5 Tips to Speed Recovery From Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery restores pain-free mobility to many patients whose natural joints have deteriorated to a severe degree. The popularity of the procedure and its results are such that the number of knee replacements in the country has tripled in the past two decades.

Recovering from knee surgery contributes to the overall success of the procedure and following post-surgery home treatment instructions is the best way to ensure that you’re back to normal activities as soon as you can be. Once you have a green light from your Orthopaedic Podiatric & Spine Institute surgeon, follow all recovery guidelines, from incision care to physical therapy and exercises. Here’s a short guide with five key tips to help your recovery go well.

Mobilizing your new knee

You may be surprised during the hospital stay that follows your knee surgery how quickly your care team gets you on your feet. Before you’re released from hospital, you’ll need to pass certain points of progress. As well as healing of the incisions, you’ll be expected to:

Walking is essential to the success of your knee replacement. Pain-free walking is, after all, a common goal for performing the replacement, and the natural motion of walking helps your body heal from surgery, contributing to the prevention of blood clots. Excessive resting after surgery may lead to muscle atrophy that will hamper later physical therapy efforts.

Eating for healing

The foods you eat influence the overall health of your body and recovering from surgery is no different. Be sure to eat foods high in vitamin C, an important nutrient that promotes healing and recovery. Broccoli, citrus fruit, and strawberries are all good sources of this vitamin.

To support the production of white blood cells, which keep infection and inflammation under control, look to vitamin A, available in carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Overall, a diet rich with fresh wholesome fruits and vegetables combined with lean proteins will keep you nourished and on-track for swift recovery.

Water of Life

Warm water jump starts circulation, so as soon as you’re cleared to immerse your knee, add baths to your routine to stimulate blood flow around your new joint. Blood carries nutrients and other building blocks necessary to heal the tissue that was disturbed during surgery. Even applying a warm, moist compress while you watch television can help.

Particularly in the early stages after your procedure, periodic cold compresses help control inflammation. Swollen tissue is another healing job for your body, so reducing inflammation with ice packs for 15 minutes, several times a day, helps your healing systems focus on other jobs.

Hands-on therapy

Physical and massage therapists can definitely be part of your recovery team. Physiotherapy is a must for keeping recovery on track. Exercise with the oversight and assistance of a physical therapist can restore full range of motion, as well as developing support muscles for your new joint.

Once inflammation has subsided, light massage of the tissue around the knee can further encourage healing, develop strength in the surrounding muscles, and break up internal scar tissue that could otherwise limit motion and flexibility. You can massage yourself at home or enlist a massage therapist who specializes in joint recovery.

Don’t overdo it

No matter how eager you are to hit the golf course or tennis courts, rest is a critical phase of recovery, too. As the healing process proceeds even while you’re stretching and mobilizing your knee, your body needs downtime to focus on repair and build up resources. Use that time with warm and cold compresses to relax and recharge.

Sleep is another important recovery time. Protect your mattress time aggressively, since this is undisturbed time for body repairs, and it resets your mind for another day. No matter how welcome your knee replacement surgery may be, it’s still a stressful event, and adequate sleep is a great defense against the buildup of stress.

Patience is key for the recovery phase of a total knee replacement. Though some patients may reach full recovery in as little as four months, others could take a year. There’s no standard recovery time, so you should be prepared for healing to take longer than you might hope and be ready to enjoy the experience if recovery is faster than expected.

Either way, the team at Orthopaedic Podiatric & Spine Institute is your partner during your knee replacement recovery. Call or click to make an appointment anytime you need answers or advice.

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