Do you want to know the fastest way to recover from knee replacement surgery?
So you can get back to moving as freely as possible, and be able to do the daily activities you once took for granted?
Are you on the waiting list for knee replacement surgery?
Wondering the best way to prepare so you can make the fastest recovery possible?
Are you currently experiencing pain on a regular basis in your knees?
Want to avoid the risks of surgery and the long waiting lists in the future?
If so, this blog contains some expert advice especially for you.
In the UK there are around 80,000 knee replacement surgeries each year, with the vast majority of these surgeries performed on people over the age of 60 with osteoarthritis. The NHS waiting lists for a knee replacement is currently around 2-3 years and this is expected to rise to 5 years as a result of the pandemic and government restrictions which still exist in healthcare.
The cost of getting a total knee replacement privately is rising and costs approximately £16,000 when you take into consideration all the consultations, scans and costs of surgery. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford that.
In our clinic we have worked with a lot of patients who have come to us after knee replacement surgery, and they aren’t happy with the level of movement or the level of pain that they are still experiencing.
Whilst knee replacement surgery is sometimes inevitable and the best course of action, it is by no means a guaranteed fix and there is important preparatory and rehab work to be done to ensure people get the results they want.
Despite this being a very common operation it is by no means routine and requires a lot of work to get a successful outcome.
The Fastest Way To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery
If you are recovering from knee replacement surgery and you want to speed up the process so you can get back to walking the dog, going to pilates classes, playing golf, or you just want to be able to move freely, and pain-free, we have some top tips to help you do that.
Move Little And Often (every hour)
Once you have been cleared to move your knee and walk by the consultant, it is important to do so little and often (aim to move around every hour).
This is important as it reduces the risk of complications such as blood clots, improves circulation, helps to keep your joints moving and this movement helps deliver important nutrients to your knee, reducing swelling so you heal and recover quicker than if you sat for long periods of the time each day.
Usually, you will be able to start walking whilst you are still in the hospital, so this is something that can be done early in your recovery. Expect to see a physiotherapist on the 1st day after your knee replacement. Movement and strengthening as early as possible is very important.
Use Equipment Provided To You
You will typically be given some form of walking aids when you are discharged from hospital following your knee replacement surgery, and these should be used to help you safely move at home.
It may be tempting to think that you should avoid using walking aids, however this is a mistake. Walking with a crutch promotes a more normal walking style and is also less painful, which means you often walk further or more frequently. Take the help and follow the best guidance.
Darren, one of our expert team explains why:
You might think that forcing yourself to walk unassisted as soon as possible is the fastest way to recover.
Doing this too early can actually make things more painful as you could be putting too much stress on your knee and the surrounding tissues.
So, it is important not to rush your rehab plan.
Follow Your Exercise Plan
After knee replacement surgery you should be given a list of exercises to perform which will help you improve your range of motion (how much you can bend and straighten your knee), and then strengthen the surrounding muscles. A lot of focus is often placed on the knee bend, but for walking it is actually more important to be able to get your knee completely straight.
It may be uncomfortable at first, however once you get into the habit of regularly walking and doing your exercise you’ll feel much better and recover much quicker.
Whilst it would not be appropriate to prescribe specific exercises in a blog, if you are concerned that your exercise plan isn’t helping you, feel free to reach out to us in the clinic.
To speak to a member of our team and find out how we can help you recover faster from your knee replacement surgery, arrange a free taster consultation which is great if you are unsure whether private physio is right for you.
Ayesha, our Admin Manager, recommends booking a free Fit For Physio consultation because:
People who book Fit For Physio consultations regularly highlight how helpful it is to have the time to be listened to, and get simple, jargon-free, personalised advice. Something we rarely get when we have been to the doctors or the consultant with our problems.
Avoid Kneeling, Or Putting Pressure Against Your Knee
After surgery your knee will likely be very sore and swollen, so kneeling or putting pressure against your knee can cause unnecessary pain for you.
In the initial phase of recovery the main goal is to reduce swelling so you can increase the range of motion (how much you can straighten and bend your knee), and allow the wound to heal.
By kneeling, or putting pressure against your knee, you are likely to make the swelling worse and this will slow down your recovery.
Get Great Sleep and Rest
Whilst we have spoken about the importance of exercise and movement, we also need to make sure that you are getting sufficient rest. Aim to get 8 or more hours sleep each night, if not more, and when you are resting, keep your leg elevated and apply ice (or a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel for 20 minutes every 4 hours to reduce any swelling.
Avoid High Impact Activities
Activities With High Risk Of Falling Or Twisting Your Knee
Later in your recovery and once you have started to notice a significant improvement in your movement capacity, it is important to remain wary of activities with high impact such as running or jumping, and activities with a high risk of falling or that could result in twisting your knee.
Instead, opt for low impact activities like cycling, swimming, or golf.
Seek Additional Support With Private Physiotherapy
If you have had your knee replacement surgery and you are struggling to move freely, still experiencing pain and not able to do what you want to do, then reach out to our expert team.
We have worked with patients who were disappointed with the results after surgery and came to us looking for more support.
At Optimal Physio we are able to provide hands on treatment and complete treatment plans which will not just get you to a minimum quality of life (which is what the NHS physios will do), but will enable you to get back to enjoying long walks, pilates classes or golf with your friends, and able to play with the grandchildren when they visit.
To find our more we offer Fit For Physio’ consultations either online or in the clinic. You can speak to an expert member of our team, ask any questions that you have, and find out what’s stopping you from getting the life you thought you were going to have post-surgery.
The Best Way To Prepare For Knee Replacement Surgery
As well as helping people post-operation, we have worked with a number of patients who were on the waiting list for surgery and were able to improve their chances of a full and fast recovery by completing a prehab plan which stabilised and strengthened the muscles around the knee. The stronger your leg is before surgery the easier it is to recover after surgery.
By doing great prehab you are increasing the speed at which you will recover from your knee replacement surgery.
If you are on the waiting list and want to find out the best way to prepare for knee replacement surgery, then you can arrange a free consultation.
In this free Fit For Physio consultation, we can discuss your knee pain, the problems you are experiencing in your daily activities and identify the best way to prepare you for your operation.
This will mean that your recovery after the knee replacement surgery will be as short and painless as possible, and help you get back to normal life quickly.
How To Avoid Knee Replacement Surgery Altogether
If you are currently suffering with regular knee pain, swelling in your knees or you struggle to get out of the car, out of bed, or up from your chair, then you are probably worrying about what might happen if things continue to get worse. You may have been told by your GP that it’s arthritis and nothing can be done, and the x-ray which confirmed this has shown it is not advanced enough yet to merit a knee replacement.
You may be hoping that things settle themselves, but you are very aware of the risk of surgery in your future, and you aren’t sure what to do to address the problem. You are also aware that you want to avoid the NHS waiting lists and ideally a £16,000 bill to go to a private hospital.
If this sounds like you, and you don’t want to feel anxious or scared about the prospect of going into hospital for a knee replacement, then now is the time to get the support you really need.
At Optimal Physio, we have helped hundreds of patients just like you who are experiencing daily knee pain and unable to move freely. Physiotherapy is really cost effective way of improving your pain, mobility and quality of life and help you avoid the surgical option.
We have a number of options available to you:
Download our free information
Call us and book a free Fit For Physio appointment – 0333 301 0205
Book an Initial Assessment and get started right away