return to work faster, and maybe even get back to the gym faster. Your “need for speed” may be profound, but try to remember that the quality of your recovery matters, too.
An excellent place to begin your recovery journey is with your discharge instructions. Read them carefully, make sure you understand every word, and call your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
In the meantime, 10 post-surgery tips ought to serve you well, ensuring that you heal both quickly and properly.
What To Avoid After Knee Replacement Surgery
Healing takes time so it helps to take some precautions along the way.
- Stay active prolonged sitting can increase the risk of clotting. Straightening and bending your knee will improve mobility.
- void high impact exercise such as running or contact sport or weight training . These activities can place excessive stress on your new knee joint.
- Avoid activities or terrains with a high risk of falling such as ice or mud, skateboarding or skiing.
- Dont pressure yourself to achieve too much, too soon. If you feel increased pain or swelling, it could be time to slow down.
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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 Enjoy A Speedy Recovery From Knee Replacement Surgery
Between the year 2000 and 2010, the rate of total knee replacements performed in the United States nearly doubled for men and women. Among men, the rate increased by 86 percent and among women by 99 percent. In 2010 alone, there were nearly 700,000 replacements completed in adults 45 years and older.
The good news is that the majority of these operations are successful and improve the lives of patients. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says that 90 percent of people who have a knee replacement experience a dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to go about the activities in their daily lives.
Even better news is that the majority of these implants last for 20 or more years after theyre put into place, allowing seniors to maintain high levels of activity far into their golden years. Researchers discovered in one study that 80-year-olds without knee replacements rated 6 out of 10 on an activity level scale while those whod had knee replacements 20 years earlier had an average score of 8.3 indicating that they were still very active and engaged in things like golf, swimming and riding a bike.
These study results were obtained from data of knee replacements completed between 1975 and 1989. Todays replacements are much more advanced and more closely matched to a persons natural anatomy, which means they may last even longer.
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How To Recover Faster From Hip Knee Surgery
Suzanne LevySTORY HIGHLIGHTS
- Recovery can be difficult and patients should be mentally and physically prepared
- Prepare for surgery by getting fit ahead of time and selecting your method of pain management
- Start rehabilitation as soon as possible, but give your body the time it needs to heal
— Knee and hip replacement operations can result in a lot of pain, but surgical techniques have improved significantly in the past 20 years.
Risks such as infection, blood clots, and extreme postsurgical pain have been reduced, refinements in technique and anesthesia have cut recovery time, and implants work better.
Still, recovery can be a long, difficult road for which patients should be mentally and physically prepared.
Pick your pain relief option
New pain relief techniques mean patients can have painkillers delivered efficiently and with greater success. When Judy Street, 67, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, opted for knee replacement because she couldn’t do anything with her grandchildren, she was nervous.
A friend had told her the post-operative pain would be excruciating. But her anesthesiologist gave her two pain control options: a patient-controlled infusion pump delivering pain medicine or a two-day epidural implant that automatically delivers pain relief. She opted for the implant and was pleased that her leg felt pretty much numb in the days after surgery.
Jump right into rehab
Don’t expect miracles
What Is The Timeline For Typical Total Knee Replacement
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Walk As Soon As You Can
Although rest is important, you should still get up and move around when possible. Walking will help prevent blood clots while keeping the joints limber and improving circulation. It will also help pump oxygen and nutrients to your knee to boost recovery. So, take a walk before you ever leave the hospital.
The Oxford Partial Knee Replacement Recovery Time Even Shorter
In many cases today, a TKR is not required. If only one part of the knee is worn out, the patient may be a candidate for a partial replacement, which requires a much smaller incision than a TKR and shorter recovery time.
An Oxford partial knee replacement is a minimally-invasive procedure with excellent results. In fact, the results proved so positive that the Oxford is the first partial knee implant with a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer.
Patients say there is no comparison in the partial knee replacement recovery time, post-surgery pain, and natural motion of the new knee. Read patient testimonials here.
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Tips For Faster Recovery From Knee Replacement
If youve decided to undergo knee replacement surgery, youre probably looking forward to living an active and pain-free life. As you may already know, osteoarthritis resulting from the wear and tear associated with injury or a lifetime of stress on your joints, can create the type of pain that limits activities and greatly affects quality of life. While treatments such as pain medicine, physical therapy, exercise and therapeutic injections may limit the pain you experience, ultimately, replacing the diseased joint with an artificial one has the potential to eliminate pain over the long term. If your intention is to undergo knee replacement surgery for the purpose of stopping your pain, it is in your best interest to do everything you can to ensure a rapid and complete recovery. In fact, there are some specific things that you can do to help your surgeon heal your pain. So, get ready to team up with your orthopedic surgeon, and the rest of your healthcare team. Use these 7 tips for faster recovery from knee replacement and get ready to live pain-free.
Drink And Eat Properly
Many people lose their appetite after having surgery. They may feel nauseated, constipated, or just don’t feel hungry. But staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet after surgery can help promote healing, minimize common complications, and help you get past unwanted side effects of anesthesia.
You may need help modifying your diet, so don’t be shy about asking for help. Your provider probably has plenty of practical ideas for you until your appetite returns.
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Work On Your Walking Form
Pre-surgery my leg was bowed and walked with a noticeable limp. Once you start walking after TKR you may have to relearn to walk correctly.
My in-home therapist made it a point to walk behind me reminding me to walk with proper form. On your other walks, have your caregiver or walking partner critique your walking form.
Discard those old shoes that show wear from walking incorrectly.
If you can, video record you walking form before surgery and then have your walking partner video your new form occasionally.
Waste Time On The Easy Exercises
Its simple. Human beings seek pleasure and avoid pain. The harder exercises like bending your knee) can be tough but they get massively better each day if you just stay at it. Many people are adept at avoiding the tough exercises by working extra on the easy exercises and guess what they will prolong their recovery time from total knee replacement, an outcome that virtually no one wants.
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What Are Risks And Complications Of Knee Replacement
Complications of knee replacement surgery include:
- Blood clot in the deep veins of the leg
- A DVT can be deadly if it travels to the lungs so see a doctor if you have symptoms that could indicate a DVT, such as leg pain or swelling