After a successful knee replacement surgery, the process of recovery and rehabilitation plays a vital role in getting you back on your feet and continuing an active lifestyle. It can help you recover from surgery faster and significantly increase your chances of long-term success. Recovery time can vary depending on the person and the type of surgery performed and must follow the surgeon’s advice regarding knee care. If you actively participate in the healing process, you can get there early with more successful results.
It is essential to commit to the plan and encourage yourself to do as much as possible every day. Read this blog provided by Dr Vasu Juvvadi to find out what to expect during the critical weeks of recovery and how to set goals for your healing.
Discharge From Hospital:
The stay at your hospital usually lasts 1 to 4 days, depending on the speed of your recovery. If your knee replacement is done on an outpatient basis, you will return on the day of the surgery.
While returning home, your health care team will provide you with information to help you recover at home. Although the rate of complications after knee replacement is low, it can delay or limit full recovery. Hospital staff will discuss possible complications and discuss warning signs of infection or blood clots with you. Let your doctor know or meet a doctor if you experience any new symptoms.
Knee recovery at home continues after you get home:
Recovery at Home:
You need someone to help at home for several days to several weeks after returning home. Ask a friend, family member or caregiver to take care of you at home after the operation.
You may feel very tired at first, and the muscles and tissue around your new knee may need time to recover. Follow the instructions provided by the surgeon and contact a doctor if you have a specific problem or question. After being discharged from the hospital, you can use aids for up to 6 weeks.
Exercise given by a physiotherapist is an essential part of your recovery. It is necessary to continue with them once you are at home. A physiotherapist supervises your rehabilitation. Follow the instructions given below for early and better recovery:
Surgical Wound Care:
During recovery at your home, follow these instructions to treat your wound and prevent infection:
- Keep the wound area clean and dry. Bandages are applied in the hospital and must be changed as often as ordered by a doctor. Before leaving the hospital, ask for instructions to change bandage dressing.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions about how long to wait before bathing or showering.
- Notify your doctor immediately if the wound appears red or swollen. It can be a sign of infection.
There may be moderate to severe swelling in the first days or weeks after surgery. After surgery, there may be mild to moderate swelling for about 3 to 6 months. To reduce swelling, lift your legs slightly and apply ice. Wearing compression stockings can also help reduce swelling. Tell your doctor if you experience new or severe swelling because this can be a warning sign of blood clots.
Take all medications according to a doctor’s instructions. Home medications can include pills for opioid and non-opioid pain, oral or injection blood thinners, stool softeners, and nausea medications. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all the medicines you use before the surgery, including over-the-counter medicines, supplements and vitamins. Your doctor will tell you what OTC drugs are safe for you if you take prescription painkillers.
You should eat healthy food on returning from the hospital. A doctor may recommend taking iron and vitamin supplements. Avoiding dietary supplements rich in vitamin K and food rich in vitamin K can also be recommended if you use warfarin, a blood-thinning drug (Coumadin).
Continue to drink lots of fluids and avoid alcohol. You must continue to monitor your weight so that you no longer have joint problems.
Resumption of normal activities:
After you go home, you must stay active. The key is not to do too much or too fast. Although you can expect some good and bad days, you will see a gradual increase in activities over time. In general, the following guidelines apply:
In most cases, it is safe to continue driving if you no longer use narcotic medications, and when your strength and reflexes are back to normal. Your doctor will help you determine when it’s safe to start driving again.
You can sleep comfortably on your back, on both sides of your stomach.
Back to work:
Depending on the type of job and the speed of recovery, it may take several days to several weeks before you can start working again. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to resume your normal work activities.
Sports and Exercise:
- Continue the exercise prescribed by a physiotherapist at least two months after surgery. In some cases, your doctor may recommend you ride a stationary bicycle to maintain muscle tone and keep your knees flexible. After the doctor takes you further, you can return to the many sports and enjoy as before knee replacement.
- Walk as much as you like, but remember that walking does not replace the exercise prescribed by a doctor and physiotherapist.
How long does it take to recover from after knee replacement surgery?
- You should be able to stop using your crutches or walking aids and resume normal recreational activities six weeks after surgery. However, it can take up to 3 months for pain and swelling to calm down. Swelling may take up to a year to disappear.
- Your new knee will continue to heal for up to 2 years after surgery. During this time, the signs of the scar heal and the muscles can be restored through exercise.
- Even after recovery, you should avoid extreme movements or sports that are at risk of falling. A doctor or physiotherapist can give advice.
- You will see your orthopaedic surgeon regularly during the first year after surgery.
- During this visit, the doctor will take an x-ray and discuss your comfort level, mobility, how your new knee works for you, and any problems. The doctor will try to heal you well and make progress towards your recovery goals.
Knowing what to expect after knee replacement can help you recover better and optimize the success of the procedure. Ask a surgeon and medical team for more information about what to expect after knee surgery.
If you are considering a knee replacement, contact an orthopaedic surgeon Dr Vasu Juvvadi for information about treatment options. After the examination and all necessary imaging procedures, the doctor can assess whether non-invasive treatment is worth trying or consult with you about possible surgical options. To make an appointment, call Dr Vasu Juvvadi at +91 88860 68368 using our online appointment request form.