By the time you elect to have total knee replacement surgery you will likely have exhausted every other type of treatment or physical therapy. Nothing you have done has relieved the constant pain and limited knee function and many of your friends have had great success with their knee replacement surgeries. Now it is your turn. Not sure what to expect as far as recovery is concerned? Will I need extensive physical therapy? Will I be on total bedrest?
What will my knee look like right after surgery?
- It will be swollen, sore, weak and stiff
- Standing up and walking will be difficult
How long after surgery will I start rehab?
- The long road to recovery begins almost immediately after surgery.
- The first day after surgery, an assessment will be done to see how much help you need transferring from a bed to a chair, walking, using stairs, getting in and out of the car.
- A typical patient will require 10-12 weeks of physical therapy rehabilitation to regain range of motion, build up strength, and be able to perform everyday activities such as walking, taking the stairs, standing up from a sitting position without assistance.
Before you leave the hospital, you will be given instructions to work on basic exercises you can do from your bed such as bending and straightening your knee. Your doctor will want you to get out of bed to help guard against blood clots. They will also show you how to manage swelling, pain, and to watch the surgery site for infection, bleeding or blood clots. Monitor the incision site to make sure there is not any unusual redness, severe pain or significan drainage as these are signs of infection.
Most patients are able to leave the hospital between one and three days once pain levels are managed, the incision looks to be healing properly, and it is confirmed that you will have someone at home to help with the daily activities that will be difficult for you to perform for a few weeks.
Once you get home, you will still experience swelling for awhile. You can help manage the swelling by:
- Laying down with the affected knee elevated above your heart. Place an ice pack on the knee every hour for about twenty minutes.
- Wearing compression stockings.
- Keep moving the knee by bending and straightening.
- Moving your hip around every half hour to prevent you from stiffening up.
- Keeping your knee elevated by not standing still or sitting still for extended periods of time.
Because the knee is swollen, it will limit its flexibility. However, the tissue is also healing and scarring that can prevent the knee from straightening. That is why it is so important for you to keep moving and increasing flexibility so that the knee does not heal in a stiff position. It is a fine line between the need to increase mobility without hampering recovery and causing the knee to swell even more.
It can take several weeks or even months to achieve the anticipated range of motion. You will undergo a lot of physical therapy and a lot will be required of you on your own as well. Your doctor and physical therapist will stress the importance of the therapy in getting the best possible outcome from your knee replacement surgery. In the event you have any questions regarding your knee, please contact Potomac MD knee doctor or locals.
Thank you to Pain Arthritis Relief Center for providing insight on knee replacements.