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What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

What Type Of Discomfort Is Expected After Knee Replacement Surgery

What is the recovery after knee replacement surgery?

There is always post-surgery pain for patients undergoing any type of surgery. You can expect general and localized pain for several weeks after the knee replacement operation.

Swelling is a natural part of the process. Swelling can last for up to three weeks after surgery, but it can persist several months after.

There is also bruising that occurs as a side-effect, and it may last for two weeks post-operation.

How Do I Manage Pain And Discomfort After Joint Replacement Surgery

Try to take your pain medication as soon as you begin to feel pain. Don’t wait until the pain becomes severe. Follow the instructions on the prescription label. Remember to take your pain medication before activity and bedtime.

If you need to have stitches or staples removed and you’re still taking pain medications, be sure to have a friend or family member drive you to your appointment.

Pain medication may cause nausea. If this happens, decrease the amount you are taking or stop and contact your surgeons office.

If you need additional pain medication, please contact your surgeons office. Give at least a few days advance notice before you run out of the medication. Please plan ahead, especially for holiday weekends.

Also remember:

  • You aren’t permitted to drive a car while taking narcotic pain medication.
  • It may take several days to have a bowel movement. Anesthesia and pain medication often cause constipation. Drink plenty of fluids and eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. A stool softener or laxative can help bowel function return to normal.
  • Don’t hesitate to call your surgeons office with any questions or concerns.

Incision care

Walker, crutches, cane

Use your assistive devices for balance as instructed by your surgeon or therapist. By your first post-op visit with your surgeon, you may have already improved and changed from using a walker or crutches to a cane .

Donts Following Knee Replacement Surgery

Taking proper precautions after major surgery helps ensure a good recovery. Following are some things youshould avoid after undergoing knee replacement surgery.

While in the hospital, dont try to get out of bed by yourself. Accept help, and take the time to properlylearn how to use a walker or cane.

When at home:

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Exercise And Physical Activity

The final phase of recovery, as Dr. Parks considers it, is returning to exercises and extra activities, including hiking and biking. It typically takes eight to 12 weeks to get to this phase, he says.

In terms of full knee replacement recovery, patients generally need a year to completely heal and regain total function.

After a couple of years, you forget that youve even had knee surgery, says Barnes, who would go on to have her left knee replaced a year after the surgery on her right. Before surgery I couldnt garden. Now I walk, snow shoe, and climb ladders. I do what I want and dont have pain.

How Long Does The Pain Last After A Knee Replacement

Knee surgery rehabilitation: Timeline and what to expect

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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Prefer To Listen To This Article

We always encourage positive visualisation and documentation of the future here at The Physio Co , but, dont expect to be hopping out of bed and running home the day after a full knee replacement.

Thats not to say the tennis career is over! Merely to say youll likely be watching the next major tennis tournament on TV rather than attending or participating at your local club this year, anyway!

In addition to the six to eight prep for the operation, weve also put together an 8 to 12-week step-by-step guide as to how a professional TPC physio will support a full knee replacement patient in reaching a goal after the operation.

Knee Replacement Recovery At Home And Outpatient Therapy

It would be nice if a knee replacement was like getting a new car part installed and away you go. The surgery is just the beginning of the knee rehabilitation process.

Swelling, stiffness, and strength are necessary to improve in order to decrease pain and progress therapy to higher level activities. They will be the primary focus of therapy early on to set up the patient for successful rehabilitation. It will take time for the knee tissues to heal and gradual loading to improve strength and flexibility.

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Reasons For The Procedure

Knee replacement surgery is a treatment for pain and disability in theknee. The most common condition that results in the need for kneereplacement surgery is osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage.Damage to the cartilage and bones limits movement and may cause pain.People with severe degenerative joint disease may be unable to donormal activities that involve bending at the knee, such as walking orclimbing stairs, because they are painful. The knee may swell or”give-way” because the joint is not stable.

Other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis thatresults from a knee injury, may also lead to degeneration of the kneejoint. In addition, fractures, torn cartilage, and/or torn ligaments maylead to irreversible damage to the knee joint.

If medical treatments are not satisfactory, knee replacement surgery may bean effective treatment. Some medical treatments for degenerative jointdisease may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications

  • Cortisone injections into the knee joint

  • Viscosupplementation injections

  • Weight loss

There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a knee replacementsurgery.

