Orthopedic Rehabilitation Is an Important Part of Recovery from a Knee Replacement

Health & Medical Blog

When you have a knee replaced, you'll probably need to have some sort of orthopedic rehabilitation to ensure your knee heals properly and you gain normal function after the surgery. Your rehab will probably begin in the hospital and continue once you've been released, and you might need physical and occupational therapy. You might take the treatments as an outpatient, but you may also need a short stay in a skilled nursing facility if you're unable to return home right away once you're discharged from the hospital. Here are some goals of undergoing orthopedic rehabilitation.

Gain Full Range of Motion in Your Knee

You'll probably be taught stretching exercises that put your knee through the full range of its movement so the tissues around your knee stay loose as your knee heals. Moving your knee frequently prevents scar tissue from interfering with your healing. At first, the therapist may stretch and move your leg for you to make sure it is stretching as far as you can comfortably go. But you'll also learn the proper moves to do on your own at home. By working your knee, you prevent stiffness and promote flexibility so you can resume all of your normal activities after the surgery.

Stabilize Your Knee

The therapist may also work on exercises that stabilize your knee. This might include strengthening exercises for the muscles that support your knee, such as leg lifts, knee bends, ankle pumps, and walking. The intensity of the exercise is matched to your level of recovery, so you'll start out slowly and do specific exercises each day.

Walking is also stressed. Walking is important after any type of surgery to prevent health complications, and it's especially important after knee surgery because you'll need to learn to walk with the new joint. You'll gradually put more pressure on your knee as time goes on, and you may initially need to use crutches or a walker to aid your mobility and keep weight off of your knee.

Adapt Your Lifestyle

An occupational therapist may work with your physical therapist to get you ready to go back to work and resume your normal daily life. A knee replacement has a long recovery period, and you'll need to adapt your lifestyle to accommodate your limitations until you've completely healed. You may be taught strategies for getting out of bed and on and off the toilet. You might have to learn how to use adaptive equipment so you're safer at home as you go through your routine of bathing and getting dressed.

If you return to work before you've fully recovered, the therapist may offer suggestions on how to do your job in a way that doesn't interfere with healing. Also, if you have a stay in a rehab facility, the physical and occupational therapists assess your condition to make sure you're ready to return home, and they may oversee the installation of safety measures in your house so you can continue healing at home and stay safe.


9 April 2019

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