Knee pain is experienced by thousands of Americans every year. For some, the knee pain is related to an injury and usually heals well with time, rest, and appropriate medical treatment.
For many others, however, the knee pain is due to damage to the knee that is so severe that healing is unlikely. In these cases, replacing the joint with an artificial knee is the patient's best option to restore mobility and ease the pain. If you are about to become one of the more than 600,000 knee replacement surgical patients this year, the following tips will help you enjoy a faster, more comfortable recovery.
Lose excess weight before surgery
Each excess pound of body weight places additional stress on your knees, so it makes sense to reduce the load as much as possible before undergoing knee replacement surgery. In addition, it is important to remain as active as possible to help retain the muscle mass and tone that will also help aid in recovery after knee replacement. Since weight bearing exercise, such as walking, may not be feasible due to the damaged knee joint and the resulting pain, those who are preparing for knee surgery should consider asking their doctor about substituting swimming and water exercises during the pre-surgical preparation phase.
Stop smoking well before the surgery
Surgical patients who smoke are choosing to significantly reduce the level of oxygen in their bloodstream. Since healthy levels of oxygen in the blood are needed to help speed the healing of surgical incisions and reduce the risk of infection, making the commitment to stop using tobacco products well before your surgery date is an important part of ensuring your knee replacement surgery is successful and your recovery period is as short and comfortable as possible.
Fully embrace rehab options
Once your knee replacement surgery has taken place and you are beginning the recovery process, your medical care team will determine what type of rehabilitation program is best for your specific situation. Their decision will be guided by many factors, including:
- your age
- your overall physical condition
- the type and scope of your knee replacement surgery
- any complications or extenuating factors that apply
Knee replacement rehabilitation programs are available to patients who will be recovering in an assisted-living or nursing home facility, as well as those who plan to recover at home, with appropriate assistance from caregivers.
To learn more about knee replacement surgery, including the recovery process and any available options for knee replacement rehab programs, take time to discuss your options with your medical care team.