Total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is usually performed after conservative treatment options have been exhausted for arthritis or joint degeneration following injury or wear and tear. Every year in the US alone, over 300,000 TKR are performed. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this number is expected to increase by 525% by year 2030.
Some general guidelines to keep in mind following your surgery to facilitate your rehabilitation process.
–Expect pain for 8-12 weeks following surgery – use the pain medications prescribed by your MD. Ice, exercise, and keeping the weight off the knee will help too.
–Avoid excessive walking for the first two months. Contrary to popular belief, walking more is not going to help you heal faster. Your knees are a load-bearing joint and you just had a major surgery. The more you load the joint by walking and standing, the more it will get irritated and inflamed. The more the inflammation – the more swelling – the less your local muscles around your joint will work. Especially the quadriceps, which tends to shut down and atrophy. So walk for FUNCTION…walk short distances and don’t get the knee irritated.
–Use your walker for the first two months. It will help you keep the load off the joint and allow healing to take place faster.
–Focus on exercises in non-weight bearing position – laying on your back or sitting (consult your physical therapist).
–Stationary bike can be a good option – once you have adequate bend in the knee.
–Ice 4-5 times a day and elevate your leg to keep the swelling and inflammation under control.
–See your physical therapist as soon as your orthopedic surgeon allows you to start physical therapy after the surgery.
–Remember it is your knee. If you don’t take responsibility and do your exercises or follow recommendations by your MD or physical therapist – you are the one who might suffer or have to live with a problematic knee. It can take up to 1 year for the knee to heal after the surgery and for you to get back to all your activities. This may vary from person to person.
Focus on maintaining good health throughout this process to help your body heal properly. Be patient with yourself and work diligently.
This information is for education purposes only. Please consult your physician, physical therapist or wellness practitioner before starting any rehabilitation, wellness or fitness program.
Physical Therapist, Clinical Ayurveda Herbalist, Exercise Science Specialist
– Founder of Tridosha Wellness Products
– Formulator of TriSport Herbal Formulas “your natural fitness and holistic medicine solution”
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