When you have undergone surgery to treat chronic knee arthritis or a knee injury, you may want to know how to recover as thoroughly and painlessly as possible. You know about taking your pain prescription and physical therapy, but what else?
It’s time to get yourself back into shape so you can lead an active life once again. Let’s talk about a few helpful things you can do when recovering from knee surgery, and where you can go in Raleigh for outstanding knee replacement orthopedic care.
How to Recover After Knee Replacement Surgery
While it can take a number of months to fully recover from total knee replacement surgery, there are steps you can take to heal faster and more completely. Here are some tips:
- Get back on your feet and start walking as soon as possible. While it may seem counterintuitive to use a knee that has just been operated on, walking actually helps prevent post-operative complications such as blood clots. It improves circulation and thereby delivers nutrients to the tissues supporting your new knee, promoting faster healing. In fact, you will be guided by a physical therapist to start walking while you’re still in the hospital. It may require the use of a walker for the first couple of weeks, but you should be able to walk on your own without assistive aids (such as a walker or cane) in approximately three or four weeks after knee replacement surgery.
- Follow your physical therapy instructions. Physical therapy is an important part of recovery from knee surgery. Your physical therapist (PT) will show you exercises and stretches that are specifically designed to help your knee heal. It will seem difficult at first, but it is critical that you continue your therapy exercises as they will gradually strengthen your leg, restore movement in your knee, and help you walk normally again.
- Engage in safe physical exercise. In addition to physical therapy, it is important to perform other physical activities that help make your muscles stronger so you can heal quickly. However, you don’t want to suffer a setback, so don’t push yourself too hard, and refrain from any exercise that causes too much pain. Ask your knee surgeon or physical therapist about which exercises are safe to perform, such as extra walks or riding on a bike or an elliptical machine.
- While exercise is important, it is also key to get sufficient rest when healing and recovering from knee surgery. You can expect some mild to moderate swelling of your knee during the first few months following surgery, but by getting enough rest, keeping your leg elevated above your heart level when sitting or lying down (this helps to alleviate swelling), and applying an ice pack periodically to the area, you can help speed up your healing time.
Knee Surgeon in Raleigh, Apex, and Brier Creek, NC
Having a dedicated and highly skilled knee surgeon in your corner is the best way to ensure a faster recovery from knee replacement surgery or any other type of joint surgery.
As a board-certified and fellowship-trained hip and knee replacement specialist, Dr. Brett Gilbert is uniquely qualified to diagnose your joint pain, recommend the appropriate course of action, and administer the treatment – including performing a total or partial knee replacement surgery that provides the best possible outcome from advanced knee arthritis.