Andrew O’Donnell, PT, DPT, OCS
Clinic Manager – Ballwin, MO
So your physician has recommended a knee replacement, what next? As physical and occupational therapists, we are uniquely positioned to answer questions that have direct impact on our patient’s functional mobility and thus independence. Questions we hear frequently include: What should I expect after surgery? How long will my recovery be? Will it be painful? How much help will I need at home? Am I going to make a full recovery?
One of the more daunting (but very common) surgical procedures is the total knee arthroplasty, or in layman’s terms, the knee replacement. Briefly, this procedure requires the surgeon making an incision to access the knee, removing the ends of the tibia and femur, and implanting a new joint surface.
So, what can be done to make the recovery process easier? Ask your physician to send you to physical therapy BEFORE you have surgery. Strengthening your legs and improving your range of motion enhances your ability to walk, perform stairs, and rise from a low seat. All of these tasks are critical to independence and will be of utmost importance to you after surgery. If you build strength prior, your rehabilitation time following will be shortened and made easier. Other benefits include learning about the rehabilitation process to alleviate fears and developing rapport with a physical therapist.
There is great variability in recovery time as each surgery and every patient is completely unique. Thus, providing timeframes as to when the patient may do certain tasks is futile. What can be promised, however, is that at ApexNetwork Physical Therapy will guide you through the rehabilitation process as smoothly as possible. You can anticipate making gains in swelling control, range of motion, strength, balance, gait pattern, and confidence in your mobility on a daily basis.
If you have questions, a therapist at an ApexNetwork Physical Therapy location near you will be happy to assist! It is our sincerest hope that you do not need to see us, but are proud to be entrusted with your care when you do.