Knee surgery is a complex procedure, which is why people are often confused about it. When people visit the doctor, they receive a lot of information about the procedure, but they may not get as many details about what to expect after the surgery.
How do you manage pain? Can you wear a brace after a knee replacement? These are all questions that accompany this major surgery. Below are some tips to speed up your recovery after knee surgery and have you back on your feet.
What Is Knee Replacement Surgery?
If conservative methods aren't sufficient, your provider might recommend knee replacement surgery. Also known as arthroplasty, this procedure replaces the damaged knee joint's structure with metal or plastic components to restore its normal function and alleviate chronic pain.
Knee replacement has been a highly successful and standard procedure. Nearly 90% of those who undergo knee replacements experience significant improvements in their pain levels and ability to move.
Most people who have knee replacements report a high-quality life following recovery after knee surgery. It allows you to be independent again and lets you enjoy the same activities you used to love.
Recovery can be difficult, though. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get through your recovery if you have or are considering having knee surgery.
1. Manage Pain
People used to think that chronic pain after knee replacement surgery was something people had to endure. But managing your pain correctly can help reduce discomfort and speed recovery.
Since pain is subjective, it's crucial to accurately describe and pinpoint where and how intense the pain is. Your healthcare provider will need to know whether the pain occurs continuously or intermittently and whether it's:
While it's normal to experience some discomfort following knee replacement surgery, an effective pain management program can reduce your pain and accelerate your recovery.
2. Keep the Knee Straight
While it may be tempting to rest your leg on the pillow and relax after knee surgery, you should ensure that your joint is straight. Keep your leg straight forward when you sit down or lie down to aid the healing process.
Avoid sitting in one position for longer than 45-60 minutes. Instead of using stools, low-seat sofas, or stools, use a sturdy chair with backrests and armrests.
3. Wear Your Knee Brace
Can you wear a knee brace after knee replacement? Yes, you can. Your doctor may recommend a post-op knee brace for your knee after your surgery, and it's crucial that you wear it.
Keep your knee brace on as much as possible to keep your knee straight. The brace protects and stabilizes your knee and is an important piece of medical equipment that can help you in your recovery. Here are some reasons why:
Rehabilitative and Functional
Knee immobilizer braces can promote tissue healing, as the recovery time for knees is longer than other surgeries. A knee brace is a useful tool to prevent further injury and control joint movement.
A knee brace may be used to alleviate the pain caused by arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other related conditions. As we age, these conditions become more common. The knee brace relieves stress and directs pressure to the thigh. This feature allows for better mobility of the knee joint, as well as reducing stiffness.
Every active person is at risk of sustaining a serious injury to the knee. To prevent further injury, braces and support equipment are available to help speed up the healing of injured ligaments. Depending on your requirements, knee braces are available in various styles, materials, sizes, and colors.
4. Walk When Able
For the first six weeks, you will need to undergo some type of physical therapy (in-person or app-based) and then continue with a prescribed exercise program for the remainder of your recovery. In the first three months, the goal is to extend the leg to 110 degrees.
5. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is essential for your recovery. To regain mobility, strength, and movement in your knee joint and surrounding muscles, you'll require aggressive therapy for several weeks after surgery. After surgery, your life doesn't have to be disrupted. You can resume your normal activities while receiving outpatient physical therapy.
We cannot stress this enough. Perform the exercises at home and work hard during physiotherapy. After two weeks, you should be able to bend your knee to 95-100 degrees and have almost full extension.
In four to six weeks, you will be able to bend to 120 degrees and extend your leg fully. You may have difficulty regaining your full bending and extension abilities if you don't push yourself in therapy. If that is the case, you might need to return to your therapist for manipulation under anesthesia (MUA).
Your surgeon will bend your knee during an MUA to reduce scar tissue and improve motion. You will then undergo an even more aggressive physical therapy.
After knee replacement surgery, doctors recommend certain exercises to the patient. It's best to consult your doctor about what exercises to perform and what to avoid. If the doctor doesn't tell you what exercises to do, ask the physiotherapist.
You should not perform the exercises unless you are advised by your doctor because your knee condition will dictate the type of exercise you should do. If your knee condition is stable, the doctor may recommend you do some exercises within seven to eight weeks.
Also, sometimes an individual may get an infection from the injury or surgery. If this happens, you should let your doctor know so that he can advise you on what to do. Some of the exercises that the therapist recommends include:
- Bending and extending the joint while in a sitting position
Do not attempt an exercise if your doctor has not yet approved it. This practice could lead to you agitating at the site of the surgery or re-injuring the knee. It will only prolong your recovery process.
People are prone to engaging in repetitive tasks and feeling restless when they are not working. However, your recovery period will be affected if your sleep patterns are disturbed or you aren't giving yourself rest. Rest is essential to ensure a stable recovery.
While you can perform normal activities on your own, such as going to the toilet or taking a bath, you should seek professional help if you experience any difficulties during this time. You must discuss with your doctor any changes you notice so that they can recommend whether you need more rest or if you can resume your physical activities.
Wrapping Up: Tips for Recovery After Knee Surgery
These tips can make the difference between getting back on your feet or having an extended recovery. You should take the time to heal to avoid any re-injury.
Your knees are extremely complex joints, and you may end up breaking them down if you try to push them too much or too early during your recovery. Follow all your doctor's instructions and use these tips to regain your strength and mobility during recovery after knee surgery.