Exercise Pre Joint Replacement

Knee Replacement: What to Expect | IU Health

Pain may be a factor in terms of keeping up with exercise, but it is important to strengthen the muscles in both legs to help you after the surgery. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint will cut down on recovery time.

You will have more strength and endurance to move the new replacement. Not only that, you will be relying more on your non-operative leg for support so it is equally important to strengthen that side as well.

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Taking Care Of Your Wound

Taking care of the surgical site is another vital component of recovery.

Most likely, youll have suture underneath your skin that wont have to be removed. If your surgery requires exposed stitches or staples, those will be removed in the weeks following surgery in your surgeons office.

Remember to keep the wound dry until its completely sealed. A sterile bandage will be placed after surgery and you will be given instructions when you can take this off.

Total Knee Replacement Recovery: What To Expect After Knee Replacement

Nearly 1 million total knee replacement procedures are performed in the U.S. each year and that number is expected to continue rising exponentially to over 3 million in the next 15 years!

So it comes as no surprise that the most common joint replacement procedure Physical Therapists rehab in the outpatient clinic is a total knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement.

Many candidates want to know what to expect after a total knee replacement before they choose to have the surgery. Patients usually elect to have this procedure after nonoperative treatment options or knee replacement alternative surgeries fail to maintain knee function and pain levels.

For those patients that do decide to have total knee surgery, keep reading to learn more about the total knee replacement recovery process.

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My Pain Level 4 Months After Knee Replacement

My pain level continued to decrease from 3 months after knee replacement to month 4. If you work hard following your surgery I expect that you will feel a big difference in your knee, just as I have.

I feel no more bone on bone pain and overall, I feel great.

You might experience some soreness in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons around your knee as I have. Its common to experience minor swelling after heavy workouts or play along with some heat.

I recommend that you continue to ice your knee after activity.

My joint feels much more stable and strong and Ive received many positive comments about the difference in my walking from friends when I am hiking, playing pickleball, and golf.

Everyone comments on how fast Ive recovered and they are amazed at my mobility. Recently, I had a few people tell me that they had no idea that I had TKR after a pickleball session.

No Pain No Gain Just Take The Medicine

Is Age a Consideration for Joint Replacement ...

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?

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What The Procedure Is Like

Also called arthroplasty, knee replacement is a procedure to resurface the damaged parts of your knee that have been causing you pain.

The knee is the meeting place for three basic bones: the tibia and femur meet at the joint and are each capped with cartilage to absorb the shock of everyday movement. Resting between them is a freestanding bone called the patella . Often using a spinal anesthetic like an epidural used in childbirth a knee replacement procedure involves an incision over the knee that allows your surgeon to resurface the tibia, femur, and patella with metal and plastic components to restore the cushioning you need to move your knee comfortably.

There are two general kinds of knee replacement surgery: partial and total.

In a partial knee replacement , only a portion of the knee joint is replaced. This procedure may be recommended for patients who have damage limited to just one area of the knee. Because a partial knee replacement is done through a smaller incision, the recovery time in the hospital is often shorter and people can resume their usual activities sooner. However, more surgery may be needed in the future if other parts of the knee become damaged.

Your surgeon will discuss which type of surgery is right for you based on your medical history and risk factors.

While patients will need help in the first weeks after surgery, most people will get their feet under them and regain independence at about six weeks after the procedure.

Thoughts On 4 Months After Tkr Surgery

  • Dolores Autrey

    2 months after tkr no paint at all 4 months pain down my shin need Motrin little pain around knee but down shin is a 5 Im starting to feel disappointed

  • Ken

    I encourage you to be optimistic. At 2 months your body is still adjusting to its new knee. My surgeon told me it would take up to 1 year to feel my best. Good to hear your knee is feeling decent. I didnt experience shin pain, though it could be shin splints . Check with your doctor about it, I havent heard if thats a common problem during recovery but Id be interested to know more. I hope youre continuing to ice as well. Thanks for the comment!

  • W Dee May 14, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks for the information I am at 4 months and its getting better everyday the continued exciting definitely helps I do the step ups also side steps and getting up from the chair for strengthening my knee and the other stuff too

  • Ken

    Im sorry to hear youre still experiencing pain. We all heal at different rates and due to work it may take a bit longer. Icing and elevation helped me after long days. Hopefully, your doctor can provide insight that will help your specific situation. Thanks for visiting, wish you the best!

  • apoladay

    Thank you, Ken! Im still plugging a long and hopeing things will improve.

  • Lynn hanney

    Hi I know this is a while ago but I am struggling so much with lot of what you have said The pain is still Bad when I walk and so stiff Is yours much better now Thanking you

  • Vera Hinerman
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    Here Is An Overview Of What You Can Expect During These 12 Weeks:

    • Days 1 3: In the hospital, you will work with a physical therapist and occupational therapist to work on straightening and bending the knee.
    • Discharge Day: Most people are discharged from the hospital within a few days. You will be sent home with specific instructions for care, medication, and therapy.
    • Week 3: By the time you reach week three, you will be able to move around a little more, and the pain will be decreasing.
    • Weeks 4 6: The most noticeable improvements in your knee happen during this time if you are consistent with your rehab and exercise activities.
    • Weeks 7 11: Physical therapy and rehabilitation continue. At this point, you will be working on range of motion, mobility, and strengthening the muscles.
    • Week 12: You can start to return to normal activities but still need to avoid high-impact exercise .

    Beyond this initial recovery time, you will notice that the pain will continue to decrease, and your function will improve.

    Here Are A Few Things You Can Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery:

    Knee Replacement Surgery | What to Expect
    • Rest and Ice: The knee will be swollen and tender, which is why you need to follow doctor suggestions for keeping the leg elevated and icing the joint.
    • Medications: Not only does medication help with pain management, but it is also vital to reduce inflammation. Sometimes antibiotics are needed for preventing infection.
    • Follow Up: You will have follow-up appointments to talk to your sports medicine doctor about recovery. Surgical staples or stitches will be removed during the office visit. Reach out to your doctor if you notice unusual symptoms, such as redness, fever, incision drainage, or increased pain.
    • Home Modifications: You might need certain modifications to help you navigate your home. Since the knee needs to heal, you must use crutches. Some patients transition to a cane or walker as the recovery progresses. Consider using other modifications, such as handrails, a shower bench, a reaching stick, and removing loose cords and rugs that could cause a fall.

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    Risks Of The Procedure

    As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possiblecomplications may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Bleeding

    • Blood clots in the legs or lungs

    • Loosening or wearing out of the prosthesis

    • Fracture

    • Continued pain or stiffness

    The replacement knee joint may become loose, be dislodged, or may not workthe way it was intended. The joint may have to be replaced again in thefuture.

    Nerves or blood vessels in the area of surgery may be injured, resulting inweakness or numbness. The joint pain may not be relieved by surgery.

    There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Besure to discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to the procedure.

    What To Expect After Knee Replacement

    A patients recovery and rehabilitation plan is crucial to the overall success of knee replacement surgery. A recovery and rehabilitation plan can help the patient:

    • Leave the hospital sooner
    • Regain knee strength and range of motion more quickly
    • Resume independent living sooner
    • Avoid potential complications

    Typically, knee replacement patients are able to leave the hospital within 1 to 5 days , and they can take care of themselves and resume most activities 6 weeks after surgery. The majority of patients are 90% recovered after 3 months, though it can take 6 months or longer before they are 100% recovered.

    Some knee replacement patients do not follow the typical recovery timeline. For example:

    • Patients who did knee-strengthening exercises in preparation for surgery sometimes recover more quickly.
    • Patients who are older, smoke, or have other medical conditions may take longer to heal.

    Deviation from the typical recovery timeline cannot always be predicted, but these differences are usually okay as long as the patient, doctor, and physical therapist, continue to work together towards a full recovery.

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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.

    Recovery Timeline For Knee Replacement Surgery

    What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

    One of the most common questions patients ask after knee replacement surgery is how quickly they expect to recover. The recovery timeline varies slightly depending on age, weight, and general health.

    If you have had surgery, the physiotherapist will come to your room within 24 hours of your operation. Youll start by standing and moving around using crutches or a walk. This is so that you dont lose muscle strength after being bedridden for days post-op.

    Your medication has been prescribed beforehand. This means less discomfort while recovering at home alone once discharged!

    This is important because it minimizes atrophy caused by extended time in bed. It reduces other medical complications associated with immobilization, like blood clots and pneumonia.

    You will then attend an outpatient physiotherapy clinic where you visit a physio twice weekly for 30 minutes. You will then slowly reduce your appointments as needed.

    However, rehab is not over yet because theres still lots of work that needs doing following this period! Barring any complications, you can expect to be discharged from the hospital after 3 days.

    After youve recovered, rehab will focus on continuing to improve your mobility with an exercise program. This is to help build strength and range of motion.

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