The knees are typically two of the hardest working joints in the human body. Our knees are what enable us to stand up, sit down, walk around, run, jog, dance, jump, pick things up from the floor, kick, play sports… the list goes on and on. The fact that they play such an active role in so many activities also make our knees exceptionally susceptible to injuries and damage due to everyday wear and tear. When this happens, it might be necessary for knee surgery to repair the damage and ensure we maintain the full use of our knees.
Luckily, we live in a time where we can truly see and appreciate the major advances medical knowledge and techniques have made in our lifetime alone. Our understanding has moved forward in leaps and bounds and continues to do so – also resulting in better treatment methods that are both more effective and generally less invasive. This, of course, also applies to knee surgery. Recovering from surgery generally happens much faster nowadays than a few years back due to these advancements. However, because of the heavy use of this joint, you still need to look after yourself carefully to ensure full recovery and to avoid damaging your knee further after surgery.
To help you on your road to recovery, we will take a closer look at some of the precautions you can take when recovering from knee surgery, as well as some tips to make your recovery easier. It is, of course, important to acknowledge that there are several different types of knee surgery, some more extensive than others, and that not all people experience the same rate of recovery. While the following tips are meant to assist you on your road to recovery, it is still important to discuss your recovery with your doctor, and to follow their instructions closely to ensure the optimal results.
Manage Your Expectations
Knee surgery is merely the first step in fixing an injury or damage to the joint. The recovery process is equally as important (if not even more important) and will take time. In fact, depending on the type of surgery and how extensive it was, full recovery can take anything from six to twelve weeks, and sometimes even longer. You must be prepared to put in the required effort during this time to ensure a successful recovery.
Caring for The Wound
The wound itself should heal quickly – usually in about two weeks. However, until then, you must keep it clean to prevent infection. Keep the site as dry as possible. Always wash your hands with soap and water before attending to your wound. Follow your doctor’s instructions and notify your doctor immediately if you notice signs of infection like redness, discharge, or pain.
There will be some pain involved when recovering from knee surgery. This is unfortunately unavoidable but should also be only temporary and should dissipate in the weeks following the procedure. Your doctor should prescribe pain medication. Use this strictly according to instructions to avoid dependence, the flare up of pain, and other complications. Speak to your doctor immediately if you have any concerns.
Rest is a vital part of recovery, even when you feel capable of being active. Keep your leg straight where possible and avoid activities that have been prohibited by your doctor, even if you think you can do it. This is often because these activities expose you to significant risk. Hurting yourself and extending the recovery process or, even worse, having to repeat the knee surgery certainly is not worth the risk.
Do Your Prescribed Exercises
Closely follow the exercises your doctor or physiotherapist has prescribed, even if the activities feel like they do not do anything or annoy you. These movements are carefully chosen to help your muscles and ligaments recover, and to restore natural movement and strength to your knee after surgery.
Use Support Devices
Do not try to be a hero or show others how strong you are. This serves no purpose. If you have been given a brace or crutches, use it. This will provide support until you have sufficiently recovered.
For more information on knee surgery, contact the expert team as Pretoria Hip, Knee and Shoulder Surgeons.