DAVE WATTS, MD
Commonly Asked Questions about Knee Replacement Recovery
When it comes time for knee replacement surgery, most patients find that they’re ready to leave pain and limitations behind. While there is a long road to recovery after any surgical procedure, the path can be made easier when you know exactly what to expect from the recovery process.
Any Sioux Falls orthopedic specialist should be happy to answer any and all of your questions on the subject of surgery and recovery, so don’t hesitate to ask if you have any concerns. After all, you want to be sure you’re making the best choices concerning your own health, and this means being proactive.
Of course, you might not really know what questions to ask if you’re new to surgery and the knee injury recovery process. Here are just a few of the most commonly asked questions about knee replacement recovery that you may want to ask beforehand.
What Can I Do to Prepare for Recovery?
There are several steps patients can take to prepare for knee surgery and subsequent recovery. First and foremost, you need to make sure your home environment is set up so that you don’t have to navigate stairs for a while. You may find that adding a temporary toilet and/or shower railings for support or a bench in the shower is helpful, as well.
You should also line up physical assistance, whether you count on a spouse, an adult child, or a home caregiver for assistance, at least in the days immediately following your surgery. You might need help with daily activities like standing, walking, dressing, bathing, and more, and you won’t be able to drive for several weeks.
If you want to do all you can to minimize recovery time, consider adding regular exercise to your daily routine to adopt the habit and prepare for PT. Some patients may also want to lose a few pounds to reduce stress on joints before and after surgery.
How Long is the Healing Process?
Many patients want to know when they can return to normal activities following a knee replacement surgery. The truth is that it’s difficult to tell. It really depends on each patient and how quickly their body heals.
Generally speaking, patients can expect to return to normal daily activities (low impact) within about six weeks. However, it’s hard to estimate when a patient will fully recover. It could take anywhere from about three months to a year, during which follow-up care and probably physical therapy will be required.
During this time, there may be setbacks like reinjury if you push too hard, so it’s always best to follow the advice of physicians and PTs to the letter and go slow. Your perseverance will pay off in the end, thanks to a new knee that functions even better than the old one.
Will There be Pain During Recovery?
If you’re undergoing knee replacement surgery, there’s a good chance you’re already suffering from knee pain. However, a surgical procedure is also going to result in some pain during the healing process. You can rely on knee pain treatment like OTC or prescription pain killers to alleviate pain following your surgery, and with regular physical therapy you should recover as quickly as possible, eliminating pain and returning to your life.