All About Resuming Normal Activity After Knee Replacement
Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure with a very high success rate. In most cases, this surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Its goal is to remove the bone and damaged cartilage from where the shin bone and thigh bone meet at the knees. These surfaces are usually replaced with a metal implant. So what happens after knee replacement surgery and when can you return to normal activity? Keep reading to find out.
Knee Replacement Recovery
Following the procedure, you’ll likely spend a few nights in the hospital. During this time, your doctor will advise you to take prescription pain medication and monitor you very closely. Eventually, you’ll undergo physical therapy and exercises to help you stand and walk. Occupational therapy may also be necessary so you can regain your independence.
The first few weeks after surgery, you’ll need to take it easy and rest as much as possible. Hopefully, a caregiver will be by your side to assist you with daily tasks and drive you to anywhere you need to go to. While you can take short walks from time to time, you should use an assistive device such as crutches or a cane to help you out.
In three to six weeks, you may resume most of your normal activities. Low impact activities like walking and yoga are usually fine but it’s a good idea to wait before you perform high impact exercises such as running, weightlifting, or basketball.
By week four, you shouldn’t need prescription pain medication anymore and may switch to an over-the-counter option like ibuprofen. While it may be tempting to drive again, it’s imperative that you wait at least six to eight weeks before doing so. Keep in mind that you need to restore your range of motion and be free of pain in order to be safe behind the wheel.
When it comes to your job, the type of work you perform will dictate when you can return. If you have an office job where you sit at your desk for most of the time, you may be able to go back a few weeks after surgery. If your job requires physical labor, on the other hand, you may have to take several months off.
Recovery Takes Time and Effort
Knee replacement surgery is a life-changing procedure that can do wonders for your quality of life. However, it does come with a lengthy recovery period. Therefore, be patient with yourself and realize that you won’t return to normal overnight. With hard work, persistence, and education, you will get there eventually.