If you’ve made the important decision to move forward with knee replacement surgery, you’re probably wondering what you can expect afterward. To properly prepare yourself, you’ll want to have an in-depth discussion with your surgeon, who is your best source of information. Every patient is different, and your surgeon can provide advice that is specifically tailored to your unique situation.
You might expect your life after knee replacement surgery to be very similar to the way it was before—minus the knee pain, of course. While your expectation is reasonable and for the most part correct, keep in mind that it will take some time for you to return to your everyday activities, and it will be best for you to do so gradually. To help you get there as soon as possible, your surgeon will encourage you to become an active participant in your rehabilitation.
Preparation is key to a successful knee replacement. What you do—or don’t do—next will play a critical role in the outcome of your procedure. With that in mind, your surgeon will work with you to develop a comprehensive plan designed to help you:
- Minimize your hospital stay
- Regain your knee strength and range of motion
- Resume your daily activities
- Avoid surgical complications
Also, if you are aerobically fit and perform knee-strengthening exercises before your knee replacement surgery, you may recover faster.
Your surgeon or physical therapist will prescribe exercises that you can perform to promote your recovery from knee replacement surgery. For instance, you may be encouraged to ride a stationary bicycle, which can help you maintain your muscle tone and keep your knee flexible. Additionally, walking is an excellent form of low-impact exercise, and you can generally walk as much as you like during your recovery. Just keep in mind that you should view walking as a supplement to—and not a substitute for—your prescribed exercise plan.
As soon as your surgeon gives you the go-ahead, you will be able to safely resume many of the sports and other activities you enjoyed before your knee replacement. In general, low-impact fitness activities such as cycling, swimming, and golfing will be preferable over high-impact alternatives. For example, running, basketball, and racquetball should be avoided.
If you have questions about knee replacement surgery or its alternatives, you are welcome to reach out to Peter D. Vizzi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic knee surgeon who practices in Lafayette, LA. Contact Dr. Vizzi’s office today to request an appointment.