More than 4.5 million Americans are living with at least one knee replacement. While there’s numerous reasons you may need a knee replacement, arthritis – the degenerative wear and tear on the joint over time – is the most common. Whether you’ve recently had a knee replacement or your doctor just mentioned it as a possibility, looking at what you can expect after the surgery is a great way to decide if and when it’s best for you.
For most people considering a knee replacement, significant knee pain has been a constant issue for quite some time, and you may have tried numerous forms of non-invasive or less-invasive measures of dealing with it; braces, physical therapy, steroid shots, etc. But there comes a point where surgery really is necessary to improve your quality of life, because the degeneration of the joint is only going to get worse. The good news…the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that 90% of people who have a knee replacement experience considerably less pain. But it’s not like you’ll just wake up from surgery and suddenly your knee is like it was when you were 20. Sorry! There’s a lot of work that’ll go into recovery, but it WILL be worth it. So, let’s break this down for you.
Immediately after you wake up from surgery, there will probably be a physical therapist there who’s going to want to get your knee moving right then. They may take you through some passive range of motion, meaning they’re moving the leg and knee for you, but they’ll also want you to try walking on it pretty soon after surgery too. Weight bearing is important to aid in the healing process of the joint. You may think that’s soon, but it’s absolutely necessary. Statistically speaking, those who put weight on the knee soon after surgery recover quicker than those who don’t. The last thing you want is scar tissue to set into a joint; that means limited range of motion. Not exactly an ideal situation.
Before release, most hospitals require you to be able to get in and