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What To Expect The First Week After Knee Replacement Surgery

Do Eat A Healthy Diet

Knee Replacement Recovery Timeline After Surgery

Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. However, avoid alcohol after surgery because it retardshealing. Eat whole, unprocessed foods rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Keeping yourself at a healthy weight limits the stress on your knees. If you were overweight before yoursurgery, try a medically supervised weight loss plan to help you lose the weight and keep it off.

Recovery Time After Knee Replacement

Therecovery timeline after knee replacement surgery varies significantly from patient to patient, but the rehabilitation process typically takes 10-14 weeks. During this time, youll work with your physical therapist to reach goals in range of motion, strength, and functional activities without difficulty or pain.

With help from your doctor, physical therapist and care team, you can regain comfortable use of your knee and return the activities you enjoy.

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

When the surgery is over, you will need to stay in the hospitals recovery room for observation. Usually, patients can return to their hospital rooms within a few hours after their pulse, blood pressure, and breathing are stable. Since knee replacement is major surgery, its common for the patient to be in the hospital for a few days before returning home. You will begin physical therapy during this in-hospital time.

When its time to head home, your medical team will have a transition plan to help with continued physical therapy and pain management. Its crucial that you are diligent about following these recommendations to regain the range of motion and strength needed in the joint.

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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.

Outpatient Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement Surgery

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Depending on your surgeons protocol and your current healing status, you will beginoutpatient physical therapy between 2-7 days after knee replacement surgery. You can expect to see your physical therapist 2-3 days per week for 10-14 weeks, depending on your recovery time.

As stated above, knee swelling will limit your flexibility after knee replacement surgery, but the normal healing process, along with tissue scarring, will also prevent the knee from bending and straightening. Your outpatient physical therapist will help you slowly improve this mobility and decrease stiffness while also making sure not to aggravate the knee, potentially causing more trauma and swelling.

Stephanie Patek, PT, DPT explains, As physical therapists, we are highly trained to provide movement progressions and graded exercises to help you achieve the best outcome from your knee replacement.

Other than swelling and limited motion in your knee, you may also notice that your leg feels weaker and unsteady. This is most likely due to thequadriceps muscles, which are the thigh muscles that straighten your knee, having difficulty turning on. This sensation of weakness is typical post-knee replacement. Your physical therapist will help you regain this muscle strength that will allow you to become more functional, including walking without a device and negotiating stairs.

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Surgery Recovery And Beyond

Flash forward to January 31, 2017surgery day. In hospital, everything went according to plan. Allan was out of bed the day after surgery and the following day was able to climb stairs and work through physical therapy. He had surgery on Tuesday and was discharged straight home on Thursdayin just over 48 hours. Even Allan was surprised at how seamless everything went, My hospital experience went way better than imaginable. I was imagining worse things. I was worried about the spinal injection, but again, it wasnt as bad as anticipated.

Tuesday morning I went in and by Thursday afternoon, I was out. I was surprised by the speed. I put that down largely to the daily PeerWell exercises.

But how has recovery been since Allan went home? He shares the mantra that he seems to abide by when overcoming lifes obstacles, no gain without pain. He puts it honestly, It was a bit grueling. Since Ive been home, I wasnt feeling too goodsickly because of pain medication. Ive been restless because I wasnt sleeping well. But over the last day or so , I am feeling like my old self.

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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How Long Will I Be In The Hospital After Total Knee Replacement

The length of hospital stay after knee replacement will depend on:

  • Replacement and incision healing routinely.
  • Manageable pain levels.
  • The patient being able to perform bed mobility and walking without requiring someone else doing the majority of the work for them
  • Help at home from family or friends for activities that will require assistance such as driving, cooking, cleaning, moving in and out of bed, sitting down and standing up, walking, or using stairs

These are important for ensuring a patient is safe to go home. The majority of patients meet these requirements and will be out of the hospital within 1-3 days.

If a patient has delayed healing or limited support at home, they may be a candidate to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation hospital for 1-2 weeks for further recovery.

Returning To Everyday Activities

knee surgery

Surgeons may lift activity restrictions that were assigned during the first 4 weeks after knee replacement surgery. For example, patients may be given permission to use pools, baths, or hot tubs. A person should not do so until the surgeon tells them it is OK.

Similarly, a surgeon may give a patient permission to drive and ease back into activities that involve limited knee twisting, such as golf, gentle yoga, and dancing. This typically happens at the 6- to 8-week mark. For example, 8 weeks after surgery, a person used to playing 18 holes of golf may be given permission to start to work toward playing 9 holes.

Returning to workThe ability to return to work will depend on factors such as pain levels, medications being taken, stamina, and job requirements. If the employer allows, a person may return to work part-time before committing to a full-time schedule.

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After Your Partial Knee Replacement

You will have swelling and bruising after your surgery. Dont be alarmed as it appears to get worse over the next one to two weeks. This is normal. There are ways of managing and minimizing this. You can ice your knee three to four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, but dont let the wound or dressing get wet. Elevating your leg above heart level as you sit or lay down can help to reduce swelling, and this can be done by putting a few pillows under your leg.

Your doctor will send you home from surgery with compression stockings, which should be used at all times, with the exception of during showers, while changing clothes, or to let your skin breathe. Do not remove them for more than a few hours. These stockings are one of the greatest defenses against excessive swelling and should typically be worn for approximately four weeks. They also help to reduce the risk of blood clots.

With partial knee replacement, the incision is small, but you do still need to take special care of it. Unless the dressing is soiled or wet, do not change it until your follow-up appointment, which will be 10 to 14 days after the surgery. If conditions require that it be changed before then, replace the dressing with a fresh 4×4 gauze and secure it with clear Tegaderm bandage tape. At the four week mark, you may begin treating the incision site with Vitamin E lotion or Mederma to improve the appearance of the scar.

Where Will I Feel Knee Replacement Pain

As mentioned above, knee replacement pain can come in many different forms depending on the cause. Knee pain is to be expected due to the surgical procedure itself, with swelling, bruising, and the introduction of prosthetic parts.

Beyond that, it is possible to feel pain in parts of the body other than your knee. This is known as referred pain.

Your hips, lower back, groin area, and calves may initially hurt due to the change in your stance and the way you walk. Of course, it is also typical to feel sore due to extended amounts of time in bed during your recovery.

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Will I Need To Use Crutches Or Other Assistive Devices After Knee Replacement Surgery

Yes. And depending on the type of surgery youve had , youll probably need to use an assistive device for at least a few weeks during recovery.

Assistive devices make certain activities like walking, using the restroom and dressing easier to do. They also help keep you safe.

The types of assistive devices youll need after knee replacement surgery depend on your condition, but common devices include:

  • Walking aids like crutches, canes or walkers
  • Shoehorns and sock aids
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Tub chair

The good news is some assistive devices may be covered by your insurance, so be sure to check with your insurance provider before you go in for surgery.

Motivation To Regain Physical Function

Road to Recovery following Knee Replacement

And finally, Dr. Courtney sees another factor speeding recovery for certain patients. Motivation is big one, especially with knee replacement surgery, he says. If patients are involved in sports, like golf, tennis, or swimming, their motivation to get back to their activities plays an important role.

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What To Expect 5 Weeks After Knee Replacement Surgery

When you reach 5 weeks post-knee replacement, you’ll likely notice a huge improvement. Generally, you’ll 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 won’t be able to drive until about 8 weeks after your knee replacement but so long as you’ve 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.

Recommended Products For Walking After Knee Replacement

I would highly recommend that you have a walker in your hospital room from the get-go. The hospital provided a walker for me. I assume I was billed for it.

Without the walker, I could not have gotten out of bed so soon. I needed it to use the bathroom and to take the walking and stair tests that allowed me to go home .

The cane felt just as comfortable as the walking pole. The reason I chose to transition from the walker to the walking pole was that I had two walking poles and I didnt have a cane. If I had a cane I may have opted for it.

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Knee Replacement Pain After Three Months

Swelling and bruising can continue for three months or more following knee replacement surgery. However, it varies from patient to patient and depends on the condition you were in before surgery. Many patients are back to their activities without the pain they had before surgery by this stage of recovery.

If you find that any movement or activity is still exceedingly painful after three months, you may be experiencing chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain persisting for three months or longer. Its a condition that affects roughly 20% of knee replacement surgery patients. It can develop and increase in intensity in the weeks and months following surgery. This can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life. Talk to your doctor for help.

About Stephen Raterman Md Facs

Social Security Disability Benefits for a Knee Surgery

Dr. Stephen Raterman has been treating Florida patients since 1990 as a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Raterman is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Orthopedics at the University of South Florida.

