Top 5 Mistakes After Knee Replacement

Thu, May 18, 2023

Top 5 Mistakes After Knee Replacement

Knee replacement is one of the most common surgeries in the U.S. According to estimates, there will be nearly 3.5 million knee replacement surgeries performed every year by 2030. The surgery has evolved over the years, and success rates have improved significantly.

Although this is a common and often successful procedure, knee replacement recovery should not be taken lightly. Recovery is as much about doing the right things as avoiding the wrong things. These are some of the most common mistakes to avoid during recovery from knee replacement.

What Not to Do After Knee Replacement

Your surgeon will provide you with guidelines for recovery. It’s important to follow the suggested steps and timeline. Additionally, try not to do these things that could hinder your recovery:

1. Skip Post-Surgery Planning

Recovery from surgery truly begins before the procedure. Although it has become much more routine than in the past, joint replacement is still major surgery. It requires diligent preparation by both the surgeon and the patient.

As a patient, take this part of the process seriously. Be ready for limited mobility, and make sure you understand your recovery steps. Some important factors to consider include:

 A staff member in scrubs and a mask washes their hands.

  • Acquiring a ride home after surgery
  • Having someone available to help you if you live alone
  • Arranging your home to make it more accessible
  • Stocking the home with what you need, including food and medications

Some people are ill-prepared for the inevitable limitations immediately following surgery that get in the way of recovery. Accept and prepare for these limitations for the best outcome.

2. Try To Do Too Much Too Soon

It’s hard to take it easy if you are typically an active individual. Rest and activity limitations are essential for recovery. For most people, it takes three to six weeks to be able to engage in normal daily activities again.

One of the typical consequences of overdoing it is swelling in the joint. If your knee swells up because you did too much, you might have to take some time off from prescribed physical therapy. This only delays your overall recovery time.

3. Do Too Little

Another common mistake is being too sedentary. There is a fine line between overdoing it and not doing the work necessary to recover. In fact, sitting too much is a no-no that can lead to a dangerous blood clot and promote swelling. Regular movement helps stretch and settle the joint and prevent stiffness.

Rest is necessary, but avoiding the hard work of recovery is a problem. The right amount of movement and specific exercises guided by the surgeon and a physical therapist improve outcomes and speed recovery.

4. Ignore Pain

Pain is an inevitable part of recovery from any surgery, but it should be manageable. Follow your surgeon’s or PT’s recommendations for pain relief, which might include medications, icing, elevation, and alternative therapies.

Don’t ignore excessive pain or pain that gets worse. These can be signs of a complication that requires additional treatment.

5. Ignore the Surgeon’s Instructions

Your orthopedic surgeon knows best and will provide you with guidelines, medications, exercises, and a physical therapist to help you recover as effectively and efficiently as possible. You might be tempted to skip some of the steps, avoid physical therapy, or deviate from the schedule. This is a mistake. If you have concerns about the instructions, talk to your surgeon.

Are There Any Permanent Restrictions After Knee Replacement?

The goal of knee replacement surgery is to restore normal function. If you recover correctly, you should be able to return to most of your typical activities, even sports. However, there may be some permanent restrictions that your surgeon recommends.

In general, knee replacement patients can get back to low-impact activities, like walking, cycling, swimming, golfing, and more. However, you might not be able to do distance running, impact sports, or activities that require a lot of twisting or jerking of the knee.

If you’re thinking about getting knee surgery, check out our Total Joint Class video library. Here you’ll find a lot of useful information for making this big decision and getting the best results if you go ahead with a joint replacement.

You can also learn a lot more about this surgery from our joint replacement specialists. Contact us today to set up a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon.

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