If you are one of the millions of people who will be undergoing knee replacement surgery this year, then it is important to start preparing for your rehabilitation as soon as possible. Successful rehabilitation can mean the difference between a quick and easy recovery, and months of pain and frustration. Follow these tips discussed below, and you will be on your way to a smooth and speedy recovery!
It is important to start preparing for your knee surgery at least two weeks in advance. This will give you time to get all of your ducks in a row and make sure that everything is taken care of before your procedure. This means completing any pre-surgical tests and appointments, as well as getting your home ready for post-operative recovery. Here are some things you should take care of:
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital after your surgery and stay with you for at least the first few days.
- Make sure you have all of the supplies you will need for post-operative care, including ice packs, compression bandages, pain medication, and a knee brace if prescribed.
- Remove any rugs or other tripping hazards from your home.
- Stock up on healthy, easy-to-digest foods that you can eat when you are unable to cook.
First Two Weeks After Surgery
Your procedure will be done at a hospital or a surgery center. Depending on your situation, you may go home the same day (this is necessary if surgery is performed at a surgery center) or spend the night at the hospital. A physical therapist will see you the day of surgery and will help you put weight on the operating leg as needed.
First Twelve Weeks
The first 12 weeks are the most challenging. Dr. Larson will prescribe appropriate medications to help you and physical therapy will help the recovery.
If you have a low physically demanding job, you could go back by 6 weeks. More physically demanding jobs may be up to 12 weeks. Many patients feel 85-90% of normal by 6 months post-procedure and will continue to heal for 12 months.
Returning To Your Activities
It is important to remember that everyone recovers at a different pace and there is no set timetable for returning to your activities. You should discuss with your doctor what you can expect in terms of returning to work, driving, etc. The more limited you are in your activities before surgery, the longer it takes to get back to normal activities after surgery.
- Begin with short walking in the first couple of weeks after your surgery
- Patients usually return to gym or pool activities between 8-12 weeks
- Golfers typically return to the course anywhere from 12-16 weeks after surgery
A total knee replacement is a significant procedure with a long recovery time. Being correctly prepared for it will save you time and discomfort in the long run.