Here at Physio Performance Drogheda, a Total Knee Replacement is one of the main surgeries we deal with on a weekly basis.
A lot of the time we are actually involved in the process before the actual surgery.
Let us talk you through how physio can help you make a full recovery from your knee surgery.
A total or partial knee replacement can be a tough journey for anyone, but physiotherapy can be a massive help when it comes down to your preparation, and your recovery!
Good preparation for surgery can be a major benefit to anyone who is due to undergo a knee replacement. It is key when undertaking the decision to undergo surgery, that you are fully educated on what exactly is involved in the surgery and especially the duration of the recovery period and the level of commitment involved in the rehabilitation period post surgery.
Once the decision has been made to undergo the knee replacement, building strength in the affected leg is a key priority before the surgery. The greater the level of strength in the affected leg pre-surgery, the less muscle mass/strength lost while immobilized post-surgery.
In the early stages post-surgery, the focus of rehabilitation will be to help you reduce the symptoms of the surgery, managing pain and swelling as much as possible through gentle range of motion exercises and manual therapy techniques.
EXTENSION IS KEY
With regard to training range of motion, full extension (straightening the knee) is absolutely vital and has a massive effect on how we walk and perform simple daily activities. Studies have shown that after a total knee replacement, the majority of improvements in range of motion occur in the first few weeks, and these early improvements reflect how functional the knee becomes in the long term (>1 year). Therefore, a focus on knee extension and range of motion training in general is absolutely vital to a positive outcome after total knee replacement.
RETURN TO WALKING
A reintroduction to weight bearing activities such as walking and building strength, going from sit-to-stand will also be seen in the early stages post surgery. While walking/movement may still be aided by a crutch/cane, in this phase we are beginning to build the capacity in our knee/hip to be able to move confidently and independently of any aids.
Once we have become independent of walking aids and daily activities/tasks begin to become easier, we can begin to become more aggressive in our strengthening program. While this can be a difficult task, strengthening exercises are a long term process and consistency is key to achieving a successful outcome.
LONG TERM RECOVERY
While the early stages focus on range of motion and basic strength, in this stage the strength will be more focused on stability and function of the musculature around the hip and knee, and can include external resistance such as kettlebells and dumbbells.
While strength is a priority, recovery and rest are also important aspects in this stage. While we need to work and stress the muscle in order to see increases in strength and endurance, it is key to manage the strength training workload in order to allow time for muscle fatigue to dissipate. Without recovery days/sessions, we also remove the ability of the muscle to adapt and allow strength increases in the desired areas.
The usual recovery times for a total knee replacement can range anywhere from 6-12 months, and this is highly dependent on the consistency of the patient during the rehabilitation process. Other activities such as exercise walks/hiking, when tolerable, can be extremely advantageous to recovery times and allow full functionality in the knee in a shorter time span.
The Physio Performance Way:
We are the specialists here in the Drogheda area dealing with Total Knee Replacements.
We can guide you right through the whole journey: From Pre-Op to Post-Op to a Full recovery.
A rehabilitation program will be customised for you to help you regain the motion in your knee and help you build a more confident and stronger knee.
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Looking for some advice?
We’d Love to Help!!
You can contact us on 041-9877059 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book an appointment online with us HERE.