Most patients who undergo knee replacement surgery can expect a better quality of life. The knee arthroplasty improves mobility and relieves pain, after all. However, a complete return to everyday activities post-surgery will take time and patience.
For you to maximize the benefits of your knee replacement, you’ll need to be an active participant in your healing process. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind for a safe and smooth-sailing journey back to your daily routine.
Recovery At The Hospital
Within 24 Hours Post-Surgery
As part of standard protocol, patients who undergo knee replacement surgery are encouraged to stand up within 12 to 24 hours. Under the supervision of your doctor or a physiotherapist, you can complete short walks from your hospital bed to a nearby chair. You’ll do this exercise with the aid of a standing frame or crutches.
If you experience discomfort while walking, don’t worry — it’s normal. Your legs and feet may also swell as a side effect of the surgery, and exercise will improve circulation and decrease it. Your doctor may suggest using a passive motion machine as an alternative or supplement to exercise.
Within 3 Days Post-Surgery
Patients generally spend around 2-3 days in a hospital, subject to doctor’s orders. However, you may be discharged from the hospital as soon as the day after your operation.
Your healthcare providers will monitor you closely during your hospital stay to see if you’re recovering well. After a week, most patients can walk independently with the aid of assistive devices. A physical therapist will also teach you exercises to strengthen your knee. It is vital to do these exercises correctly to avoid complications and dislocating your joints.
Recovery At Home
Once you’re free to go home, your doctor will give you a set of instructions for a hitch-free post-surgery journey. Here are some of them:
Your healthcare provider will teach you the proper way of cleaning and dressing your wound to prevent infections. Stick to their instructions carefully and watch out for signs of infection. Keeping your wound clean and dry should be one of your top priorities while recovering. Notify your doctor immediately if it continues to drain beyond the first few days post-operation.
Also, do not let your wound get wet for the first six weeks after your knee replacement surgery.
Wearing a knee brace can help avoid unnecessary strain and movement until it’s okay to do so. Your doctor may also recommend sporting a support hose and compression boot to reduce swelling.
Your doctor will likely advise you to take blood thinners to help with swelling and prevent clotting. They may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications for knee pain. If you are given antibiotics for infection, it is essential to follow the correct course of therapy and finish your medications.
It’s vital to continue doing the exercises your physical therapist taught you in the hospital. These will aid your recovery and help you regain your mobility while decreasing the risk of complications. They may also continue seeing you either at home or a clinic to monitor your progress.
After you are discharged, you may return to your normal diet. Your doctor may encourage you to take iron and vitamin supplements. If you’re taking blood thinners, you will be advised to avoid vitamin K supplements and foods high in vitamin K. Your doctor will also caution you against gaining extra weight to avoid putting more pressure on your knees.
Resuming Normal Activities
Generally, patients can resume most daily activities, including light housekeeping and shopping about 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Consult your doctor and physical therapist before attempting to or planning a drive. Your knee sees a lot of use while driving, so you need to have a minimum level of muscle control and healing before you can drive a vehicle. You also need to be off any opioid or narcotic medications.
Comprehensive Orthopaedic Care In St. Charles County, MO
Like any other operation, recovery from knee replacement surgery takes time. Rushing the recovery process can lead to complications. Be patient and diligent in following the tips above, and you’ll be sure to enjoy your brand-new knee for a long time.
Also crucial to your complete recovery is a healthcare provider who’ll be there with you every step of the way. At Advanced Bone and Joint, we provide hands-on care to our patients, from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation. You can rest assured that our board-certified orthopedic doctors will give you the best quality of care.
If you want to learn more about our services, you can contact us at (636) 229-4222. You can also book a consultation through our online appointment request form. Visit us today, and let us help you take your first step towards wellness!