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As we get older, our knees and hips begin to suffer wear and tear from a lifetime of bearing our weight. While older generations may have had to suffer with it, these days replacement surgery has become the norm.
But that’s not to say that it’s not scary. The idea of having part of your body removed and replaced is certainly strange for some people. Not to the mention the worry of recovering after the operation and associated pain.
Years of pain also mean you may have altered the way you walk and move, putting additional strain on different joints and areas of your body. Physical therapy can help, and you may want to investigate getting started with this before your knee replacement. It will also help to strengthen the muscles around your knee that will aid your recovery.
Other top tips for an easier knee replacement recovery include:
- Before your operation, make sure your home will be safe on your return. This includes removing any loose rugs from the floor, ensuring you have a safe bannister for any stairs or steps.
- Make sure you can get in and out of the bath or shower safely. Use a rubber mat in the bath to prevent yourself slipping.
- Obtain a raised seat for your toilet that will make it much easier to sit down and stand up again, without having to bend your knees to 90 degrees.
- If you have a dog, ask someone to shut it in another room when you first enter your home, to prevent it jumping up and hurting you. (Of course, you will be as eager to see your pet as they will be to see you, but it will only be for a few moments).
- Ask someone to stay with you as you recover. Even if it’s just for a few days until you get your confidence back – especially when going up and down stairs.
- Always do your exercises – even if it is uncomfortable. This is the single most important thing you can do to aid your recovery in both the short-term and for a better long-term result too. You’ll find they get easier as the days progress.
- Borrow a wheeled-trolley for your kitchen – you’d be surprised how difficult it can be to carry a hot drink or a plate of food to the table if you are cooking with crutches.
- Buy some slippers or comfortable shoes that you can put on and take off without having to do up any laces or buckles as you may not be able to bend your knee enough straightaway.
- Continue to take any prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatories even if you feel you don’t need them.
- Do not sit with your legs crossed for six weeks after your operation, as this can interfere with your blood flow.
- Do not sleep with a pillow under your knee as this can result in a permanently bent knee because the muscles will shorten.
Of course, recovery will be different for each and every person, but in general, you should be able to resume most of your normal activities by about 6 weeks after surgery.