How is recovery after knee arthroplasty surgery

Recovery after total knee arthroplasty is usually rapid, but varies from person to person and the type of surgery performed.

The surgeon may recommend taking analgesics to relieve pain discomfort following surgery, and in the first 2 weeks after surgery, some steps must be followed, such as:

  • 3 days without putting your foot on the floor, walking with the help of crutches;
  • Apply ice, usually 20 minutes, 3 times a day, for 7 days to reduce pain and swelling;
  • Bend and extend the knee several times a day, respecting the pain limit.

After 7 to 10 days, the surgical stitches should be removed.

How is physiotherapy after knee arthroplasty

Knee rehabilitation should still start in the hospital, but it may take about 2 months for complete recovery. Here are some treatment options.

1. Physiotherapy in the hospital

Physiotherapy should be started as soon as possible and can start right after surgery, as it helps to recover knee mobility and reduce swelling, in addition to preventing thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

The entire rehabilitation process must be personally indicated by a physical therapist, respecting the individual's individual needs, but some guidelines for what can be done are indicated below.

On the same day of surgery:

  • Just lie down with your knee straight, if you are without a drain you can already lie on your side, with a pillow between your legs for greater comfort and positioning of the spine;
  • An ice pack can be placed on the operated knee for 15 to 20 minutes, every 2 hours. If the knee is bandaged, ice should be applied for a longer time, staying up to 40 minutes with ice, a maximum of 6 times a day.

The day after the surgery:

  • An ice pack can be placed on the operated knee for 15 to 20 minutes, every 2 hours. If the knee is bandaged, ice should be applied for a longer time, staying up to 40 minutes with ice, at most 6 times a day;
  • Ankle mobility exercises;
  • Isometric exercises for the thighs;
  • One can stand and support the foot of the operated leg on the floor, but without placing the weight of the body on the leg;
  • You can sit and get out of bed.

On the 3rd day after surgery:

  • Maintain isometric exercises for the thighs;
  • Exercises to bend and stretch the leg while still in bed, and also sitting;
  • Begin training using the walker or crutches.

After these 3 days, the person is usually discharged from the hospital and can continue physical therapy in a clinic or at home.

2. Physiotherapy in the clinic or home

After discharge, the physiotherapy treatment must be personally indicated by the physiotherapist who will accompany the person, according to his assessment, he must indicate what can be done to improve leg movement, be able to walk, go up and down stairs and return usual daily activities. However, this treatment can be done with, for example:

  • Exercise bike for 15 to 20 minutes;
  • Electrotherapy with TENS for pain relief, and Russian current to strengthen the thigh muscles;
  • Mobilization of the joint made by the physiotherapist;
  • Exercises to bend and stretch the knee performed with the help of the therapist;
  • Mobilization, contracting and relaxing exercises with the help of the therapist;
  • Stretches for the legs;
  • Exercises to strengthen the abdomen to help balance and maintain good posture;
  • Stay on top of a balance board or bosu.

After approximately 1 month of physical therapy, the person should be able to support all the weight of the body on the operated leg, walking without limping or fear of falling. Staying on one foot and crouching on one foot should only be achieved after approximately the 2nd month.

In this phase, the exercises can become more intense by placing weights and you can start training to get up and down stairs, for example. After a few weeks, some exercises that may be useful will be to change direction when climbing stairs, or even climbing stairs on the side, for example.

Physiotherapy should not be exactly the same for two people who have had the same type of surgery, because there are factors that interfere with recovery, such as age, sex, physical capacity and emotional state. So, the best thing is to trust the physiotherapist you have and follow his advice for faster rehabilitation.