Over half a million people receive knee replacements each year. This figure is expected to continue as the baby boomer generation ages, because 96% of knee replacements are due to osteoporosis, which is a disorder that most frequently affects the elderly. While knee replacements are a great way for people to have a fresh start, patients need to take long time to recover.
Recovering from a Total Knee Replacement
We are lucky that medical procedures have advanced so much that people with damaged knees can get a fresh start, but they will need to be prepared for a lengthy recovery. Here are some things that you will need to deal with after a knee replacement. Always speak with your team of orthopedists for more information.
Plan to Take Time Off
Receiving a knee replacement is going to take a lot out of you. The average person needs at least two months to recuperate after, regardless of their profession. People in physically intensive professions may need extra time to recover. Always speak with your doctor to see what they recommend and listen to your own body.
Recovery Is Generally Painful
Total knee replacements are great procedures for many patients, but they can be very painful for a while. Stefan Tarlow is an orthopedic surgeon that warns his patients of the pain before the procedure, but many of them unfortunately are still caught off guard. You will need to make sure that your doctor prescribes the right pain killers to make it more manageable.
You will need to participate in physical therapy for several weeks while undergoing recovery. Most patients need to participate in physical therapy for 6 to 12 weeks before they can start feeling more independent.
Most patients will feel noticeable improvement in mobility after they start getting better. However, you will need to be realistic about your new limitations and refrain from any activity that could damage your implants or cause additional damage near the base of the knee. Speak with your orthopedic surgeon to find out what types of activities are safe.
They may discourage you from participating in high impact activities such as running or hiking for at least three to six months. They will probably also tell you to avoid lifting weights in excess of 40 pounds for the first half year after treatment.
Healing Takes About a Year
The healing process takes about a year to complete. Unfortunately, your artificial knee will never be like the real thing, but most patients have stated that they are very happy with the outcome. The process will become more bearable over time, but the first year is generally the biggest struggle that patients face.