Arthritis has worn down the cartilage in your knee so that it's painful just taking a step or two. You're scheduled to have a total knee joint replacement done in a few weeks. The surgery itself is the first step toward you walking again without pain. The rest of the recovery is up to you and what you do while you're at home. Here are some tips to help make your recovery from knee surgery the best experience possible.
Start By Preparing Your Home Before You Go In For Surgery
When you get home from the hospital, you'll be weak and your knee will be stiff. You'll move slowly for a few days as you get accustomed to walking with crutches. Make it easier on yourself by rearranging your home to be more friendly toward being on crutches.
- Clear a path through every room so you can get through easily with crutches.
- Pick up rugs that could cause you to slip and fall as you walk through the house.
- Move objects out of the way that could prove to be an obstacle, such as trash cans and magazine stands.
- If your bedroom is not on the first floor, move it there temporarily so you won't have to navigate stairs until you are stronger.
- If you have to go downstairs to get to your washer and drier, get some help with your laundry until you've had practice with stairs.
Stick to a Medication Schedule
Your doctor will send you home from the hospital with one or more pain medications. Your knee will be stiff and there will be some pain as you begin physical therapy to loosen up and strengthen your knee. Set a schedule for taking your pain medication and continue that until your doctor says you can cut back. Having the pain medication in your system before you really need it helps reduce the pain when doing your physical therapy sessions and exercises. Don't wait until the pain is severe to take any pain medication because it won't be as effective.
Find a Comfortable Pace and Stick To It
You'll be focused on the physical therapy of your knee when you get home. The first few weeks will be about getting the range of motion back in your stiff knee. The next phase will be strengthening the muscles in and around your knee. A successful recovery depends on setting a slow pace that makes incremental progress.
Your doctor will set you up with a physical therapist at a location like Bonita Community Health Center. Work with your physical therapist to set a pace which lets you make progress without putting stress on your knee. Stick to that pace, regardless of how good you feel. On some days, you'll be tempted to push yourself, which can result in falling or overworking your knee. You'll then set back your recovery until you feel like exercising again. Be patient and learn to be satisfied with slow incremental progress, one step at a time.