Common reasons why we may need a knee replacement
Having a knee replacement after an injury or long term condition is more common in the UK than you may initially realise. NRAS reports that over 100,000 knee replacements are carried out annually in the UK, and as our population age increases, this number is likely to increase. The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is as a result of osteoarthritis, a condition causing joints to become incredibly painful and stiff. This is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, and approximately 8.5 million people have been diagnosed with it. Another common reason for a full or partial knee replacement is through a knee injury caused by trauma or sports.
There are two types of knee replacements currently offered in the UK. A total knee replacement, where both sides of the knee joint are replaced, or a partial knee replacement where only one side of the joint is replaced. As you can imagine, this type of operation is major, and other avenues are often explored before a knee replacement is scheduled. There are risks involved with having knee surgery, including infection, pain or bleeding. However, these complications are often easily treated, and most people do not have any issues after surgery at all.
Expected recovery times for a complete knee replacement
Before going in for your operation, you will be given as much information as possible about what to expect to prepare for your time in hospital and your recovery time. You will need to stay as active as you can before your op, strengthening the muscles around your knee to aid recovery. Often, engaging with a physiotherapist before your knee replacement is a good way of keeping active and following a gentle exercise routine with the support of a qualified professional. Your chosen physio will also be able to support you after your operation and will already be aware of your situation and what you are capable of doing.
After being in the hospital for 3-5 days, you’ll usually spend 1-2 weeks recovering at home. At discharge, your doctor will give you instructions about how to care for your knee at home. Your physiotherapist will work with you to show you home exercises you can do to strengthen your knee.
You should be able to walk without a frame or crutches within six weeks after surgery; however, this will depend on your level of physiotherapy intervention and not trying to overexert yourself too early. Doing this could cause complications during your recovery leading to extended recovery times. Most people who have had knee replacements are able to drive after 6-8 weeks, but full recovery can take up to two years, with a small number of people experiencing pain over two years later.
Physiotherapy after knee replacement surgery
Physiotherapy is an essential part of recovery from surgery. Having a physiotherapist who can understand your situation and support you through your recovery time can not only make you recover quicker, but it will also be very beneficial for your mental health during your time at home.
Your physio will guide you through exercises and may suggest other activities you could do to improve your muscle and strength. At Advantage Physiotherapy, our qualified physios will tailor make your treatment plan depending on your individual circumstances. These activities and exercises may include:
- Leg raises
- Ankle pumps
- Knee bends in different positions
- Working with resistance bands
- Quad exercises
During your recovery period, it is vital that you aim to exercise little and often with a good balance of rest and recuperation in between. Your joints and muscles need to be moving from early on to avoid stiffness and pain, and this will also help to maintain a good level of movement. Sleep, good body support and a healthy diet are also incredibly important whilst you are recovering from your operation.
Your physio will also help you understand how to avoid re-injuring yourself. Low impact activities are recommended for the first few weeks after surgery, whereas high impact sports should be avoided until six months after surgery. If you experience any sharp pains during the exercise, you should stop immediately. If symptoms persist after stopping, consult your doctor or physiotherapist for advice about further treatment.
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Advantage Physiotherapy can support you post-surgery
At Advantage Physiotherapy, our aim is to support you in living to your full potential, whether you are dealing with a daily condition or recovering from injuries or an operation. Our team of fully qualified physiotherapists have an incredible level of knowledge and experience from various healthcare and physio positions, so they know what level of support you will need whilst you are in recovery.
Whether you are booked in for a knee replacement and need some pre and post physio support, or you are living with a debilitating condition that you would like some assistance with, Advantage Physiotherapy are here to support you. Give us a call today and book an appointment that is convenient for you so we can get you on the road to recovery as soon as possible.