Knee Replacement Recovery Time
A total knee replacement is a major surgery that requires a great deal of preparation and has a relatively long recovery time. Knee replacement recovery time also must factor in other considerations, such as physical therapy, the management of chronic knee conditions, and avoiding risky activities that could prolong recovery time, among other things. This post will cover everything you need to know about knee replacement recovery time and will also explain how OPA Ortho can help you with your knee replacement.
Total Knee Replacement Recovery Time
The recovery time for a partial knee replacement versus a total knee replacement differs, with the former taking a little less time and rehabilitation.
After undergoing the surgery you can expect to stay in the hospital for anywhere between 1 – 4 days, depending on your pain management. How well you have responded to the surgery will also affect the recovery time. You are also kept in the hospital for this period of time so that you can be observed for any potential surgery complications, such as blood clots. Medical personnel will also assist you with standing within the first few days after surgery.
Generally, as long as all rehabilitative practices are followed, people can resume their regular activities 4 – 6 weeks after a total knee replacement surgery.
What Are Factors That Can Slow Knee Replacement Recovery?
Recovering from a knee replacement can be a relatively straightforward and easy process, provided that all directions from your doctor and physical therapist are adhered to.
There are several factors that can slow down your recovery from a knee replacement.
Not participating in physical therapy
Physical therapy is an important step of recovery with any orthopedic surgery, but especially in the case of joint replacements. The primary function of physical therapy is to reduce scar tissue. Physical therapy has a slew of benefits, ranging from pain relief, reducing swelling, blood circulation improvement, improving stability, and strengthening the muscles around the joint. All the benefits of physical therapy help the patient reach the end goal: to get back to normal activities as soon as possible.
Skimping out on physical therapy can result in a number of unpleasant effects, including injury to your newly replaced joint, an increase in the chance of needing a revision surgery, and injury to the supporting muscles around the new joint. All these effects result in a longer healing period and will delay your recovery by a significant amount of time.
Smoking or Using other Nicotine Products
Smoking and using nicotine products primarily delay the wound healing process, because the harmful chemicals in tobacco products reduce adequate blood flow and circulation, which is essential to adequate healing.
Smoking and the use of nicotine also raises significant complications and risks that can arise after surgery. The risk of blood clots is higher, and the risk of infection goes up. This can result in further surgery being required over and above the initial joint replacement, which can delay healing significantly.
Not only can diabetes cause complications with a knee replacement, it can be the primary conduit for needing a knee replacement in the first place, as many individuals with diabetes also live with arthritis.
Diabetes can raise the risk of wound infection, can loosen the joint, and can cause fractures around the new implant. Diabetes that is not adequately managed has the potential to cause post-surgical complications in knee replacement patients, such as an elevated risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), as well as a higher risk of stroke.
Participating in Risky Activities
Risky activities can prolong the recovery of your knee replacement or cause further damage and injury.
It is important to avoid activities that carry a high risk of falling and taking steps to remain cognizant of your balance during your recovery. Things such as ensuring you hold a banister when using the stairs, using rubber mats in the shower, and avoiding tripping hazards are some steps that you can take.
It is also advised to avoid prolonged periods of sitting, which can increase the risk of developing a blood clot and can cause fluid to build up. It is also important to not bear too much weight on your new joint too soon, and to make proper use of assistive devices such as walkers, crutches, and other devices that can help distribute your weight.
Exercises such as running, jumping, and those that are high-impact and involve a quick change in direction should be avoided, even once you have fully recovered from your knee replacement, as these types of exercises can still place strain on your prosthesis.
Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement Surgery
Physical therapy is an important step in the healing and rehabilitative process and ensures that your knee replacement heals properly and allows you the best range of motion for the future.
Knee Strengthening Exercises
Exercises such as straightening your knee gradually and holding the position for several seconds are a good ways to slowly and safely strengthen your knee after a knee replacement. A physical therapist can be extremely helpful in providing you not only with exercises that strengthen and rehabilitate your knee but also allow you to do so safely without encumbering your healing.
Exercises That Encourage Range of Motion
Low-intensity exercises such as swimming, golfing, and low-impact dancing can be performed after 3 months of recovery, provided that this is cleared by your doctor. These types of exercises encourage a wider range of motion for the knee joint and can help in recovery from your knee replacement, as long as they are performed at the right time and not too early in the healing process.
Contact OPA Ortho Today
If you require resources on knee replacement surgery, advice on whether a knee replacement is right for you, or any other orthopedic queries, then OPA Ortho can help. We are committed to providing the best patient resources, and providing the means to connect patients with orthopedic professionals so that you can get the assistance you need, all in the name of returning to your normal activities and living your best life. For appointments, or for any queries you may have, do not hesitate to request an appointment today or call us.