If you’re experiencing difficulty walking or chronic pain in your knee, a knee replacement surgery might be necessary to regain comfort in your daily life. Before you can return to your usual activities, it’ll take some time to fully recover from the surgery and fully reap the benefits.
While recovery timelines may vary widely, there are many things you can do to make sure your post-surgical recovery goes as smoothly and effectively as possible.
What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement surgery is performed to relieve pain, reduce stiffness from injury or arthritis, and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. In this procedure, the damaged bone and cartilage are cut away and replaced with an artificial joint (prosthesis) made from metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers.
What Should You Expect After The Procedure?
You’ll stay in a recovery room for one to two hours. Depending on your individual needs, you may be required to stay at the hospital for some time. Some people are able to return home on the same day, depending on the type of procedure they get done. Whatever the case, your doctor will guide you through wound care, pain management, warning signs to look out for, and other pertinent information prior to discharging you. You will also be asked to walk before leaving the hospital. The sooner you begin to use the new knee, the better.
You’ll likely be prescribed medications to help control pain. You should regularly move your foot and ankle to increase blood flow to your leg and muscles, which prevents swelling and blood clots. For the best results, follow your doctor’s instructions on wound care, diet, and exercise.
How Can You Prepare For Recovery?
For several weeks after the procedure, you will need to use crutches or assistive devices until your strength and balance improve, so you should arrange for them before the surgery. You may need help with chores, such as cooking, doing laundry, and bathing, so plan ahead with a friend or loved one in case you need assistance.
It’s also best to make the necessary modifications to your home to make it safer and easier to navigate during recovery. Consider doing the following:
- Create a living space on the first floor, so you don’t need to climb up or down stairs.
- Install safety bars or handrails in your shower or bath.
- Secure stairway handrails.
- Get a stable chair with a firm seat cushion and a footstool to elevate your leg.
- Arrange for a toilet-seat riser if you have a low toilet.
- Remove loose rugs, carpets, and electrical cords that might cause you to trip.
- Purchase a reaching stick to grab objects with.
You should strictly follow the recovery instructions given by your orthopedic surgeon, such as diet and exercise. Take medications as directed and keep the surgical area clean. If you experience fever, redness, and swelling at the incision site, or chest pain, notify your doctor immediately.
How Long Is The Recovery Period?
In general, most patients can resume normal daily activities within 3 to 6 weeks after getting a knee replacement. However, it might take 4 to 6 months or an entire year to completely heal, regain total function, and reap the benefits of the surgery.
In terms of walking without assistance, most patients might need to use an assistive device for up to 6 weeks. At that point, there might still be some stiffness and discomfort, but you’ll most likely be able to walk. Usually after 3 months, you can expect to walk normally without assistance.
When it comes to driving, the timeframe may vary. Usually, it takes 3 to 6 weeks before you can get back behind the wheel. It takes 2 to 4 weeks to return to work, but if your work entails a significant amount of manual labor, recovery can take longer.
Gentle exercise is highly recommended during recovery. However, high-impact exercise, sports that involve contact or jumping, and other activities, such as jogging and skiing, should be put off until 8 to 12 weeks after the procedure. It’s advised to talk to your doctor about your limitations and restrictions in physical activity.
Knee Replacement Surgery In Connecticut
Knee replacement surgery provides pain relief, improves mobility, and enhances quality of life. Most knee replacements can last more than 15 years, giving you long-term relief from pain. If you want the effects to be successful and benefits to last, your recovery is absolutely crucial to your treatment.
If you want a healthcare partner who will thoroughly guide you through the entire process of knee replacement surgery and recovery, visit Advanced Orthopedics New England. Our highly skilled team, board-certified orthopedic surgeons, and advanced technology ensure a safe, comfortable experience for patients. We’re able to diagnose and treat your knee, as well as help you throughout your recovery.
To schedule an appointment with our providers, call us today at (860) 728-6740 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving your orthopedic needs!