If you have been living with a painful knee, and none of the usual therapies have helped you, knee replacement surgery could be just the thing to give you back your quality of life. The people who opt for total knee replacement surgery generally have suffered an injury which has damaged the surface of their knee joint, or they have a medical condition that affects their knee, such as arthritis. It gets to the point where the pain and stiffness are severely impacting on their ability to carry out day to day activities, and the clearest and most reasonable treatment for them is knee replacement surgery.
If you are considering knee replacement surgery, you should book an appointment with your orthopaedic surgeon, who will give you advice on the options available to you.
Since the very first knee replacement in 1968, knee replacement surgery has become a common operation with a good success rate. The surgical procedure involves removing the damaged and deteriorated knee joint and replacing it with an artificial joint known as a prosthesis, which is usually made with a combination of plastic and metal materials.
So, now you have made the decision to go for a knee replacement surgery, what should you expect in the weeks and months after?
In general, the knee replacement recovery time depends on your age and your general fitness, and whether you have any other medical conditions that could impact on your recuperation. On the whole, it is usually advisable to get mobile as soon as possible after knee surgery. For this reason it is likely that in the hours after the surgery on your knee joint, the hospital staff will expect you to be walking around the ward, with support of course!
• You should be safe to walk around the house with walking aids, such as crutches. Pain relief will help with this.
• The physiotherapist will have given you an exercise programme to maximise the long term results of your knee surgery, so you should make sure to follow it closely.
• There may be some swelling around the operation site as well as around your ankles and feet, but as you become more mobile this should subside. Application of ice may help in the meantime.
• Be careful walking up and down stairs and around slippery surfaces such as the kitchen and bathroom - you don't want to fall while you are still recovering.
As you become pain free you will become more mobile and active. Exercise is essential to strengthen the muscles around your new knee joint as well as benefitting your overall physical and mental fitness. Your new knee could last 20 years or longer, so you really can look forward to your life after your knee replacement surgery.