Planning Your Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery

Planning Your Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery

You want to be able to really move again and do things you haven’t been able to do for a while because of your knee pain. You’ve scheduled that knee replacement. Now what do you do? 

Having a knee replacement procedure requires advance planning so your recovery goes smoothly. Our caring staff at Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee, takes care of the surgical part of having a knee replaced. 

We also give you instructions on how to prepare for the most successful recovery. 

You know you won’t be entering your home the same way you left it after you have a knee replacement operation. Following are some helpful tips so you and your home are ready for your recovery. 

Prepare your home 

Make sure you have a clear path to enter your home and the room where you’ll be resting. Clear away all loose rugs and other tripping hazards. Place extra cushions on chairs where you’ll be sitting so you can get up more easily. 

Place things you‘ll need on a large side table next to the bed or your recliner. Keep a pitcher with a lid on it so you can refill your glass. Make sure you can charge your phone easily. Wear clothes with pockets so you’re not tempted to hold things in your hand while you’re using your walker. 

Gather the assistive devices you’ll need

Before your operation, you may want to set up a raised toilet seat in the bathroom you’ll be using. Also, long-handled reachers can be arm extenders to help you reach what you need while you’re in a recliner or the bed. 

If you have a handheld shower head and a tub chair, it makes bathing easier. You’ll likely leave the hospital with a walker. 

Immediate post-surgery 

You’ll likely be staying in the hospital for a day or two. The staff teaches you how to get out of bed and safely use the bathroom. Yes, you’ll be walking (with assistance, e.g. a walker). 

Within 24 hours, you’ll be working with a physical therapist in the hospital who leads you through exercises in very gently moving the knee. 

Walking after a knee replacement avoids dangerous blood clots and keeps your blood flowing, which provides healing nutrients to the area of your operation. 

Family, friend, or rehab center

You’ll need to rely on a family member or friend for several days once you leave the hospital. If neither is available, you’ll go to rehab center until you’re ready to go home, which might be a week or two or longer. 

You’ll need help with such tasks as preparing your meals, making sure you don’t fall, emptying the garbage, and helping you with bathing. 

Physical therapy 

Physical therapy is an important step in your recovery. Once you get home, you’ll have physical therapy appointments each week for three months. You’ll have two or three appointments each week. Plan ahead to have family or a friend drive you to your appointments. 

As a Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine patient, you save time and effort because you can combine your follow-up doctor’s appointments with physical therapy appointments in our office. 

Although some of the exercises prove difficult at first, it’s important that you work hard to approximate what your therapist is asking so you’re eventually able to move to that extent. 

Each week builds on the last. Doing your exercises at home every day is mandatory for a successful recovery. If you don’t exercise the knee, it will become stiff and painful. 

One month post-surgery

After a month, you should be walking with a cane within about a month after your knee replacement. 

Within three to four weeks, you’ll likely be able to start driving again and running errands like you usually do, depending on how far you can bend your knee and whether you have strong enough muscles to use the accelerator and brake properly. 

Two months post-surgery 

You can start low-impact physical activity. Walking in your neighborhood on even pavement is excellent exercise, as is swimming. 

Three to four months post-surgery

Depending on your recovery, you may start to return to higher-impact activity. Don’t try to start at your previous level of work or play, however. Begin slowly, and gradually increase your physical activity. 

Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine or book an appointment online for all of your musculoskeletal needs. We help ensure a smooth recovery from knee replacement surgery. 

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