You'll soon be having that knee joint replacement and look forward to walking without pain once again. Once the orthopedic surgeon has completed the procedure, it's up to you to make your recovery go well. It takes time to restore function to the knee joint, but if done right, you can have a smooth and issue-free recovery. Here are some ways that you can make sure that happens for you.
1. Stay focused on your exercises and physical therapy.
Your doctor and physical therapist will establish a schedule for you to do exercises to increase the flexibility and strength of your new knee. Set a pace for these exercises and keep at it. Look for incremental improvements, not big changes. Slowly, your knee will regain its range of motion and the muscles will become strong enough to support the joint.
2. Plan ahead with your pain medications.
Your exercise and physical therapy sessions will go better if you aren't in pain or anticipating a lot of pain after the sessions. Plan your pain medication schedule around your exercises and therapy. Allow about a half hour for the pain medication to become effective before you give your knee a workout.
3. Follow all weight-bearing instructions.
Your doctor will tell you when you can place light weight on your leg and knee. As the ligaments and tendons heal from the surgery, you'll be able to add more weight. It will be weeks before you put full weight on your knee, and you'll still use a cane or crutches for support. Until then, the muscles in your knee are not strong enough to support the joint. Putting too much weight on your knee too soon puts you at risk of injuring the tissues in the joint.
4. Follow all range-of-motion instructions.
Allowing your new knee to bend or rotate too far too soon is another way to injure the knee joint. The ligaments that secure the bones together need time to heal. A sudden twisting of your knee or bending it at more of an angle that recommended can cause injury to the ligaments and even a dislocation of the knee components. Your physical therapist will track how much you can safely bend your knee. Make sure you don't exceed that.
5. Never get in a hurry.
No matter how good you feel and how far along your knee has come, don't push it beyond its limits. Your knee is vulnerable to injury should the muscles become overly tired. They will stretch and be unable to support the knee. When you start to feel good about your knee is when you should be the most cautious about overdoing it with your daily activities.
A smooth recovery from your total knee surgery depends on balancing your exercise, physical therapy and pain medications. Once you've found the right balance, and set a pace for making incremental progress, continue forward with that until you've regained the pain-free function of the knee that you've been looking forward to. An orthopedic specialist, such as those at Richmond Orthopedic Associate Inc, can give you more information about recovering from knee replacement surgery.