Dr. Raterman specializes in joint replacement surgery, including hip resurfacing and partial knee replacements. By focusing on the latest procedures, Dr. Raterman aims to reduce the amount of time patients spend recovering and get them back on their feet faster.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Every patient is different, so talk with your orthopedic doctor to learn what treatment options are best for you.

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Immediately Following Knee Replacement Surgery

After knee replacement surgery, you can expect to stay overnight in the hospital for no more than three nights. Most patients commonly remain with us only one night post-surgery. The length of your stay usually depends on your doctors protocol and your overall health.

Factors that may affect your stay after knee replacement surgery:

  • Is the replacement and incision healing routinely?
  • Are yourpain levels manageable?
  • Can you perform bed mobility and walking with only the assistance of a device, not another individual?

After knee replacement surgery, we will carefully monitor your recovery. During your stay in the hospital, you will be evaluated by a physical therapist that will assess your situation and teach you how to move about safely. The therapist will review getting in and out of bed, negotiating stairs, and necessary maneuvering about your home. Your physical therapist will also help determine what aspects to focus on based on your living situation outside of the hospital. The physical therapist will also recommend additional supplies you may need after your return home these may include a walker, grabber, shower chair, and other assistive devices.

The physical therapist you work with after knee replacement surgery will also provide you with a specific set of exercises to begin your post-surgical recovery right away. These knee exercises focus on gaining range of motion and strengthening the muscles in your leg.

What Is Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery is a surgical technique to repair the knee joint. Plastic and metal prosthetic parts are attached to the bones in the knee joint. During the procedure, damaged cartilage and bone are cut away. Then an artificial joint is put in place.

This surgery might be required for someone with a severe knee injury or people who experience pain from chronic arthritis. A sports medicine doctor might recommend knee replacement surgery based on your knees strength, stability, and range of motion. A variety of surgical techniques and prostheses can be used, depending on your weight, age, knee size and shape, activity level, and overall health.

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Rehab Begins One Step At A Time

Rehab after knee surgery begins slowly, but almost immediately. Its important to get in and out of bed that same day, walk a few steps, and learn how to use the continuous passive motion machine, which youll also be using at home as you start the recovery process.

Within the first 24 hours after surgery, you begin standing and walking on your new knee with the help of a walker and your physical therapist. We start you off with gentle, muscle-strengthening exercises and guide you through each move so you know how to safely take your first steps with your new knee.

Will I Have Severe Pain After Knee Replacement Surgery

What to Expect In Your First Week After a Total Knee ...

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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Genicular Nerve Block With Radiofrequency Ablation

Instead of more invasive surgical options, many patients turn to a genicular nerve block to treat and diagnose persistent knee pain. A genicular nerve block uses anesthetic injected into one or more of the genicular nerves to interrupt pain signals being sent to the brain.

Unfortunately, a genicular nerve blocks effects only last eight to 24 hours. Doctors use genicular nerve blocks to test the effectiveness of the procedure on a persons knee pain. Many patients who experience relief with genicular nerve blocks will then get radiofrequency ablation. When combined, these two procedures can offer pain relief that lasts anywhere from six months to a year.

What Happens In The First Few Days After A Knee Replacement

After knee replacement surgery, you’ll remain in the hospital for 1 to 5 days and you’ll most likely start working with a physiotherapist immediately.

It’s perfectly normal to experience pain, swelling and bruising in the first few days after your knee surgery but it’s still important to do your best to move your knee as much as possible as soon as possible. But, you shouldn’t be putting any weight on your leg at this point.

Generally, knee replacement patients can leave hospital when they’re able to:

  • Get in and out of bed and walk a short distance with the help of a walker or crutches
  • Walk up and downstairs with a walking aid
  • Bend the affected knee 90 degrees
  • Understand the precautions to avoid potential injuries

However, different hospitals have discharge criteria. Keep in mind, you might continue to use a walking device once you leave the hospital.

You might have to stay in hospital longer if:

  • You have had two knees replaced at the same time
  • Uncontrolled pain
  • General weakness
  • Other pre-existing medical conditions

Some doctors also prescribe what’s called a Continuous Passive Motion machine that will move your leg manually without your assistance. It’s important for the health of your knee joint that it doesn’t stay still for too long.

While your knee is bandaged, you may not be able to have a full shower for 5 to 7 days and it could be up to 3 or 4 weeks before the wound should be soaked in water at all.

Remember, you’re recovering from major surgery.

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