If you have pain in your knee that limits your daily activities or inflammation that doesn’t get better with rest and medication, you might be considering knee replacement surgery. Having your damaged knee joint replaced with artificial parts may sound extreme or even scary, but knee replacement surgery is very common. More than 600,000 procedures are performed every year in the U.S., and 90 percent of people who have knee replacement surgery see a remarkable improvement in their pain and mobility.
While it’s important to choose an experienced and reputable surgeon for your knee replacement, the operation itself is only part of the equation. The success of your knee replacement surgery largely depends on how well you take care of yourself in the days, weeks, and months following the procedure.
At this point, you may be wondering what to expect immediately after your knee replacement and how long it will take before you can get back to your normal activities. While recovery is different for everyone, a stay at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility can expedite the healing process and ensure the best possible outcome.
Rehab after knee replacement surgery
Unlike many surgeries, which require plenty of rest and relaxation post-op, rehab after knee replacement surgery begins almost immediately. Most patients are instructed to stand and move around with the assistance of a walker just hours after surgery. The following day, you’ll likely receive a visit from a physiotherapist. He or she will teach you gentle exercises that will help you put weight on your knee and prevent scar tissue from impacting the flexibility of your new joint. Most patients stay in the hospital for three to five days after a knee replacement surgery before being transferred to a knee replacement rehabilitation center.
Knee replacement rehabilitation center
After knee replacement surgery, many patients are transferred to a knee replacement rehabilitation center for continued care. There, a team of doctors and therapists will develop an individualized treatment plan designed to shorten your recovery time and facilitate your return home. Typically, rehab after knee replacement surgery includes daily physical therapy sessions that include a combination of exercises and other treatment modalities designed to improve your range of motion, strength, and balance.
Your physical therapist will guide you through gentle exercises that will become more challenging as you progress. You may be asked to ride a stationary bike to improve the amount your knee bends and straightens. Quadricep squeezes, straight leg raises, ankle pumps, and supported knee bends will improve your range of motion and strengthen your leg muscles without putting stress on your knee joint.
Strength, balance, and gait training
Depending on your unique needs, your physical therapist may administer electrical stimulation treatments to improve the strength of your leg muscles and encourage quadricep contractions. You may also be guided through static balance training and dynamic balance training that includes bending to pick up objects off the floor, stepping over obstacles, and climbing stairs.
You will likely use a walker or cane when you begin rehab after knee replacement surgery. By the end of your inpatient treatment, you should be able to walk without an assistive device, safely get out of bed, use the bathroom, and walk up and down a flight of stairs. Most patients continue outpatient physical therapy once they get home to continue making progress.
Short and long-term recovery
Many patients find that they can resume normal activities three to six weeks after knee replacement surgery. But, recovery doesn’t stop there. By gradually increasing your physical activity, under the guidance of a doctor, you’ll start to feel better than you did before surgery. Most patients reach this stage between three and six months after knee replacement surgery.
Looking for a knee replacement rehabilitation center in San Diego? Call Bella Vista Health Center
When it comes to recovering from knee replacement surgery, everyone heals at a different pace. However, you can shorten your recovery time by enrolling in a rehabilitation program that is designed to address your specific needs. At Bella Vista Health Center, we understand the challenges of recovering from a major operation and make every effort to ensure your rehab after knee replacement surgery is comfortable and successful. Call us at (619) 399-7920 to learn more about our five star skilled nursing facility or to schedule a tour.