Featured Image Caption: Tips for Knee Replacement Surgery
Are you scheduled for surgery to replace your knee joint? With approximately 750,000 knee replacements performed in the United States each year, you’re in good company. Although this procedure is common, recovery can still be tough because the knee is the largest joint in the human body and supports a lot of your weight. Consider these four tips to help you prepare for and recover from your knee surgery.
Ask Questions and Take Notes
You will have a pre-surgery appointment with your doctor, so remember to come prepared with any questions you have. Take a notebook or tablet and write down all the important details. If you bring a friend or family member, ask them to take care of recording your doctor’s instructions so you can focus on your appointment. Briefing for any surgery can often be overwhelming when you’re the one who needs it, so it’s important to come prepared knowing your questions in advance as you may not be able to think of them on the spot. Important questions to ask include what your expected recovery time should be, what activities should you avoid before and after surgery, what you can do to prepare for the surgery, and any potential complications to be aware of.
Improve Physical Fitness
Recovery from surgery will be faster and easier if you’re in good physical shape. Tobacco users should try to cut back or quit. If you’re overweight, losing a few pounds can significantly reduce the stress on your knee. Before surgery is also a great time to start learning the physical therapy exercises you will need to recover from a knee replacement. Practicing beforehand strengthens your muscles and makes it easier to do the exercises after surgery. During recovery, you’ll be required to rest a great deal and then get active again, so you want to start from a place of good health ahead of time to avoid declining into extremely poor health before you have to begin physical therapy.
Modify Your Living Space
You will probably need to use crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair while your knee heals, so take advantage of the time before your surgery to modify your home. Make sure that everything you need, including your bed, is on the first floor, and remove any clutter that could make it difficult to get around your home. Get a shower chair, and consider installing grab bars near the toilet and bathtub. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your options before the surgery. While some may do best with crutches due to a highly mobile lifestyle, others may find a wheelchair to be better suited to their recovery needs. Make sure you know what your insurance will cover, where you can get these items discounted, and what you can feasibly afford.
Get a Helper
Even with the best accessibility modifications, having someone to help out after your surgery is invaluable. Ask a friend or family member to help, or hire a home health nurse to check in on your recovery and take care of household tasks like cooking and cleaning. If you have a spouse, children, or parents living with you, consider asking them to pitch in a little more until you’re fully recovered. Even if it’s only for the first week or two, you will want someone on hand to help while you overcome the more painful part of recovery and get used to your new care regimen.
Although recovery may be long and difficult, you will be thankful that you opted for knee replacement once you are fully healed. Most patients who have this surgery are dealing with severe pain, and replacing the knee eliminates this pain and restores mobility. Your new knee will make daily tasks and exercising much easier.
By Meghan Belnap
who is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family and residing in Oklahoma.