Top 5 Exercises Straight After a Knee Replacement
Knee replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure used to treat severe knee degenerative changes caused by arthritis, injury, or another condition. The surgery involves replacing the degenerative knee joint with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. These days knee replacements can be partial or full as we know that sometimes one side of the joint wears more than the other side.
Knee replacement surgery is typically recommended for people who have severe pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility due to advanced arthritis or injury. The procedure is also sometimes used to treat a deformity in the knee joint. We don’t take this procedure lightly, we try a number of sessions of physiotherapy, osteopathy and acupuncture first because it’s common that knee pain can be managed for months or years. We usually recommend knee replacements when functional or day-to-day life is affected, like walking to the shops, walking up and down stairs or other activities of daily living.
Injections for Knee Pain
Steroid injections can help reduce knee pain caused by inflammation. However, the effectiveness of these injections may vary depending on the underlying cause of the pain. Additionally, it is important to note that this type of treatment should only be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes physical therapy, weight loss, and other lifestyle changes. We don’t use injections until at least three months after a knee replacement due to the risk of infection.
Ostenil Plus is a lubrication gel that can also be injected into the knee, and can be used prior to a knee replacement to help “buy time”. We perform both Ostenil Plus injections and steroid injections for the knee just call us on 0208 685 6930.
What happens during the surgery?
During the surgery, the damaged knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. The artificial joint is made of metal, plastic, or ceramic, and is designed to move in the same way as a natural knee joint.
The surgery usually takes between two and four hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the procedure. You will need to stay in the hospital for several days while recovering from the surgery. During this time, you will be given pain medication to help manage any discomfort.
Of course, there are risks and these include infection, blood clots, and joint instability. In some cases, the artificial knee joint may need to be replaced after around 10-15 years.
Recovery following total knee replacement surgery:
Recovery from knee replacement surgery typically takes several months, although you should be able to return to some activities soon after the surgery. Your doctor will give you specific instructions for how to care for your new knee and when you should be able to return to work and other activities.
There are a number of things you should do straight after your knee replacement:
1. Heel Slides: Slide your heel towards your bottom. Go as far as feels comfortable, and then return to the start position (with the leg straight). This is a good way to improve mobility to a stiff knee joint. Repeat 20 times.
2. Heel Lifts: While sitting, lift both heels off the ground, keeping your toes on the ground. This helps to “pump the calf” which can help improve circulation to your feet and lower legs. Repeat 20 to 50 times.
3. Ice: One of the best things you can do is to ice the knee. This helps reduce the excessive swelling from the surgery and helps reduce pain. We find that our patients that regularly use ice significantly improve from surgery quicker and better. We hire out Game Ready to our patients as well; this allows them to use compression and ice at the same time and is easily the most effective way we have seen to reduce inflammation post-total knee replacement. Hold for 10 minutes five times per day.
4. Knee Swings: sit on a high chair and swing your knee gently to mobilise your knee and help reduce swelling. Go gently and keep within your comfort zone. Repeat 20 to 50 times.
5. VMO activation: VMO: Inner Range Quadriceps Lying - Lie flat on your back, and place a rolled up towel under your knee. Tighten your thigh (quadriceps) muscle and lift your heel. You should be pressing your knee against the towel. As your leg straightens, it does not fully lift off the floor (only your foot lifts off the floor). Slowly return to the start position. Repeat 20 times.
Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure, but it can have major benefits for those who suffer from severe knee pain and decreased mobility. If you think you may be a candidate for knee replacement surgery, talk to us at Surrey Physio about the risks, benefits, and recovery options. We’ll guide you through your whole rehabilitation journey following knee replacement.
(These videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com. If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).