In this article, our physiotherapist Joe answers your questions and helps manage your expectations following Partial or Total Knee Replacement Surgery.
What is a Knee Replacement?
A knee replacement is an operation to replace all (total joint replacement) or part (partial joint replacement) of your knee joint.
Most commonly the knee requires replacement because it does not move well and or it has become painful to get about, usually as a result of arthritis or trauma.
What can be expected from your new knee?
The replacement is designed to relieve pain, restore movement and in many cases allow you to return to activities that were previously difficult to complete, enhancing quality of life.
What should I expect after my operation?
During your hospital stay a physiotherapist will see you to commence your post-operative recovery. This will include teaching you how to walk with crutches, climb up and down stairs and complete exercises to improve knee movement and muscle strength.
The length of hospital stay will be different for each person. Once the Consultant surgeon and Therapy Team are happy you are safe to return home, you will be discharged.
On average this is usually within 3-5 days of your operation.
Common patient concerns
Your GP practice will look after your wound once you are discharged. They can advise on wound dressing and if required, remove clips or sutures approximately 10 days to 2 weeks following your operation.
Pain and Swelling
- Pain Medication: Some people feel more pain following surgery than others. Whilst you are in hospital you will be prescribed pain easing medication. Pain can slow down the recovery process so it is important to take these as prescribed. If your pain levels are of concern when you return home contact your GP to discuss.
- Ice: should be applied to the operated knee for 20 minutes 3-5 times per day with at least an hour gap between applications. Elevating the limb is also helpful and your physiotherapist will advise you about this.
- Be sure to inform your physiotherapist if you have any circulatory or sensory problems.
- Exercises: graduated exercises are essential for promoting movement and strength in the new joint and will assist in reducing pain and swelling.
You will most likely be walking with 2 elbow crutches when you leave hospital. Use the crutches at all times until advised otherwise by your physiotherapist. Gradually increase your walking distance indoors initially. Outdoor walking should be trialled as soon as you are confident to do so. Gradually increase the time you spend on your feet daily.
Driving/Return to Work
Your Consultant and Physiotherapist will advise you on returning to these activities. It may also be necessary to have clearance from your insurance company before returning to driving.
Contact you Consultant or GP if you develop any of the following:
- Fever or high temperature
- Persistent pain
- Calf pain
- Swelling, oozing or redness around the wound area.
Should I continue Physiotherapy when back at home?
Once you are home it is highly recommended that you continue your post-operative recovery with further physiotherapy sessions. The aim of further physiotherapy is to:
- Restore knee movement.
- Restore muscle strength around the knee.
- Allow you to walk feely without a walking aid.
- Work on building the required physical capabilities to return to previous sporting activities.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at the clinic on 020 8332 1132 if you have any further questions. We are always happy to provide individual advice on the phone.
If you are struggling to re-integrate back into your home environment following joint replacement surgery we offer a home visit service. Please enquire on the above number.