Will I Have Severe Pain After Knee Replacement Surgery
Pain is to be expected after the initial knee replacement, but it should not be severe. The first few days after surgery should include the highest level of pain, but your doctor will send you home with pain medication adequate for your pain level.
Most people fully recover from knee replacement surgery in about six months. There may be a small amount of pain and soreness for the duration of the healing process, but this is normal. If you find yourself in severe pain after knee replacement surgery, call your doctor. You could be experiencing complications that require additional treatment.
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Prepare A Recovery Area
Due to mobility limitations, you will likely do a lot of sitting during the first few weeks after your return from the hospital.
Designate a recovery area with a sturdy chair to relax in. The chair should be high enough that it is easy to sit down and get up from. It should have arms and a solid back so you dont fall.
A recliner is a good choice because you can elevate your legs. Place a sturdy footstool in front of your chair if you dont have a recliner. Some chairs have a device to tilt you slightly forward, making it easier to get up.
Your recovery area should also contain items within arms reach, in case you need them quickly.
Consider having the following items on hand near your chair:
Exercises To Start Learning Now
During your course of care, your physical therapist will teach you individualized exercises that target your specific limitations. However, nearly everyone has the same goal at the beginning of therapy: get the knee moving!
It can be difficult to get the knee moving right after surgery, but its important. Getting to a physical therapist as soon as possible can help knee movement feel more comfortable over time.
Two common exercises prescribed at the onset of your care are quad sets and heel slides. These work on straightening and bending theyre crucial to your full recovery.
1. Quad sets work on strengthening the quadriceps muscle. It is responsible for straightening the knee, and plays a large role in your single leg balance, squatting, and stair-climbing. They can be performed lying on your back, sitting with your legs outstretched in front of you, or standing and with/without a towel roll under your knee or ankle. Hold times and repetitions will vary depending upon your needs.
2. Heel slides work on bending the knee. It is important to restore normal mobility for squatting, stairs, etc. and help to decrease swelling in the knee. They can be performed lying on your back or sitting and with/without a strap or towel. Hold times and repetitions will vary depending upon your needs.
JACO Rehab wishes you the best of luck with your upcoming surgery. We encourage you to reach out to us with any questions!
Call 381-8947 or e-mail for more information.
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What To Expect From Knee Replacement Exercises
Exercise is one of the keys to knee replacement recovery. In the early days, exercise helps reduce blood clot risk. Staying on track with your physical therapy program helps speed healing and strengthen muscles, letting you get back to your normal life sooner.
Immediately after surgery, your surgeon or physical therapist may use a Continuous Passive Motion machine. The CPM elevates and gently rotates your knee while in bed to help improve blood circulation and move the muscles.
While you are in the hospital, a physical therapist or your nurse will lead you through a series of exercises within a few hours post-surgery. These moves may be uncomfortable at first but are crucial to preventing blood clots, strengthening your muscles, and improving your knee movement. They also help you have a faster, less painful recovery.
Some of the exercises you may be asked to perform include:
- Quadricep sets
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Preventing Or Avoiding Total Knee Replacement
If injections and Physical Therapy have failed to provide pain and function improvements, a scope surgery may help put off or avoid an otherwise inevitable total knee replacement.
Knee replacement surgery is a much more involved and drastic change of structures to the knee compared to a knee scope.
This makes knee replacement recovery much longer and more difficult.
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Knee Replacement Recovery Tips
Here’s some top tips for four common questions about total knee replacement recovery time:
You can find the answers to loads more similar questions in the total knee replacement recovery questions section.
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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Living With A Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement may greatly improve function, but most patients will not be able to do more than they did before the onset of arthritis.
A replacement knee may feel different than a natural knee. One small study3 found that most people report being aware of their new knees even 12 months after surgery. Their awareness was most notable when climbing stairs, kneeling, or rising from a chair. About half of the people in the study also reported symptoms such as knee stiffness , swelling, crackling, or numbness.
These symptoms can exist even though overall knee function is improved and knee pain is decreased. These symptoms do not mean the knee replacement surgery was not successful or that patients regretted having the surgery.
