What is physical therapy like after knee replacement?  With over one million knee replacement surgeries per year it is becoming one of the most popular procedures.  In fact, by 2030 this number is expected to grow to 3.5 million.  What can you expect when the road to recovery begins?  Knee replacement surgery — also known as arthroplasty (ARTH-row-plas-tee) — is most commonly done to relieve severe pain in the knee.  People who are candidates for knee surgery are often in pain as they walk, climb stairs, and stand up from a sitting position.  In severe cases people can experience pain in their knee even during no activity at all (e.g., laying in bed).

How Much Will It Hurt?

The pain of knee replacement surgery should always be compared with the daily pain of a diseased knee joint.  The vast majority of patients who receive a knee replacement report instant relief from the familiar pain.  The recovery from the surgery is often a fraction of the pain experienced during years of a degrading knee.  But as with any surgery there will be pain from swelling, incision site healing (small), and inflammation from the actual procedure of removing the diseased knee and replacing it with metal and plastic parts.  Your surgeon will prescribe you the appropriate amount of pain medication.

How Should I Prepare for My Recovery of Knee Replacement Surgery?

The most important thing to prepare for your recovery from knee replacement surgery is your attitude.  You will have a fresh knee and fresh opportunity to build its strength over the first few weeks.  You may have to adjust your living arrangements to accommodate for the following:

  • Remove any tripping hazards on your floors: rugs, cords, and any objects (e.g., children’s toys) that might cause to you fall.
  • Buy or rent a shower chair.  You may need to sit while bathing for the first few weeks.
  • Create a living space on the first floor of your home if you have a multi-level home.
  • Purchase a toilet-seat riser if you have a low toilet.

How Does Physical Therapy Help After Knee Replacement Surgery?

Physical therapists work in hospitals to help educate you on how to care for your new knee once you go home.  They will teach you advanced methods of how to:

  • Ice your knee
  • Use compression wraps (to control swelling)
  • Elevate your leg properly and comfortably

Physical therapists will also teach you how to properly and comfortably use crutches or a walker and how to get in and out of your car.  You will also learn a series of exercises, stretches, and motions to help your knee heal correctly.  The first 14 days of your recovery will be focused on pain management, decreasing swelling, healing of the incision points, and restore normal walking.  After those two weeks you will begin a physical therapy regimen to strengthen your knee and leg, which will include functional and activity-specific training.  Many patients also overlook that they have developed a poor gait due to the pain in their knee.  The new knee will require your body to “relearn” how to walk without pain which often requires a physical therapist or a specialized trainer.

Natural Health Sports Therapy Is Orange County’s #1 Source for Knee Replacement Surgery Rehabilitation

Our physical therapists and trainers are the leading experts in Orange County and all of Southern California.  Don’t take chances with your new knee!  Contact us today and let us help you prepare for a seamless and high-quality recovery.