After Knee Replacement
What is Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement is a surgery performed to replace parts of a diseased knee joint with artificial prostheses. The goal of knee replacement is to eliminate pain and return you to your normal activities. You can help in recovery and improve the outcomes of the procedure by following certain precautions and changing the way you carry out your daily activities.
What happens after Knee Replacement?
After knee replacement surgery, once the anesthesia wears off, you will start to experience pain, for which your doctor will prescribe medication. You may have to remain in the hospital for a few days depending on your progress and overall health. Remember to get plenty of rest during this initial phase. Your surgical wounds should be monitored for swelling, inflammation and other changes and frequent dressing changes are performed. A continuous passive motion (CPM) machine is fixed to keep your knee moving. Compression boots or elevation of your leg may be recommended to encourage circulation and prevent stiffness, clots and scar formation.
Rehabilitation after Knee Replacement
Rehabilitation begins within 24 hours of surgery, where a physical therapist will help you stand up and walk using crutches or a walker. Adhering to the goals of the rehabilitation program is important to help you recover and resume your normal activities. You will be guided to perform strengthening exercises daily and learn to get in and out of bed, and use a bedside commode.
Recovery at Home after Knee Replacement
When you are discharged from the hospital, you will be encouraged to walk short distances with an assistive device, climb a few stairs, dress, bathe and perform other basic functions by yourself. On reaching home, have a family member or caregiver assist you with your activities for a few weeks. Taking care of someone following knee replacement surgery requires compassion, awareness, and patience. The basic points to be followed by your caregiver include:
- Helping with basic movement and functions as well as emotional support
- Having a clear understanding of your medication and ensuring they are administered in a timely manner
- Keeping emergency numbers ready
- Assisting you with household chores, paperwork and traveling to keep your appointments
- Helping and motivating you to perform your rehabilitation exercises
- Ensuring that furniture is rearranged so as not to interfere with your movement and cause falls.
- Avoiding bending or reaching out for items that you frequently use by placing them within easy reach
You and your caregiver must be aware of the signs of infection. Contact your doctor if you notice any abnormal wound changes or any changes in general health and mental state, or should you have persistent fever, drainage, excessive swelling or other signs of infection.
Certain instructions that your doctor will brief you about include:
- You may shower once the wound heals, but avoid soaking in a bathtub for at least six weeks.
- Keep the wound clean and dry. Your doctor will let you know when you can shower or bathe.
- Some amount of swelling is normal after knee replacement and may last for more than a month. It can be controlled by placing ice on the knee and elevating your leg for 30 to 60 minutes every day.
By week 3, you should be able to move with minimal assistance and significant reduction in pain. Your physical therapy program will gradually include new and more difficult exercises as you improve in strength and flexibility. By week 7, you should be able to walk independently. To reduce stress, use the opposite knee to lead when climbing stairs and the replaced knee to lead when descending.
You will be able to drive a few weeks after surgery when you have sufficient pain control, improved strength and can easily enter and exit a car.
Walking and exercising at least 2-3 times a day for 10-15 minutes is recommended for a faster recovery.
- Knee Arthroscopy
- Arthroscopic Debridement
- Knee Fracture Surgery
- Periprosthetic Knee Fracture Fixation
- ORIF of the Knee Fracture
- Meniscal Surgery
- Patellar Tendon Repair
- Distal Realignment Procedures
- Cartilage Replacement
- Arthroscopic Reconstruction of the Knee for Ligament Injuries
- ACL Reconstruction
- MCL Reconstruction
- Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction
- Outpatient Total Knee Replacement
- Total Knee Replacement
- Unicompartmental/Partial Knee Replacement
- Patellofemoral Knee Replacement
- Computer Navigation for Total Knee Replacement
- Computer Navigation for Total Knee Replacement
- Painful or Failed Total Knee Replacement
- Correction of a Failed Knee Replacement
- Knee Replacement with OrthAlign Technology
- Unicondylar Knee Replacement
- Outpatient Joint Replacement
- Partial Medial Knee Replacement
- Custom Knee Replacement
- Revision Knee Replacement
- Tricompartmental Knee Replacement
- Failed Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction
- ACL Reconstruction Procedure of Hamstring Tendon
- ACL Reconstruction of Patellar Tendon
- Physical Examination of the Knee
- Pre-op and Post-Op Knee Guidelines
- After Knee Replacement
- Am I a Candidate for Knee Surgery?