After a knee replacement, it will take time to return to your everyday activities. Being aware of each step in the healing process makes a recovery much faster. Most patients will be able to continue their normal activities, but high-impact movements should be avoided because they stress on the knee. Each step of the healing process should be planned thoughtfully. Below are a few suggestions for care during the healing process.
Most patients have a 3 to 4-night stay in the hospital. Before the patient leaves they must demonstrate they can perform the following activities independently:
- Eat, drink, and use the bathroom
- Get in and out of bed
- Walk using an assistive device
- Perform recommended exercises
- Understand how to prevent injury
Once the doctor discharges the patient, they’ll receive the information they need to continue recovery at home.
There are a few things patients can do to make their home more comfortable whenever they return home. Some patients choose to rearrange their furniture so they can move around freely throughout their house. Patients should consider moving any rugs from locations they’ll frequently walk through to reduce chances of slipping. A shower chair or gripping bar can help patients remain stable when bathing. A chair that is firm and high can provide leg elevation for the patient as well. Patients should also be sure to keep the wound area clean and dry. Swelling following the surgery is normal for the first three to six months. Elevation and ice reduce swelling, compression stockings can also lessen pain.
Getting Back to Normal
Whenever the patient returns home, they should stay active but try not to do too much, too fast. Gradual improvements occur over time. Continue to perform the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist for at least two months following the surgery. The patient’s doctor will tell them when they can return to sports activities. In most cases, the patient can return to low-impact activities soon.
For more information about life after a knee replacement visit the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.