At first, the cortisone shots helped with your knee pain and discomfort. However, recently, they’ve become less effective.
You’ve realized this is not a long-term solution.
After months – or maybe even years—of coping with joint pain, you and your physician have decided that knee replacement surgery will give you the new lease on life that you want and deserve.
We’ve performed thousands of knee replacements for Triangle residents, and we’re often asked what to expect after surgery. We believe these five important elements will provide the information you need.
5 Things to Expect When Having a Complete Knee Replacement
1. You’ll be on your feet the day of your knee surgery
You may be surprised to learn that most patients will go home the same day of surgery.
We’re often asked, how long does knee replacement surgery take? While there may be some variation based upon each individual case, in general, it takes around two to three hours. After the surgery, we’ll help ensure that any pain is well-controlled so you can start rehabilitation that same day.
After the procedure, you’ll wear compression stockings in order to prevent blood clots. You may also have breathing exercises to ensure your lungs are clear.
Your physical therapist will come to your hospital room and will help you stand. They will work with you to assist you as you take those first steps with your new knee. They’ll also show you how to get in and out of bed and how to use assistive devices.
You’ll also have a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine. This device will gently move your joint in order to prevent stiffness and scar tissue.
2. You’ll have physical therapy “homework” to help rehabilitate the knee that was replaced.
Your physical therapists will work closely with you to get you back to your normal routine as soon as possible. Often, this means doing a lot of exercises both with the therapist and while you’re at home.
These exercises are designed to help you regain your normal range of motion. Following these instructions diligently and to the letter will help you get back to your regular level of functioning faster.
Your pain should be well-controlled, but if any of the exercises cause pain or discomfort, you should let your doctor and your physical therapist know.
3. Tools and things you need at home after a knee replacement
It will take time for your knee to heal, and in the interim, you need to be sure that your home is safe for you to easily navigate. This could mean as part of your knee replacement recovery you may need:
- To use handrails
- Purchase a shower bench
- Remove any loose cords in the house
- Secure any rugs or items that could be a tripping hazards
4. Your new knee should last 20 to 30 years (or more!)
How long does a knee replacement last? While there’s no one answer for every case, studies indicate that for 90 percent of knee replacements, the joint is still functioning well for 10 to 15 years after they’re implanted.
New knees don’t really have a “lifespan;” with proper care, many may last up to 40 years.
At the Bone and Joint Surgery Clinic, we are consistently on top of the latest medical developments and implement the most recent innovations into our practice. You can be assured that you’re receiving the latest state-of-the-art care.
5. Knee Replacement Recovery Time Varies from 3 to 6 months
We understand that while the surgery may be over, your journey is still unfolding. It can take up to three months before you’ll be able to return to your activities. In certain cases, it may be six months before your knee is strong and resilient enough to take on demanding sports. Strength improves for a year.
We’ll work with you throughout your knee replacement recovery to ensure you are progressing well.
What Not To Do After Knee Replacement
It’s also important to know what not to do after you’ve had knee replacement surgery. We’ll work with you to ensure you have all the details you need to aid you in your recovery. But for your recovery to successful, you should avoid the following things after a knee replacement:
Don’t do heavy weight training after knee replacement surgery
Any type of heavy lifting is going to place pressure on your knees, particularly if you’re doing squats. Your physical therapist will have some suggestions for some safer exercises you can do if you’re concerned about staying in shape.
Avoid high-impact sports when you’ve just had your knee replaced
Anything that puts additional pressure on your knee or joints can cause damage. Even worse, in sports such as basketball, football and soccer, there’s always a chance that you can fall or hit other players and cause damage to your new knee. Skateboarding and rollerblading are also not allowed after you’ve had knee replacement surgery.
Is a Knee Replacement the Right Choice for You? Contact Us to Find Out
Knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in the history of medicine. Each year, there are more than 700,000 Americans get a new lease on life through a knee replacement.
For nearly 50 years, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons in Raleigh have helped residents throughout the Triangle. We are one of the few independent, community-based orthopaedic practices in the area.
We consider it a privilege to be able to help our patients return to the activities they once enjoyed without pain.
Don’t let knee pain hold you back, contact us today.