Knee Replacement Recovery Starts Right Away In The Hospital
These days, a typical inpatient stay following knee replacement surgery lasts two days, although some patients go home the same day as surgery, and some patients may need to stay longer.
When thinking about getting back on your feet, its helpful to consider the recovery process in phases, beginning immediately after surgery. Health care teams are proactive about keeping patients comfortable for recovery by administering medications such as low-dose narcotics, nerve pain medication, and anti-inflammatory medication. From there, its all about getting your knee joint moving again.
Physical therapy starts the day of surgery and could be as minimal as dangling your feet over the side of the bed, says Dr. Parks. The remainder of your hospital stay will likely involve physical therapy focused on activities of daily living, which youll need to move around your home.
Our physical therapist sees patients the same day as surgery to get them up and walking around the nurses station, adds Dr. Courtney. Its no longer about bed rest like it used to be. Now we get patients moving a lot quicker.
Indeed, Barnes remembers that the hospital staff had her up and moving almost immediately. I started walking the day of surgery, she says.
Characteristics Of Severe Arthritis Of The Knee
Pain is the most noticeable symptom of knee arthritis. In most patients the knee pain gradually gets worse over time but sometimes has more sudden flares where the symptoms get acutely severe. The pain is almost always worsened by weight-bearing and activity. In some patients the knee pain becomes severe enough to limit even routine daily activities.
Morning stiffness is present in certain types of arthritis. Patients with morning stiffness of the knee may notice some improvement in knee flexibility over the course of the day. Rheumatoid arthritis patients may experience more frequent morning stiffness than patients with osteoarthritis.
Swelling and warmth
Patients with arthritis sometimes will notice swelling and warmth of the knee. If the swelling and warmth are excessive and are associated with severe pain, inability to bend the knee, and difficulty with weight-bearing, those signs might represent an infection. Such severe symptoms require immediate medical attention. Joint infection of the knee is discussed below.
The knee joint has three compartments that can be involved with arthritis . Most patients have both symptoms and findings on X-rays that suggest involvement of two or more of these compartments for example, pain on the lateral side and beneath the kneecap . Patients who have arthritis in two or all three compartments, and who decide to get surgery, most often will undergo total knee replacement .
How Long Does It Take To Recover After Double Knee Replacement Surgery
A double knee replacement is a surgical procedure designed to eliminate arthritis from the knee. The knee occurs when there is a loss of the cartilage in the knee. When the cartilage has worn away in both knees, an artificial knee can take its place. The knee replacement recreates to the normal function of the knee and its main reason is to relieve pain. It may also help to restore motion of both knees.
The knee will also be checked to make sure that all of the ligaments are stable around the knee. The knee is then brought through a full range of motion to make sure that the knee will come to full extension and able to fully flex.
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Take A Pain Pill Or Tylenol Substitute Before Exercises
Early on I always took a pain pill 30 minutes before my in-home therapy session. Once I weaned myself off the pain medicine, I took a Tylenol pill.
I continued to take a Tylenol pill before my off-site therapy sessions too. Taking the medication made it easier for me to do my rehab, especially the range of motion exercises.
Tips For Faster Knee Surgery Recovery
- Maintaining strong and healthy knees is an essential part of going about your everyday activities. One bad fall can prevent you from doing the activities you love and knee surgery may be the only solution to get you back on your feet. The average recovery time from knee surgery is six months, and upward to a year before you can return to sports or more physical activities. The recovery process can be long and daunting, so were here to help with tips to speed up your recovery after the most common types of knee surgeries.
Knee Replacement Recovery In The Elderly
Although the process of recovering from a knee replacement is no different for an elderly patient than it is for a younger patient and the steps are identical, it is important to remember that elderly patients typically lack the physiological reserve of their younger counterparts. This will mean that essentially the process takes longer and gaining strength back in the knee and subsequently having a well-functioning and asymptomatic knee may take longer in patients that are significantly deconditioned or have been living with arthritis for such a long period of time that this has caused their gait patterns to alter significantly and their muscles to atrophy.
