Recovering from any surgery can be difficult and painful, to say the least; but what if there were things you could do before and after a knee replacement surgery to minimize pain and ensure a speedy recovery?
Prehab exercises help reduce pain and improve recovery time. After surgery, continue doing therapy exercises as recommended by your surgeon and physical therapist. Stay properly hydrated, eat the right foods, and get plenty of sleep.
If you are looking for ways to combat the post-op pain and speed up recovery then you have come to the right place. Continue reading for more detailed tips that are sure to help you through this stressful time.
Exercises for Pre- and Post-Surgery
Prehab Ramps-Up Results of Rehab
How do you stay in shape before you’re about to have a total knee replacement? You might be thinking, “I’m already in pain. How the heck am I going to do prehab exercises?”
Recovering after a total knee replacement can be tough. It can take a good 3-6 months to get back to normal activity. Rehab can take even longer if you work in a labor-intensive industry or participate in extreme sports.
Prehab therapy exercises can help keep your extension and range of motion from dwindling.
The main focus of prehab is retaining your muscle strength and preserving your knee extension and range of motion. Prehab also focuses on strengthening your core so you can support yourself without injuring other parts of your body post-surgery.
When you’re anxious about a major medical procedure, it’s easy to overlook that post-surgery you’re weak and required to use more of your upper body at times. This is why it’s important to have a strong core to support your weight during recovery and beyond.
Focus on Knee Mobility Early and Often
Don’t be like the tin man. Keep those joints moving even if it hurts. It will be painful to move and do the recommended exercises, but the alternative is far worse. Being sedentary causes your joints and muscles to stiffen up, leading to loss of knee extension and range of motion.
Moving often promotes good blood flow, circulation, and reduces swelling. It also helps reduce the amount of scar tissue that forms, while keeping your muscles loose and nerves happy.
Getting your knee to bend as far as it can with help decrease pain getting in and out of a car, getting up from a chair, and it pushing swelling around.
Even more important is knee extension or getting your knee all the way straight. This help you walk normal, allows for the quadriceps muscle to start working, and prevents serious amounts of scar tissue build up.
Do your Exercises Multiple Times a day
Get yourself on a routine as quickly as possible. Set timers and specific blocks during the day to do your exercises. The quicker you get in the habit, the faster you’ll recover.
Keep a notepad in your exercise area to record your daily range of motion measurements. Tracking these will make it easy to see if you’re heading in the right direction. Write which exercises you do, how often, and how many repetitions you complete.
It’s important to get your knee straight and quads working as early as possible. The following item will help you keep track of your progress:
Rushing Recovery Can Have Adverse Effects
Look, I get it. Relying on crutches or a walker can be a huge pain; literally.
- Prolonged use can lead to calluses under your arms.
- You can’t carry anything unless it’s in a backpack
- Wet floors and other obstacles pose a risk of re-injury
- Walkers are a bit awkward to get around with and bulky to store
However annoying and restrictive these contraptions may be; don’t chuck them out the back door yet. Walking without aid too soon has a high risk of reinjury. Save yourself the pain of a failed surgery. Keep using your walking aids until you get the all-clear from your doctor.
Don’t rush your body’s natural healing process by over-doing it.
These tips are intended to help speed up your recovery. Everyone heals and responds to pain differently. A little pain is normal while recovering and exercising. If you are in constant pain or if exercising increases your pain, discontinue doing what hurts and speak with your doctor and physical therapist. You may have something else going on or might be trying to do too much too soon.
Proper Nutrition and Rest Required
Proper hydration and nutrition are essential to the healing process. Just as your vehicle needs gas and oil to run properly, your body needs the proper nutrients to ‘fuel’ itself during this time of recovery.
Eating foods high in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins will give your recovering body the boost it needs. Your system has been put under a lot of stress and needs time to recoup and fight infection. If it is not properly fueled it will not heal properly.
Get those Z’s in. Another key part of the healing process is getting plenty of sleep. Do whatever it takes to create a comfortable and peaceful place to get some rest. Your body does the best healing while you are asleep.
A Routine and Hard Work - Worth the Effort
The speed of your recovery depends greatly upon you; the patient. A surgeon and a physical therapist can only do so much. If you want a speedy recovery with limited hiccups along the way it’s up to you to follow the tips in this article. Get your routine established and track your progress; you will see how far you have come and be thrilled with the results of your hard work.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.