The saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” couldn’t ring more true for when your knee wears out. You can no longer participate in the same activities, you become less mobile, you may have trouble sleeping, and the frustration can have a gloomy effect on your overall mental health.
So, if your knee is truly worn out, what is the golden ticket to getting your healthier lifestyle back? Knee replacement surgery! Over 90% of people who have gotten their knee replaced agree that it has considerably improved their overall quality of life.
Worried about surgery?
Any type of surgery can seem daunting and cause anxiety, but what is the alternative? Dealing with pain and not living your best life? Just envision yourself getting back to your normal activities that have been too painful and difficult since your knee started to wear out. Sounds like a dream, right?
What about recovery?
The good news is, on average, it will only take about 12 weeks to get to the point where you will be able to resume most regular activities. That said, you definitely want to be careful and check with your doctor and physiotherapist before starting any type of new physical activity. Please note that it may take 4 to 6 months or up to an entire year to fully recover and realize the total benefits of your knee replacement surgery.
The importance of staying active
Staying active is crucial to strengthen your knee and make it more likely to function for many years to come. Just like a natural knee, it will need exercise to function. Most doctors and physiotherapists will recommend 30 minutes of exercise two to three times a day during early recovery. You may be apprehensive about causing damage to your new knee joint in the early stages, but you can feel confident in knowing that knee replacements have made amazing strides in the last few decades.
How can physical therapy help me after knee replacement surgery?
Physio is a really important piece of the recovery process. Physiotherapists can help you with rehabilitation exercises to help you walk, climb stairs, and return to your other activities at a quicker pace.
You can literally start physio exercises within a day of your surgery to help restore your knee movement, strengthen your leg, as well as help you walk on your new knee.
Other low-impact activities that won’t create too much stress for your knee includes:
- Light dancing
- Cycling on a flat surface or with a stationary bike
- Light weights
- Gentle aerobics
Be sure to get input from your physio as to which exercises they would recommend for you personally.
And regardless of which activity you choose, always remember to stretch. Stretching will help you avoid stiffness, as well as improve the overall flexibility and health of your knee. Be sure to avoid twisting movements though – you’ll want to keep your knees aligned with your hips and ankles. It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight so that you don’t have extra pressure on your knees.
Most importantly, yes you may have a new knee, but know that doesn’t mean that you should rush into anything or over-exert yourself. This has the potential of putting you at risk for complications. Take things slow and gradually build your way up.
Want to get started on your post-surgery physio? Come see us at Dunbar Physio! The best time to start is pre-surgery when you can begin your physio “prehab” to speed up and maximize your recovery post-surgery.