A knee replacement is what you end up with when the arthritis in your knee keeps you from doing your regular daily activities because of pain. Recovery from a knee replacement is relatively quick and I’ve never met anyone that wasn’t happy they had it done. Learn what to expect, the best exercises to do, and what goals you should have throughout all stages of recovery.
Following a typical knee replacement, the doctor insists you start walking and even going up/down stairs within hours of your surgery! That new knee of yours is likely more stable than your original knee was for quite some time. Yeah, there will be some pain from the surgery, but that will be short lived if you follow the proper regime for getting those muscles back into action. Active range of motion exercises keep the circulation going and diminish stiffness. Stretching also helps big time with the stiffness. Isometric strengthening and gradually dynamic strengthening exercises improves your stability and assists in ditching that walker or cane asap. Doing these same exercises prior to your surgery will help speed along recovery too. A win – win!
Video Transcript: Knee Replacement
If Physical Therapy hadn’t given you enough relief to help you avoid the surgery, welcome back- because now it definitely will! Physical therapy after a knee replacement will encourage you to do the right things even if you have doubts because of how much pain you are in. And your surgeon will be encouraging you to be aggressive as well. Believe it or not, while you are still under anesthesia, the doctor fully bends and extends your knee… all the way. Even though it doesn’t seem like it could be possible with how stiff and swollen you’re feeling right now, or how vulnerable the stitches or staples look- your knee is capable of safely moving through the full motion! And that is exactly what you need to be diligently working on starting today. Hi, I’m Josie, a licensed physical therapist, and your recovery after a knee replacement starts by making sure your knee can fully extend through it’s full range of motion. Getting it to bend is also very important, but you need your knee to be straight to be able to walk normally- so I’ve deemed the knee extension stretch, also known as the seated hamstring stretch, as being the number one exercise after a knee replacement. To do this, you’ll need to be sitting on a chair or couch or bed such that you can sit near the edge of the seat and have your leg straight with your heel on the floor. Like this. Place both hands here just above your knee joint line, and then push down with your hands as you bend forward with your body. You should feel it pull along the back of the knee. You might also be feeling pain at the front of your knee here on top like something is getting pinched. That is normal, don’t worry about that, and just do the exercise such that that pain is tolerable, and the stretch along the back side of your leg is fairly aggressive. Hold it at least 30 seconds, and do it at least 3 times, at least 3times per day. This exercise will help get rid of your limp when walking. As with most injuries, getting started asap is imperative to reduce pain and significantly shorten recovery time, and with a knee replacement it is even more urgent to start exercises right away. My full length PT session will take you through everything you need to know from the day you wake up from your surgery, to the day you return to your pre arthritis activities. Don’t delay. I’ll talk you through each stage of recovery and I’ll have a friend with me to help demonstrate the exercises. You’ll also get an exercise check list and illustrations of the exercises that you can print out to conveniently follow along with. Check it out! And I hope your recovery goes great!