DAVE WATTS, MD
What’s normal and what’s not after knee replacement surgery
Active lifestyles and degenerative disorders can often lead to the need for a new knee. From athletes to seniors, those who have struggled with pain may find themselves considering knee replacement surgery.
If you have already had knee replacement surgery, or are considering your options, it is good to know what to expect. Here are some things that are considered normal after surgery, and a few things that you may want to prepare for.
If simply bumping your knee on the coffee table leads to a bruise, imagine what happens when you undergo major surgery. Bruising is the most natural part of knee injury recovery and can last 1-2 weeks after surgery.
While tenderness comes with bruising, make note if the discoloration or soreness fails to subside.
Stiffness is the most common complaint after any surgery. Your range of motion is sometimes the last thing to return after experiencing a major change in the composition of your frame. After rest, healing, and possibly some physical activity, you should find that you are able to move like you use to, ideally better and without pain.
If you find yourself unable to bend your knee, or are completely immobile, it is in your best interest to follow up with your doctor. While the implications could be serious, it is likely that your doctor will simply recommend some additional physical therapy to get you up and running.
Replacing a major joint in your body is a big deal. More than many other types of surgery, swelling in the area of your operation is expected to last for weeks. Your body has gone through a significant change and needs ample time to adjust accordingly.
If the swelling becomes red, expands beyond your knee, or lasts longer than a couple of weeks, it might indicate an infection. This can easily be treated using antibiotics and is best diagnosed by your surgeon.
Before your surgery, there’s a good chance you were experiencing some cracking and clicking, natural noises when a joint is in motion. After your surgery, definitely expect to hear continued clicking and popping as the mechanical components of your new knee get adjusted. The clicking may even continue long term.
If you experience sharp pain with any clicking sounds or additional discomfort associated with the noises in your knee, it is definitely time to contact a professional with questions.
You probably won’t be surprised to find that it will take some time for your body to adjust to having a new knee. Any knee pain treatment comes with some additional pain, but with time and gradual use, your body will acclimate naturally. However, if your pain persists or worsens, it might be time to reach out to your doctor.
Everything considered, knee replacement is the most effective way to move through pain and get back to the hobbies and activities that you love. Reach out to a local Sioux Falls orthopedic clinic for more information or to schedule a consultation.