After receiving a knee replacement, the first couple of weeks of recovery are incredibly important for the rest of your journey to recovery. In order to regain control, mobility and strength in your knee, you’ll have to follow physical therapy. In this article, we’ll help you prepare for your surgery, and we’ll give you a few important tips to remember for when you return home to help you speed up the recovery process as much as possible.
Tip 1: prepare your home to be ‘knee replacement’ friendly
Our first tip is to properly prepare your home for when you return from having knee replacement surgery. This includes doing some grocery shopping so you’re stocked up on food for a while, as well as doing some quick grocery shopping by yourself might not be possible for some time. Additionally, remove any tripping hazards from the ground, such as cables, rugs and clutter, and create some clear pathways wide enough for any mobility devices you might have to use to fit through by moving your furniture to the side. Consider investing in good quality handrails near the toilet, bathtub and shower to help you out as well. And lastly, some good cushions, snug slip-on shoes and slippers with non-slip soles are highly recommended to make the whole recovery process just a little more comfortable.
Tip 2: move as soon as possible after having your knee replacement
Right after your knee replacement surgery, your doctor will come to assess you to see if you’re able to move your knee and they might even invite you to walk. Your knee will be feeling sore and tired, but it is important to move at least a little as often as possible if your doctor gives you the clear to do so. Being active helps reduce the risk of blood clots forming by improving blood circulation, which also helps speed up the recovery process.
Tip 3: don’t just disregard the knee replacement recovery tools provided to you
While you might feel like you’re ready for more, without the approval of your doctor or therapist, we strongly recommend against doing what you feel is right. Always follow the instructions given to you by your doctor or physical therapist, because ignoring their advice might do more harm than good. For example, overextending or putting too much pressure on your knee might cause complications and damage your new knee replacement.
At the hospital, you will be provided with walking aids to help you move around safely. Disregarding the walking aids early might cause you to fall and injure yourself. It is important to keep using the recovery tools given to you so you can regain your strength and mobility without any risk.
Tip 4: follow up your knee replacement up with physical therapy
Physical therapy is an incredibly important part of your recovery process. Physical therapy consists of different exercises you do while under the supervision of a certified professional, who is able to monitor whether you’re doing the exercises right, but is also there to check if your knee is recovering well. Your therapist appointments may be in person or through a virtual meeting. As you recover, your therapist will expect you to follow up on the exercises and movements they tell you to do. This requires you to do strengthening and mobility improving exercises such as leg raises, sitting down and getting up from a sitting position, and going on daily walks.
How long you’ll need to do physical therapy depends on your personal situation. After around 7 to 12 weeks of having your knee replacement, patients generally have a wide range of motion and are able to carry out many low-impact activities again. It’s important that even after this time you continue to do the exercises your physical therapist recommends to you in order to further strengthen your knee.