Knee replacement is a surgical procedure that decreases pain and improves the quality of life in many patients. It is generally reserved for patients who have tried all other treatments and are still left with significant pain during normal activities.
Patients who have occasional pain, are able to participate in athletic activities, or have not tried non-operative treatments are probably not ready for a knee replacement. The goal of knee replacement is to relieve pain, improve your quality of life, and maintain or improve knee function.
Total knee replacement, or arthroplasty, involves the replacement of damaged cartilage in the knees with metal or plastic implants. Surgeons have performed knee replacements for over many decades, often with excellent results, and there are now a variety of different types of knee replacements available.
Therapy following knee replacement
Your therapy will begin immediately following surgery, while you are still in the hospital. The focus at this point is on swelling management, moving the joint, ambulation and moving you toward independence in performing your activities of daily living.
After discharge from the hospital, you may receive rehabilitation in a sub-acute facility, in your home, or an outpatient clinic.
Ongoing emphasis on edema management helps improve knee motion and decrease pain. Strengthening of the leg muscles and a significant emphasis on knee range of motion are essential elements of post-op therapy. Progressing your gait from a walker to a cane occurs during this phase of rehab, as does focus on the independent performance of your daily activities.
Throughout the course of your therapy, we will also be assuring that the scar from your surgery remains mobile, not adhering to the tissue below. This will make the return to normal range of motion more likely and less painful.
Ultimately, you will progress to ambulating without an assistive device if possible.
Your therapist will work with you to design an exercise program that you can do on your own to maintain your range of motion and continue to improve your strength and balance.