Even if you’ve been living with knee pain for years, a total knee replacement (TKR) surgery can be an overwhelming thought. “How long will recovery take?” and “will my insurance cover it?” to “will it work?” are common questions you may have also asked. While we can’t address all nuances of insurance coverage, we can discuss the recovery process—it’s what we do.
Rehabilitation Begins Immediately
With many soft tissue surgeries, doctors may ask that you stay immobilized or at least minimize movement for the affected region or muscle group, however with joint replacement surgery, doctors often recommend beginning physical therapy immediately. Of course, this will not include running a 5K or deep lunges or squats, but likely will include getting you up and out of bed, bending the joint, and possibly standing or walking on day 1. Of course, you’ll be aided by a trained physical therapist and using assistive devices.
Work Towards Independence
Expect your PT to get you out of bed and exercising at least once if not multiple times per day before you leave the hospital, and you’ll likely not be discharged to a rehabilitation center until you’re able to lower yourself onto a normal toilet. Your therapist will likely set you up with equipment to passively keep the joint in motion for periods of time, aiding in a faster recovery time. Your goals for discharge will likely include using the restroom and bathing independently, and a decreasing reliance upon assistive devices.
Keep The Momentum Going
Once you’re discharged from the hospital, there may be an urgency to return to your home with minimal follow-up on physical therapy. Resist that urge. The more frequent and intense therapy you engage early on, the faster you’ll recover. A simple way of looking at it is you’re working now to break habits of compensating for pain or deficiencies, so your body doesn’t have time to develop unhealthy muscle memory.
If you’re considering a full joint replacement and have questions about post-operative care and rehabilitation, please contact our facility and schedule a tour, meet the staff, and we will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you plan your rehabilitative care at our facility.