Brazilian Natural Medicine

What is recovery like after knee replacement surgery?

Recovery after total knee replacement is usually quick, but it varies from person to person and the type of surgery performed.

The surgeon may indicate the use of analgesics to relieve the discomfort of pain after surgery, and in the first 2 weeks postoperatively, certain steps should be followed, such as:

  • 3 days without putting the foot on the ground, walking with the help of crutches;
  • Apply ice, usually 20 minutes, 3 times a day, for 7 days to reduce pain and swelling;
  • Bend and extend the knee several times a day, respecting the pain limit.

After 7 to 10 days, the stitches from the surgery should be removed.

What is physical therapy like after knee arthroplasty?

Knee rehabilitation should begin while still in the hospital, but it may take up to 2 months for complete recovery. Here are some treatment possibilities.

1. Physiotherapy in the hospital

Physiotherapy should be started as soon as possible, and can start soon after the operation, as it helps in the recovery of knee mobility and reduction of swelling, in addition to preventing thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

The entire rehabilitation process must be indicated by a physical therapist personally, respecting the person’s individual needs, but some guidelines on what can be done are indicated below.

On the same day of surgery:

  • Just lie down with your knee straight, if you don’t have a drain, you can lie on your side, with a pillow between your legs for greater comfort and spine positioning;
  • An ice pack can be placed on the operated knee for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 hours. If the knee is bandaged, ice should be applied for longer, staying up to 40 minutes with ice, a maximum of 6 times a day.

The day after surgery:

  • An ice pack can be placed on the operated knee for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 hours. If the knee is bandaged, ice should be applied for longer, staying up to 40 minutes with ice, a maximum of 6 times a day;
  • Ankle mobility exercises;
  • Isometric exercises for the thighs;
  • One can stand and support the foot of the operated leg on the floor, but without putting the weight of the body on the leg;
  • You can sit and get out of bed.

On the 3rd day after surgery:

  • Maintain isometric exercises for the thighs;
  • Exercises to bend and straighten the leg while still in bed, and also while sitting;
  • Start training using a walker or crutches.

After these 3 days, the person is usually discharged from the hospital and can continue physical therapy in a clinic or at home.

2. Physiotherapy at the clinic or home

After discharge, physical therapy treatment must be personally indicated by the physical therapist who will accompany the person, according to their assessment, it must be indicated what can be done to improve leg movement, be able to walk, go up and down stairs and return to usual daily activities. However, this treatment can be done with, for example:

  • Exercise bike for 15 to 20 minutes;
  • Electrotherapy with TENS for pain relief and Russian current to strengthen the thigh muscles;
  • Mobilization of the joint performed by the physical therapist;
  • Exercises to bend and straighten the knee performed with the help of the therapist;
  • Mobilization, contracting and relaxing exercises with the help of the therapist;
  • Stretches for the legs;
  • Exercises to strengthen the abdomen to help balance and maintain good posture;
  • Standing on top of a balance board or bosu.

After approximately 1 month of physical therapy, the person should be able to support the entire body weight on the operated leg, walking without limping or fear of falling. Standing on one foot and squatting on one foot should only be achieved from the 2nd month onwards, approximately.

At this stage, the exercises can become more intense by putting weights and you can start training to be able to go up and down stairs, for example. After a few weeks, some exercises that may be useful are changing directions when climbing stairs, or even climbing stairs sideways, for example.

Physiotherapy should not be exactly the same for two people who have had the same type of surgery, because there are factors that interfere with recovery, such as age, sex, physical capacity and emotional state. So, it is best to trust the physical therapist you have and follow their advice for faster rehabilitation.

Always consult a doctor.

Verified by RJ985 – Brazilian natural medicine CMIO.org

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