10 Helpful Tips for Knee Replacement Recovery
1. Start Physical Therapy before your surgery! Studies show that doing “Prehab” before your surgery leads to better outcomes and faster recovery. You’ll also be able to ask your Physical Therapist any questions or concerns you have regarding your surgery and recovery.
2. Practice good nutrition and hydration. Nutrition and hydration are important but especially so when healing from surgery. Get your fruits and veggies as well as at least 8 cups or 64oz of water every day.
3. Stay Positive. Recovery after knee replacement surgery can be challenging but remember your PT team is on your side to motivate you along the way. Celebrate your progress, regardless of how small and stay focused on your goals.
4. Take your pain meds. Follow your doctor or pharmacist instructions on taking pain meds after surgery. They will help to decrease swelling, manage pain for sleep and decrease risk for blood clots so you can get up and move sooner after surgery.
5. Get moving! While you’ll need to rest your body to allow for proper healing, movement also aids the healing process to prevent stiffness and contractures in the knee. Your Physical Therapist will give you simple exercises to work on to help you move around easier for a quick recovery.
6. Take care of your incision. Make note of any bleeding or weeping and notify your PT or doctor of any changes. Keep the water proof bandage on until your doctor removes it to prevent infection. No creams, lotions or other ointments until your incision is fully closed once the bandage is removed.
7. Attend your Physical Therapy appointments! Aside from strengthening your muscles and getting you walking, your PT team is there to help answer questions and concerns you may have as well as monitoring your incision and checking for blood clots.
8. Rest when needed. Mobility is very important in recovery but so is rest and sleep to allow your body to heal. Take breaks and be sure to elevate your leg above your heart to help decrease swelling, although it will be tempting, try to avoid placing a pillow or towel roll under your knee when resting. Frequently resting in a flexed (knee bent) position can make it difficult to achieve full extension range of motion. This is also a good time to utilize ice to help with swelling.
9. Use your assistive device. Whether it be a walker or a cane using an assistive device is necessary to help with your balance and strength as well as practicing proper walking technique. This is especially true at night, no need to risk a fall when getting up to use the restroom.
10. When in doubt, call your Physical Therapists’ office with questions or concerns! Get started today on a path towards better health and fast recovery.