This should be taken into consideration when counseling patients who are elderly that require knee replacement surgery and consistent reminders of this during rehabilitation help to highlight the altered expectation for the recovery timeline in this patient population.
Who Should Consider Total Knee Replacement Surgery
It is usually reasonable to try a number of non-operative interventions before considering knee replacement surgery of any type. Prior to surgery an orthopedic surgeon may offer medications knee injections or exercises. A surgeon may talk to patients about activity modification weight loss or use of a cane.
The decision to undergo the total knee replacement is a “quality of life” choice. Patients typically have the procedure when they find themselves avoiding activities that they used to enjoy because of knee pain. When basic activities of daily life–like walking shopping or reasonable recreational pastimes–are inhibited or prevented by the knee pain it may be reasonable to consider the surgery.
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How Does The Patient Continue To Improve As An Outpatient After Discharge From The Hospital What Are Recommended Exercises
For an optimal outcome after total knee replacement surgery, it is important for patients to continue in an outpatient physical-therapy program along with home exercises during the healing process. Patients will be asked to continue exercising the muscles around the replaced joint to prevent scarring and maintain muscle strength for the purposes of joint stability. These exercises after surgery can reduce recovery time and lead to optimal strength and stability.
The wound will be monitored by the surgeon and his/her staff for healing. Patients also should watch for warning signs of infection, including abnormal redness, increasing warmth, swelling, or unusual pain. It is important to report any injury to the joint to the doctor immediately.
Future activities are generally limited to those that do not risk injuring the replaced joint. Sports that involve running or contact are avoided, in favor of leisure sports, such as golf, and swimming. Swimming is the ideal form of exercise, since the sport improves muscle strength and endurance without exerting any pressure or stress on the replaced joint.
Patients with joint replacements should alert their doctors and dentists that they have an artificial joint. These joints are at risk for infection by bacteria introduced by any invasive procedures such as surgery, dental or gum procedures, urological and endoscopic procedures, as well as from infections elsewhere in the body.
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.
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What To Expect From Knee Replacement Recovery
Most patients are discharged from the hospital 3 to 5 days after knee replacement, with many patients going home in as little as 2 days. The average length of a hospital stay after a knee replacement surgery is 2 to 3 days. Read ahead to find out what to expect, in various aspects such as activity levels, pain management, incision care, etc when you get home after your knee replacement.
Activity level- You can expect to be up and moving the same day after your knee surgery. Most patients begin walking without support immediately after the surgery. After discharge from the hospital, light activity is recommended as it will help cut down swelling and will shorten the recovery time. Your orthopedic surgeon will recommend a regimen of exercises and recommend you to a good physiotherapist for your post-surgery rehabilitation and physiotherapy. Your orthopedist and physiotherapist will work closely with you for the coming weeks to monitor your progress and ensure you are recovering as well as possible. Physiotherapy will play an important role in gaining strength and increasing mobility with the new knee joint. This will also prove notably beneficial in the long run.
Sleep- After your knee surgery, it is quite common to face trouble sleeping. These tips below might help you sleep better after a knee replacement-
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.
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Knee Replacement Recovery Time: What To Expect
Knee replacement is a surgical procedure in which the bone surfaces are replaced in order to relieve pain and discomfort at the knee joint.
Knee replacement procedures are usually done for patients with severe osteoarthritis or a severe knee injury.
People who undergo knee replacement are eager to get back to how they were before. However, to recover fast from knee replacement, physiotherapy needs to be done. Recovery is usually based on how old the person is and how quickly physiotherapy sessions start after the surgery.
Will I Experience Pain And What Medicines Are Available
Pain after knee replacement surgery is normal. Most of my patients have some level of pain and swelling for several weeks.
At TRIA, well work with you to create a plan to help manage your pain. Plans commonly include a combination of:
- Home remedies such as applying a cold compress or elevation to reduce swelling in your knee
- Hands-on care to reduce inflammation and swelling
- Prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Movement strategies
- Over-the-counter medications
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Knee Replacement Recovery Tips To Maximize Healing
Recovering from a total knee replacement is a slow process and can feel, in the immediate postoperative period, like very little progress is being made. However, a dedicated and consistent approach to recovering will always yield the best results. It is important to try to mobilize as soon as possible after your knee replacement surgery. This will be tricky immediately following the surgery as you will feel sore and have some pain, which will hopefully be controlled by the pain medications your surgeon will prescribe you.
If your pain is poorly controlled, it is important to let your surgeon know this so that your analgesic regimen can be altered to suit your needs. In the immediate postoperative period, you will have physical therapist assistance in getting up and on your feet in a safe and timely manner. They will help you get used to the feeling of your new knee and will teach you how to walk safely while your knee and tissues within the knee are still recovering from the surgery.
X-ray showing Total Knee Replacement.
It is important that you continue physical therapy assistance in the longer term recovery from your knee replacement surgery, as studies have shown consistently that patients who undergo a dedicated and standardized physical therapy regimen to recover from that knee replacement experience much better outcomes than those who do not.
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.
Do Your Exercises Even Though It Hurts
The rehab is going to hurt. Your pain will depend on your own pain threshold. Even though it hurts to exercise, do your best and persevere.
Remember the old saying, no pain no gain. It was easier for me to do my rehab and exercises when the therapist was present and encouraging me.
When I had to do another two sets of the same exercises after she left and after I left the physical therapy office, it was up to me to complete the routine. Nobody was watching and it is tempting to take shortcuts. Dont take shortcuts.
Knee Replacement Recovery Timeline
Knee replacement recovery begins before your surgery. You will have a rehab programme to work on which you can actually start before your operation to get your muscles in the best shape possible which will really help. The people who make the best total knee replacement recovery are the ones who start the rehab process before their operation.
Here, we will look at total knee replacement recovery time, what is involved and how long it usually takes to get back to things. If are having or have had only one side of your knee replaced, visit the partial knee replacement recovery time section instead to found out how it will be for you.
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No Pain No Gain Just Take The Medicine
There will be pain. There is no way around that, unfortunately. At first, the surgeon will likely have you on some pretty strong pain relievers. As the swelling goes down, you start to move and get used to your new knee, the pain will usually get much less. Well help you monitor and manage your pain. When the pain stops, well stop using the painkillers because there is no other need to continue taking them.
It is really important that the surgeons pain relief program is adhered to in order to achieve mobility through rehabilitation without restriction due to pain. Regaining movement will help to reduce the pain and therefore work to end the medication program.
Avoiding medication by choosing to tough it out or, using the medication for longer than you need it could lead to a delayed recovery. Its a joint effort to get the right pain relief with you and your medical team.
Interested in knowing more?
How Long Will It Be Before I Feel Normal
You should be able to stop using your crutches or walking frame and resume normal leisure activities 6 weeks after surgery. However, it may take up to 3 months for pain and swelling to settle down. It can take up to a year for any leg swelling to disappear.
Your new knee will continue to recover for up to 2 years after your operation. During this time, scar tissue will heal and muscles can be restored by exercise.
Even after you have recovered, it’s best to avoid extreme movements or sports where there’s a risk of falling, such as skiing or mountain biking. Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise you.
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Tips For A Faster Recovery From Knee Replacement
- Physical therapy Physical therapy is an essential part of speedier recovery time from knee surgery. Your physical therapist will provide techniques and adaptations that will help you safely perform everyday activities.
- Keeping knee joint straight Its important to keep the knee joint as straight as possible immediately after surgery. Sitting in a firm straight-back chair, and ensuring your joint is kept straight while lying in bed can help. You should also avoid kneeling, squatting and excessive use of stairs to help speed up your recovery. Click here for a guide by the U.S. National Institutes of Health for recovering after having knee replacement surgery.
Its important to follow your doctors advice on how to recover after surgery since not following your doctors advice could significantly slow down your recovery.