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What To Expect After Total Knee Replacement

The First Two Weeks After Surgery

What to Expect after total knee replacement

In most cases, you will stay in the hospital after a knee replacement. The average hospital admission lasts from 1 to 4 days. The number of days depends on the type of surgery and your overall health. You will start exercising your new knee the day of or the day after surgery. Some doctors use a continuous passive motion machine. The CPM moves your knee for you while you are in bed with your knee elevated. This can help reduce swelling and prevent .

Before you can go home, you will need to achieve several goals. This includes being able to get in and out of bed without assistance and being able to walk using a walker, crutches or cane. Your care team will also need to verify that you can perform your home exercise program. A physical therapist will help you reach these goals.

You will continue working with a once you are home. The therapist will teach you strategies to protect your knee. You will also continue to work on knee replacement recovery exercises. These exercises are important. They will speed your recovery and put you on the road to regaining your independence.

Pain and discomfort will be a reality during this early time frame. You will have medicine to help you get through it. Taking it before doing your rehab exercises will improve your comfort and tolerance. During this time, its also important to keep your incision clean and dry until it has healed. At the end of this recovery period, your doctor will remove your stitches or staples.

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.

What Seniors Can Expect After A Full Knee Replacement

A full knee replacement is a big operation, but its not as scary as people sometimes think. Its almost bread and butter for surgeons and physiotherapists, so its important to feel comfortable with professionals who are well-versed in the latest research and developments.

While the majority of full knee replacement patients enjoy a positive outcome, we cant guarantee it every single time.

A six-to-eight-week pre-habilitation program;is something we do recommend and can help you achieve a best-case scenario to optimise your pre-surgery fitness, body weight, pain and mobility.

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Activities You Should Expect To Do 3 Months After Tkr

  • Household chores, cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, gardening and washing the car.
  • Be careful when standing on a small step-ladder. My balance was a little shaky at first but now it is fine.
  • You can expect to go to church and other places where youll sit. Be careful to sit in a place/pew where you can stretch your leg.
  • Movies should be okay. I sat in the handicap seats in the rear where I could stretch my leg and stand up during the movie.
  • 9 holes of golf? I walked the course with a pull-cart. I was sore afterward but iced my knee and felt fine the rest of the day.
  • Some people might be able to play pickleball in the 3rd month. I did, but only played 3 games, then rode my bicycle and iced my knee. There was some soreness afterward including upper body muscles because I wasnt used to the motion.
  • Wine tasting? Sure.
  • Casino? If you can push and roll, then you can visit a casino.

As it turns out, I can do everything I could do before surgery with less pain .

I do get tired after activity. I feel some soreness and ache at times but no sharp pain like I did pre-surgery. I still take extra precautions to elevate and ice after activity you should too.

What To Expect After Total Knee Replacement Surgery

TKR scar (2)

PT | Ahwatukee Location

Rehabilitation after a total knee replacement surgery is a vital part of the process needed to get you back on your feet and into your active lifestyle. Once you and your physical therapist have developed a customized plan, its important that you stick to it. The benefits of completing a comprehensive physical therapy program will allow you to regain independence sooner, avoid potential complications, and improve long-term mobility.

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Initial Rehab; Eventual Recovery

Damage to the cartilage in the lateral, medial, or patellofemoral knee may be a result of osteoarthritis, which can be triggered by injury or age-related degeneration. About 95% of knee replacements are performed to treat osteoarthritis. With total knee replacement, we remove all or part of the knee and replace it with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic. This joint acts as a hinge, allowing flexion, extension and rotation.

Immediately after surgery, your rehab program will be supervised by your doctor and physical therapist. They will prescribe exercises to help strengthen and remobilize.

As a reference, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons publishes the following exercise guide for patients whove had a total knee replacement.

Once youve completed your rehab program, certain low-impact activities are encouraged for knee replacement patients. After the initial phase when you are restricted to certain exercises, you may start down the road towards a return to full activity. If you feel you are ready for a more vigorous workout, ask your doctor for a personalized evaluation.

