Did you know that almost half of all American adults will eventually develop knee arthritis at some point in their lives? Knee arthritis can lead to problems like stiffness, pain, as well as limited mobility in the legs. As such, many people opt for knee replacement surgery to alleviate their pain and restore function in their legs. While the average time for recovering from a knee replacement surgery is 6 months, it can take up to about 12 months before you can fully continue to do activities and exercises that are physically demanding. After all, you would not want to risk the knee that you just had surgery on. As such, adults and the elderly must take the appropriate measures to facilitate an effective knee replacement recovery. Read on to find out exactly what are these measures.
Understanding Knee Replacement Surgery
To facilitate better recovery, it is essential to first know what goes on in knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement surgery, otherwise known as arthroplasty, is a procedure that involves replacing the structure of an existing damaged knee with plastic and metal parts so as to restore proper function of the knee as well as to relieve chronic pain. For 90% of people that have had knee replacement surgeries, they experience significant improvements in pain experienced as well as their ability to get around. However, to go back to doing the activities you enjoy, you must first go through the long process of recovery.
Walking Whenever Possible
After the surgery, many might think that the best way to recuperate is to minimize movement and focus on static recovery. However, the truth is that the exact opposite is what’s needed to facilitate proper recovery. By starting to walk when it is possible to do so, you greatly reduce the chances of blood clots developing, keep your joints limber, and also help to improve circulation.
You don’t necessarily have to wait until you get home to start walking, many patients already start walking while they are still in the hospital. Of course, during the first couple of weeks after surgery, you are expected to use a walker to help stabilize yourself when moving about. The majority of all patients recovering from knee replacement surgery can start to walk independently approximately 4 to 8 weeks after surgery.
Managing Pain Effectively
Different people experience different levels of pain after surgery. Since pain is subjective, it is crucial that you are able to accurately describe to your medical team how intense the pain is as well as the location of the pain. For example, your care team would need to know the type of pain involved, whether it is stinging, sharp, burning, or tingling, amongst other types of pain.
Apart from these, you should also plan to have a well-balanced schedule of exercise and rest time. Of course, the exercise you engage in should not be physically demanding but rather just improve your muscles for quicker recovery.