The post-surgery rehab period for a knee replacement patient is as important as the surgery itself if not more so. It is extremely important to follow the orthopedic surgeon’s instructions carefully. Below listed are some dos and don’ts to guide the patient and the caregiver.
Dos after Knee Surgery
- The patient and caregiver must follow the directions of the surgeon, clinical team and physiotherapist.
- The physiotherapist and surgeon may recommend that the patient start doing some regular light exercises post-surgery including walking, swimming and cycling.
- The patient must take all prescribed pain medication. In case the medication is not relieving the pain, the patient should speak to the clinical team.
- It may help if the patient applies ice (rolled up in a plastic bag to avoid direct contact) to the knee to manage swelling. This may decrease pain and improve range of motion.
- The patient may find it useful to keep the knee elevated, above heart level, in bed, using pillows.
- The patient must get lots of rest to accelerate healing. In case, he/she is unable to get adequate quantities of rest, then he/she should discuss with the doctor at the earliest possible.
- The patient will benefit significantly from maintaining ones weight post-surgery. Extra kilos add to the pressure on the new knee, which may delay or slow down rehabilitation. Being overweight may also increase chances of getting arthritis in the other knee.
Don’ts after Knee Surgery
- The knee shouldn’t be twisted suddenly. Instead, one can turn their entire body to avoid stress on the replaced joint. Jamming forces or impacts on the knee should be avoided.
- Alcohol should be avoided especially if the surgeon has prescribed blood thinners or heavy pain killers.
- Smoking should also be avoided as it could delay the recovery process by compromising immunity and weakening the system.
- It is important to consult the orthopedic surgeon before scheduling any other procedure on the bladder, intestines, or carry out any dental work. These may lead to infection in the new joint.
- Lifting heavy objects is not advised post-surgery as it may damage the new knee.
- The patient must try to preserve balance at all times and avoid a fall at all costs. This can be achieved if the house is organized and well lit without any stray paraphernalia lying around. Initially, the patient can walk with some support to ensure balance is maintained.
- Needless to say, high impact activities such as strenuous sports like squash, soccer and rock climbing etc should be avoided.
Note: These are general Dos and Don’ts and do not factor individual patients’ physical/health condition. Please consult your surgeon/doctor to find out specific Dos and Don’ts applicable to your case.