One of the most frequently asked questions about knee replacement surgery is about the recovery duration. That’s probably because it’s natural to be concerned about your mobility after such extensive surgery.
When your knees fail due to wear and tear or injury, you realize how important these joints are to your mobility. Knee pain might prevent you from performing even the most basic of daily duties. Even though major knee replacement surgery usually relieves pain, you might be curious about how long it will take to resume your regular activities.
How far can you go on your new knees and what is the experience like having knee surgery at Louisville Hip and Knee Institute? You might be surprised by the answers we have.
What Is a Knee Replacement?
Total knee arthroplasty, another name for knee replacement surgery, is a procedure used to remove a worn-out or injured knee from the body and replace it with a new prosthetic knee joint. The primary motivation for surgery is to relieve the osteoarthritis pain that many people develop over time.
There are two types of knee replacements: partial, which repairs just one side of the knee joint, and total, which replaces both sides.
Every year, almost 600,000 Americans have knee replacement surgery. According to the research, 90% of patients who have one or both knees replaced report significantly less pain and suffering. Eighty-two percent of patients who have a knee replacement are still doing well twenty-five years after the surgery, and ninety percent of those individuals still have their prosthetic knee functioning well.
Why Would I Need a Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement surgery is typically recommended following the failure of non-invasive therapies to relieve knee discomfort. It might be time for a knee replacement if the knee joint is sufficiently worn out or injured, your mobility is reduced, and the pain persists even while you are at rest.
A few of the most frequent causes of knee replacement surgery are injuries to the knee and arthritis. Your physician might think about knee replacement if:
- Physical therapy and cortisone injections are no longer effective. Medication is no longer helpful.
- It’s so bad that you need to use a walker or cane to get around.
- The pain doesn’t go away while you sleep.
- Even simple daily actions like trying to get dressed hurt.
Knee replacement is usually recommended in patients 60–80 years of age. Traditional beliefs about the appropriate age for knee replacement are shifting. Every case is unique, and there is no ideal age for knee replacement.
What’s It Like to Recover from Knee Replacement Surgery?
The rehabilitation phase following knee surgery is as important as the operation itself. Following knee surgery, recovery takes several weeks. During this time, your knee progressively gets stronger and you can resume your regular activities. Your recuperation starts the day your surgery is over, and the next 12 weeks are necessary for regaining your mobility.
A typical healing period following knee replacement looks like this:
Day 1: After you’ve recovered from the anesthetic, your physical therapist will use an assist device to help you stand up and walk carefully.
Day 2: With the help of an aided gadget, you can go for short walks. During this session, you will practice bending your knee as much as possible.
Week 1: Although it may be uncomfortable due to the pain and swelling, you should be able to bend your knee 90 degrees. You’ll probably be able to change your own bandages and begin bathing, dressing, and using the restroom on your own, but you could still need assistance from a caretaker.
Weeks 2 – 3: Working with a physical therapist will begin for you. A daily work program will be created to maintain knee mobility. Most likely, a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine will be used to keep the joint moving slowly and prevent scar tissue and stiffness from building up. Your medical team will collaborate closely with you over this period to safely repair the joint.
Weekly 4–6: If you’ve followed your workout and rehabilitation plan, you ought to be starting to see noticeable changes by now. Your flexibility and strength ought to increase. There should also be significantly less edema, bruises, and irritation following the surgery. During these weeks, you can gradually begin to take longer walks without the assistance of your crutches, walkers, or assistive canes. If you have a desk job, you should also be able to resume working and driving. Prior to receiving a medical clearance, it may take up to three months if your employment involves lifting or standing for extended periods of time.
Weeks 7–11: Physical therapy will continue, with a variety of exercises designed to restore stability, strength, and function. Most likely, you’ll use a leg weight machine in addition to a stationary bike. In fact, you might even be cleared for more intense walking, cycling, and swimming. Weeks 12 and beyond: You will still be unable to participate in high-intensity workouts such as running, basketball, or aerobics. Many are able to pick up hobbies like golfing again. As the weeks pass, you will continue to improve, the discomfort will reduce, and you will be able to resume your normal life.
How Far Should I Walk After Knee Replacement Surgery?
The answer to this question is entirely up to you. Most patients are able to walk out of the surgical center with the assistance of a device such as crutches or a walker. It’s understandable that you want to get back on your feet as quickly as possible, but you must also be cautious not to overdo it. Overstretching yourself will cause more pain than is required.
Thankfully, your medical staff and physical therapist are available to assist you in choosing the best course of action. After the procedure, you should be able to walk without crutches for roughly ten minutes, three weeks at most. Your PT will encourage you to increase the amount of exercises you do. Typically, it takes a year or so for everything to settle, the knee to strengthen, and the ability to perform all daily activities to return.
Our mission at Louisville Hip & Knee Institute is to support your recovery. We provide our patients cutting-edge orthopedic care, including knee replacement surgery. You can get assistance for knee discomfort with a few clicks.