For patients suffering from chronic knee pain and a debilitating lifestyle, total knee replacement surgery is a viable option to go back to pain-free daily lives. It is however important to understand the procedure and the subsequent recovery period after the surgery. Patients are typically sent home post surgery within three days, unless they are required to stay longer.
Patients then go through physiotherapy to strengthen operated knees and increase range of motion. Patients are encouraged to start walking with the help of a cane or walker. A certain amount of swelling is to be expected post surgery for a couple of weeks, and patients are advised to apply ice packs in the area regularly.
Most patients can get back to their daily routines within four to six weeks after being cleared by their doctors. Daily activities such as walking, bathing and standing may not require assistance post this time.
Activities such as kneeling down should be attempted only after a couple of months in consultation with the doctor. Similarly driving a car or riding a bike should not be attempted till the patient is completely off pain medications and have been cleared by their doctors.
Going back to work, and even resuming an active lifestyle including walking, swimming and cycling is possible after a total knee replacement surgery.
Dr. Ramesh Ranka, Head of Orthopedics department as well as one of the best knee replacement surgeon in Pune, however recommend that patients avoid high-stress activities such as running, jogging, skiing, tennis and other sports that involve jumping to avoid wearing out the artificial knee too quickly. With good care, the replaced knee should last you a good 15 to 20 years.
Knee care post surgery:
- Use a walker or cane for assistance while walking in initial weeks
- Elevate the knee, and apply ice to reduce swelling on the knee joints
- Keep moving to increase motion in legs, but with adequate rest in intervals
- Be regular with physical therapy exercises to speed recovery
- Alert doctor on any infections arising in any other part of body (infected tooth for instance), which can reach the operated knee.