Charles M. Fisher, physical therapist and section manager of Acute Care Orthopedic Rehabilitation at Hospital for Special Surgery, shares his top five tips for recovery after a total knee replacement.
1. Ice your knee for 20-30 minutes multiple times a day. Ice acts as a pain reliever and reduces swelling and irritation.
2. When resting in bed, roll up a small towel and place it under your ankle. This will allow your knee to passively extend towards the end of the bed maximizing your extension range of motion.
3. When walking, use a walker or a cane, until you can walk pain free and without a limp. Remember that it is better to use an assistive device and not limp than to not use on and limp.
4. Perform the exercises given to you by your physical therapist and surgeon, as they are designed to maximize your recovery.
5. Most importantly, listen to your body. Pain should be expected, but pushing through excessive pain can increase the pain and cause irritation, inflammation and stiffness.
Remember that recovery after a knee replacement takes time and patience. Some days will be better than others, but overall you should see gradual progress towards achieving your goals.
Charles M. Fisher is a Physical Therapist with the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery.