5 Tips to Help Speed Your Recovery Following Knee Replacement Surgery

Your knees are arguably the hardest-working joints in your body, as they provide support, mobility, and range of motion, allowing you to easily navigate your life. So when wear-and-tear, arthritis, or injury compromise your knee, making it more of a liability than an asset, it’s likely time for knee replacement surgery. 

This surgery is so successful that more than 600,000 are performed each year in the United States, allowing millions of people to maintain happy and active lives. But the replacement is just the first step toward freedom — what you do following your surgery can make a big difference in how quickly you regain pain-free movement.

At University of Toledo Physicians, LLC, Dr. Nabil Ebraheim is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in a wide range of orthopedic services, including knee replacement surgery. Dr. Ebraheim and our team are invested in each of our patients, which is why we’ve pulled together these five tips to help speed your recovery after knee replacement surgery.

1. Get moving

It used to be that you were confined to bed rest after joint-replacement surgery, but surgeons have found that the quicker you regain your feet (literally), the faster your body’s valuable healing resources kick into high gear.

In most cases, we encourage you to give your new knee a trial run (actually, it’s more like a few steps or a short walk) within 24 hours after your knee replacement surgery. Of course, you will do this under our supervised care, but the sooner you begin moving your new knee, the better.

2. Take it easy

When we give you the greenlight to go home, you should plan on taking it easy. While we encourage prompt movement of your new joint, we caution you against pushing it too hard, too soon. When you get home, you’ll need to plan on taking it easy, which means no shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, or running up and down stairs.

In fact, you will likely be sent home with an assistive device, such as cane, and we encourage you to lean on it while your body heals.

3. Keep the swelling down

Any time your body undergoes an intervention like surgery, it usually responds by swelling. You can mitigate the swelling after your surgery by icing your knee for 20-30 minutes several times throughout the day. You can also take anti-inflammatory medications, which will help keep swelling at bay. By reducing any inflammation, you allow the healing resources in your body better access to the site, which will speed up your recovery.

4. Mind your wound

While Dr. Ebraheim uses the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques, including arthroscopy, whenever he can, he still needs to make a few small incisions around your knee. When you get home, be sure to keep these incisions clean and disinfected and change the dressing often. Rest assured, we provide you with full post-operative instructions when it comes to wound care. And by following these instructions to the letter, you can avoid recovery setbacks like an infection.

5. Follow your physical therapy

Our final tip is the most important one — once you’re back at home, be sure to attend all of your physical therapy appointments, which typically last 6-12 weeks after your surgery.

Not only will our physical therapists help you regain full function during your visits, they also provide you with at-home exercises. By diligently following these exercises and not breaking out on your own, you will strengthen your knee the correct way and regain full mobility more quickly.

If you have further questions about recovering from knee replacement surgery, please contact our office in Toledo, Ohio, at (419) 558-0568.

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