Here Are Some Of The Reasons You Might Need Knee Surgery:
- Stiffness in the joint and pain makes it difficult to walk, stand up, or climb stairs
- You often have swelling in the knee area
- Chronic pain bothers you when resting
- The pain is disrupting your sleep
- The knee has defects or is bowed
- Medication and physical therapy havent been effective in managing the pain
If you can relate to any of these symptoms, then its time to talk to a sports medicine doctor about your treatment options.
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Why Get Knee Replacement Surgery
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that progressively wears down the protective tissues at the ends of bone , then the pain may be too much to bear and warrant knee replacement surgery. Rheumatoid arthritis may have destroyed the knee joint to the point that you are experiencing debilitating pain and/or deformity. If function has become severely compromised and you have difficulty walking, climbing stairs, or getting in and out of chairs, knee replacement surgery may also be called for.
An orthopedic surgeon will examine your X-rays to assess the damage and will check your stability, strength, and range of motion in order to determine if you are a candidate for surgery.
During knee replacement surgery damaged cartilage and bone is cut away from the kneecap, thighbone, and shinbone, and replaced with a primarily metal implant made up of high-grade plastics, polymers, and metal parts. Depending on the surgical technique, you’ll be under general anesthesia or regional anesthesia in which strategic nerve blocks temporarily disable your pain receptors, for approximately 2 hours.
If knee pain from knee arthritis or knee injury is reducing your quality of life and limiting mobility, then a visit to an orthopedic surgeon is your first stop.
Common Anterior Hip Replacement Recovery Questions
When Can I Use The Stairs
- As soon as you feel comfortable and stable
When Can I Drive Again
- Driving depends on which hip had surgery and your individual use of pain medications but often patients start driving after 1-2 weeks
When Can I Resume Sexual Activity
- Sexual activity can be resumed at your comfort so long as anterior hip precautions are abided by
When Can I Return To Work
- It all depends on what you do for work, patients with sedentary jobs can return as early as 1 week, others with high impact jobs may require 4-6 weeks.
When Can I Start Exercising
- Walking starts day 1
- Non-impact exercises like the exercise bike, swimming, and elliptical can be started within 1 week of surgery
- Heavy impact exercises like tennis and weight lifting can be resumed after 6 weeks
When Can I Travel On An Airplane?
- 2-4 weeks after a hip replacement with restrictions. Please speak to the office about air travel recommendations as it can vary from patient to patient
Will I require antibiotics for dental cleanings or dental work?
- Dental work poses a risk for infection close to surgery so it is recommended you wait 4 weeks after surgery prior to any dental work. Additionally, for 3 months from the date of surgery, Dr. Martin recommends an antibiotic for any dental work. After this time period, the dentists or treating specialist will decide.
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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.
Preparing For Knee Replacement Surgery
Having a recovery and rehabilitation plan in place will help reduce your hospital stay, accelerate strength and mobility gains, and improve your overall outcomes. The key to preparation is following all the pre- and post-surgery guidelines your doctor gives you.
In addition to making sure your space is clear of any loose cords, rugs, or other tripping hazards, heres a preparation list to have at the ready so that your recovery is as smooth, speedy, and pain-free as possible:
- A ride to and from the hospital
- A family member or professional health aid to help with cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc.
- A walker or crutches
- A downstairs bedroom or cot for your convalescence
- Remotes, books, water, medications, etc. at your bedside
- Safety bars or a secure handrail in the shower or bath
- Secure stairway handrails
- Chair with firm seat cushion and back, and footstool for elevation
- Bench or chair for shower
- Toilet-seat riser for a low toilet
Your surgeon may also prescribe a continuous passive motion machine that slowly straightens and bends the affected leg while you lay on your back or sit halfway upright. It can be used for up to 8 hours a day between physical therapy sessions and sleeping and has been shown to help patients regain range of motion faster.
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Knee Replacement Recovery Exercises
Although you will be advised on specific exercises that you can do by your physical therapist, the exercises that you should focus on the most, particularly in the early recovery period, are exercises that work on range of motion, degree of bend in the knee as well as developing strength in the quadriceps muscles. As soon as you feel you are able to get onto a stationary or recumbent bike, you should do so. This is an excellent exercise as it is very low impact, but works on range of motion and strength, and the knee and can be aided by the contralateral side.
