Knee Replacement: What to Expect From the Process
If your orthopedic specialist has determined that you need a knee replacement, you're probably preparing for the surgery and the recovery period already. For those who have never had a knee replacement or know anyone who has, the entire process can be unfamiliar. That's why your orthopedist will want you to be fully prepared for the process. Here's a look at some of the things that you should understand as you're getting ready for your knee replacement.
Start as Strong as Possible
Talk with your orthopedist about muscle-strengthening exercises that you can do leading up to your surgery. The stronger those muscles are, the easier your recovery is going to be. Remember that your muscles and tendons provide necessary support and control for your joints, so the more you can prepare that tissue around your knee, the better your overall surgery experience is likely to be.
Expect Some Downtime
Especially during the first couple of weeks post-surgery, your orthopedist will want you to rest your knee as much as you can. They will, however, give you some recommendations for some stretches and exercises that you will need to do as directed.
These stretches and exercises are about more than just helping your knee recover. In those first couple of months after your surgery, you'll want to do everything you can to reduce the risk of blood clots, which is what those exercises will help to do.
You'll Be Moving Around Sooner Than You Think
You'll be in the hospital for at least a couple of days following your surgery so that your orthopedist can monitor your post-procedure recovery. The day after the surgery, you'll be guided by the nursing staff to get on your feet, with the help of a walker or other assistance device. You'll learn how to get out of bed, walk around, and sit with your leg braced for healing.
You'll also typically be expected to demonstrate the ability to use the bathroom and walk up a couple of steps before your discharge. The nursing staff will work with you to help ensure your mobility and to get you walking a few steps at a time in the day or two after your procedure.
Know Your Limits
Your orthopedist will test your limits as you meet for follow-up appointments in the weeks after your surgery. They will want to see your range of motion and your mobility, assessing your recovery along the way. Know your limits and resist the urge to push yourself harder than you can comfortably handle during this stage. Explain to your orthopedist if particular movements hurt because they will need to know if there's a problem.
Talk with orthopedic treatment services for more tips to help you prepare for your knee replacement surgery.