Get Plenty Of Rest And Limit Knee Movement

You need plenty of rest, which is what youre likely to do during the first 24 hours following your knee surgery. However, you can still take a few steps during the latter part of the first day. After all, you would still need to heed the call of nature.

The most important thing here is to place as little force and weight on your operated knee. For this, your doctor will likely;prescribe a knee brace, a cane, or crutches. After a few weeks, you may no longer need the cane or crutches, but your physician may still require you to use a brace.

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What Should I Expect During The First Six Weeks After Discharge

During the first six weeks after discharge, you should be making progress week by week. Most patients are eager to report their progress at follow-up visits and are ready to move to the next level in their recovery. Most patients can accomplish the following during the first six weeks after total joint replacement:

  • Walk without help on a level surface with the use of walker, crutches or cane as appropriate.
  • Climb stairs as tolerated.
  • Get in and out of bed without help.
  • Get in and out of a chair or car without help.
  • Shower using a tub bench once staples are removed as long as there are no issues with the incision.
  • Resume your activities of daily living including cooking, light chores, walking and going outside the home. You should certainly be awake and moving around most of the day.
  • Some patients return to work before the first follow-up visit. This is approved on an individual basis and should be discussed with your surgeon.

Icing and elevation

After a joint replacement, swelling is expected. Swelling can cause increased pain and limit your range of motion, so taking steps to reduce the swelling is important. Continue using ice packs or some form of cold therapy to help reduce swelling.

Sexual activity after joint replacement

Many people worry about resuming sexual activity after a joint replacement.

Resuming your diet

If youre not eating well after surgery, contact your healthcare provider about nutritional supplements.

The Journey To A New Knee

What to expect after total knee replacement?

About twelve years after I injured my knee, I finally had medical coverage. By then, the damage was so great, and walking was so painful, that a full knee replacement was my best option.

I was very nervous at the prospect because I have been healthy all my lifeand my only prior experience with being in a hospital was when I had my children.

Well, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined or feared. This is my story.

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Months After Tkr Surgery

Well, its hard to believe that it has been eight weeks since my TKR surgery. Time goes by slowly immediately after the surgery and starts to speed up once youre mobile.

The first two weeks after surgery is a time when you are dependent on a caregiver. I had limited mobility and spent most of the time in the house sitting in my recliner.

I tried to stay busy with reading, crossword puzzles and doing my physical therapy but time crept by slowly. At the beginning of the 3rd;week, my mobility increased dramatically.

You might be wondering: What can I expect to do 2 months after knee replacement surgery?

Maybe youre doubting your progress and want to compare your scar, range of motion, and activity level with other people at 2 months post-op.

Everyone heals at different rates but its also comforting to know if youre on the right track.; My progress has been slow and steady but I feel and Ive been told that Im ahead of schedule.

Im now able to do things for myself and get outside more. Each week that goes by, my knee feels better and better.; It is now 8 weeks post surgery and Ill share with you what Im up to.

Rehabilitation Begins Immediately After Surgery

Within the first 24 hours, you will be expected to bear some weight on the knee, as well as take a few steps with the assistance of a therapist. The therapist will demonstrate exercises designed to improve your knees range of motion and strength. The surgeon may also suggest the use of a continuous passive motion machine, which slowly moves the knee through flexion and extension. Typically, patients can leave the hospital within one to five days. The criteria for discharge usually consist of being able to get in and out of bed, walking short distances with an assistive device, flexing the knee 80-90 degrees, dressing, and bathingall with only minimal pain or supervision.

Before discharge, your surgeon will direct you on how to take your prescribed pain management medications and on the use of a compression stocking to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Its important to follow all guidelines provided by your physician.Attending physical therapy and committing to a rehab plan will fast-track you to your active lifestyle. Your therapist will work on improving your knees range of motion gradually and show you exercises to reinforce knee mobility. You will also begin quadriceps strengthening exercises so that you can wean off the assistive walking device.

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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.

The Last Option: Back To The Or

Close up

That’s right. With the apparent failure of the fancy splint device, it was back to the operating room. No incisions this time, but they do put you under anesthesia, and force the knee to bend and straighten as it should.

Yes, it’s painful afterwards, as what they were doing was ripping and tearing scar tissue, known as “adhesions” that develop after an injury or surgery. So, back to the ice packs, and more physical therapy.

The first two weeks after this procedure is critical. But there is an additional ‘catch.’ I was told by the doctor that the range of motion of the knee prior to surgery is a fairly good indicator of the final outcome afterwards.

Oh, dear. My range of motion was pretty restricted already, and since I got into the surgery on a cancellation with only a week’s notice, I had no time for preparatory physical therapy or strengthening exercises to build up the muscles supporting the knee, to assist in recovery.

At this point, I am beginning week two, and working very hard to overcome the setbacks I’ve had. At times, the exercises reduce me to tears, and are sometimes more painful than was childbirth.

Nonetheless, I persevere, for I do so want to return to riding my bike and get back on my rollerblades!

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What Are The Risk Factors For A Failed Knee Replacement

Age, activity level, surgical history and a persons weight can contribute to implant failure. Younger, active patients, people who are obese, and those who have had prior knee surgeries all have a higher increased risk of a failed implant.

Younger, more active patients have a higher rate of revision than older, less active patients because they place more stress on their prosthesis over more time. Obese patients have a higher incidence of wear and loosening because of the increased force of their weight, and they are more prone to infections because of their increased risk of wound healing. Patients with previous knee surgeries are at higher risk for infection and implant failure.

Can Rehabilitation Be Done At Home

All patients are given a set of home exercises to do between supervised physical therapy sessions and the home exercises make up an important part of the recovery process. However, supervised therapy–which is best done in an outpatient physical therapy studio–is extremely helpful and those patients who are able to attend outpatient therapy are encouraged to do so.

For patients who are unable to attend outpatient physical therapy, home physical therapy is arranged.

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Five Months Lateran Update

So, what happens months down the road when your recovery progress has been interrupted, or not gone as well as you’d hoped? In my case, my husband’s health deteriorated, and as his sole caretaker, I was sidetracked from keeping up with my own therapy and exercises as well as I should have.

There are a few options available, most of which involve some pain. How much pain depends on your own level of pain tolerance. Mine is near zero, so it was a tough challenge.

Physical therapy will continue, but there are other things added to the mix.

Learn What To Expect And How To Prepare From The Doctors Who Perform This Operation Every Day And The Patients Who Have Been Through Knee Surgery Successfully

What To Expect After A Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Operation

If your knee arthritis has gotten so bad that your medication and physical therapy are no longer enough to keep the pain at bay or prevent mobility issues, it is a good time to consider knee replacement surgery. The procedure has come a long way from the extended hospital stays, bed rest, and narcotics-based pain relief of the past.

Fifteen to 20 years ago we told patients to wait until they could no longer take the pain of osteoarthritis to consider surgery, but thats not the case anymore, says P. Maxwell Courtney, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. With todays advances, minimally invasive techniques, and accelerated rehab and recovery protocols, we now tell patients if the pain is limiting your daily activities and youve exhausted conservative options like injections and physical therapy its time to consider surgery.

That was certainly the case for Sharon Barnes, a teacher from Maine whose pain got so bad she couldnt sleep. My doctor said I had osteoarthritis in both knees; it was literally bone on bone, she remembers. We did hyaluronic acid injections, and that got me about a year then didnt work as well. Thats when we started discussing surgery.

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Recommended Exercises After Knee Replacement Surgery

Following knee replacement surgery, its important to take part in recommended exercises that will help strengthen the muscles and prevent atrophy.

It is also very beneficial for patients to participate in activities such as walking or swimming because this helps improve blood flow without putting too much strain on their joints.

Here are some of the recommended exercises:

Ankle Pumps

Towel Under Heel Knee Straigtening

Quadricep Sets

For the hip, we include:

  • Hip bends
  • Hip abductions or clamshells
  • Prone hip extensions

These are just some examples of effective exercises. The best way to recover is to determine an individual approach to the issue at hand. Therefore, what works for others may not work for you, and vice versa.


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