Working on range of motion and strength can be achieved by dangling your leg over the side of a chair or bed and extending the knee so that the leg is fully outstretched and holding it against gravity for several seconds before then allowing gravity to bend the knee again. This is a very simple exercise, but also very effective and can be done anywhere with relative ease and does not require any special equipment.
Knee Replacement Exercises To Avoid
Most patients who are motivated try to do too much too quickly and will want to get into the weight room to work on strengthening their knee before the knee is ready to do this. Particular exercises that you should avoid are resisted knee extensions, as these place a great deal of stress on the patellofemoral joint and will aggravate and exacerbate pain unnecessarily especially in the early postoperative period. It is also unnecessary to perform any resisted squats too early on in your recovery. Body weight squats up against a wall are usually a good place to start and over time, you should be able to gradually work your way back up to weighted squats.
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Install Fall Prevention Equipment
While you wont be walking much right after your knee surgery, its inevitable that youll need to move around your house. Walking is an essential part of your recovery.
A loss of balance and a need for space can increase the risk of a fall. Apart from decluttering, other preventive measures include:
- installing a handrail in the bathtub or shower and next to the toilet
- having a bath mat ready to prevent slipping
No 7 A Fresh Pair Of Shoes
If youre like me, maybe you have a pair of shoes that you love. Maybe its the look, or maybe their comfortable so you keep them clean and looking like new.
Most people dont realize it but shoes wear down over time. We tend to get comfortable with our shoes plus they can be a considerable investment .
During your rehabilitation, you should be walking and doing physical therapy. Dont take my word for it. According to Livestrong, running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. Of course you wont be running but even if you walk, youll reach 300 miles in no time at all.
For your TKR recovery choose a pair of shoes that are for exercise these can be worn around the house as well. We like a good pair of Nike Air Max because of the extra air cushion in the heel.
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How Long Will I Be On Pain Medication After My Knee Replacement Surgery
Every patient experiences recovery from a knee replacement surgery differentially and as such, everyone will require pain medication at different intervals and for different amounts of time. There is no standard approach to this, although generally we do expect patients to be weaned off their narcotic analgesics within 2 to 3 weeks of the surgery and by 6 weeks after the surgery should only be requiring occasional Tylenol or a less potent analgesic to control their pain.
With that being said, there are a number of different factors that can affect a persons ability to tolerate pain medication or indeed their ability to have the pain medication kill their pain. As such, each medication regimen will be tailored to the individual. It is important to regularly communicate with your surgeon or healthcare provider regarding your experience of the pain and your current pain medication regimen, so that it can be altered to suit you and your needs.
What To Expect 5 Weeks After Knee Replacement Surgery
When you reach 5 weeks post-knee replacement, youll likely notice a huge improvement. Generally, youll be able to walk on your own anywhere between 4 and 8 weeks after a knee replacement. The pain will have mostly subsided, and the swelling and inflammation should be greatly reduced.
You still wont be able to drive until about 8 weeks after your knee replacement but so long as youve been sticking with your physiotherapy, normal everyday activities should require much less assistance.
You should wait a full 12 weeks before lifting anything heavier than 4.5 kg and all weightlifting for exercise purposes is still off-limits unless prescribed by your physio.
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One Day After Surgery
Youll meet with a licensed physical therapist within the first 24 hours to learn how to use a cane, walker, or another assistive device to move around. Theyll also show you how to bend, lift, and move around in a way that doesnt put too much strain on your body. If your overall heath requires it, a nurse is sometimes sent to your house.
For your return home, you will be given prescriptions for several pain medications and an anti-inflammatory to help with discomfort and swelling. Because you will have received two analgesic blocks during your surgery, your initial pain levels will be low. As mentioned before, rather than taking the strongest narcotic first, we want you to take the other non -narcotic pain medicines in a sequential manner like the layers of a cake. These include an anti-inflammatory, a nerve pain pill, and a muscle relaxer. Only take the narcotic for breakthrough pain if the other medicines are not holding your pain at acceptable levels.
Note: Its critical that you take all medications as instructed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns.