When you think about the procedure, knee replacement surgery can be intimidating. But the majority of people who have a complete knee replaced experience vast improvement and return comfortably to their normal lives. With that in mind, there are some simple steps that will move you toward a smooth recovery.
1. Strengthen your body now
If you don’t already have a workout routine, begin strengthening your leg and arm muscles at least 6 months prior to surgery. Consider all of the ways you will be moving during recovery, from pushing off the bed to walking around.
2. Set-up delivery services and assistance
You won’t be allowed to drive for 4-6 weeks after your surgery, so coordinate with friends and family in advance to assist you in picking up and delivering your children to school, practices, games, etc. You will also need a ride to your follow-up appointments and physical therapy sessions.
3. Prepare for your post-surgery needs
The more independent you are after surgery, the better. Purchase what you think you will need beforehand. Do your laundry. Run important errands. Freeze some meals. Place your needs and wants next to your bed within easy reach. You may or may not need all of these things: ice packs (frozen peas) or an ice machine, walker, shower bench, elevated toilet seat, extra pillows, snacks, water, tissues, paper, pen, book, reading glasses, tablet, laptop, phone, electric chargers.
4. Keep a positive attitude
Think of your surgery as an improvement, and any pain as only temporary. Focus on your progress and where you will be in the coming months. Healing is as much in the mind as it is in the rest of your body.
5. Stay ahead of your pain killers
If you need pain killers, set a timed schedule and take your medicine as it is prescribed, at least initially. Consult your doctor, of course, but as your pain lessens, you should be able to begin weaning yourself off of your meds by extending the blocks of time between doses. The sooner you are off of your meds and gain your leg strength, the sooner you will be able to drive.
6. Keep moving
With the assistance of a nurse or walker, you should be up and walking the day of your surgery. Continue to move around your house after you get home. Follow your therapist’s guidelines. A body in motion stays in motion, and laying around all day isn’t helping you heal.
7. Focus on bending and straightening
Bend until you feel a little pain, back off for 10-15 counts, and then try again. Don’t try to jam your leg back before your knee is ready. Work on a consistent schedule, and you will eventually reach your goal.
8. Get plenty of rest
When you sleep, your body actually repairs and restores itself, so take naps and get a full night’s sleep for months after surgery. Resting will help your body heal faster.
About the Author
Angela Russ is a mom-preneur, children’s author, public speaker, and award-winning artist/producer of interactive music for young children. She speaks nationwide on the subject of child development and is the sole-owner of the Russ InVision record label, on the web at AbridgeClub.com © 2015 Russ InVision. All rights reserved.