Undergoing knee surgery is a major event requiring full commitment to your recovery. One of the biggest concerns about knee surgery is the recovery period. It is only natural to want to know when you can resume your daily activities. After all, returning to normal is a major consideration for knee surgery.
Let’s talk more about resuming daily activities after knee surgery and how it can be done gradually.
Follow Your Orthopedic Surgeon’s Instructions
Your orthopedic care team will provide you with specific post-operative instructions, and you must adhere to them. These instructions will cover medication, wound care, activity, and weight-bearing restrictions. The guidelines are there to ensure proper healing and prevent complications.
Every Person’s Recovery Process is Unique
Every patient’s recovery process after knee surgery is unique. Different factors can influence how quickly you can recover. However, an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist can establish recovery goals for you.
You are either going to have a short hospital stay or go home on the same day as the surgery. Knee surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure, which means patients can go home after being able to do/achieve the following:
- Getting in and out of bed independently
- Go to the bathroom alone
- Have pain under control
- Being able to eat and drink
- Walking with an assistive device such as a walker or crutches on a level surface
- Being able to climb up and down the stairs
- Do the prescribed home physical therapy exercises
The patient should understand the precautions they need to take for a successful healing.
Phase 1: Acute Phase
This is immediately after knee surgery. The focus is on pain management and allowing the proper healing of the wound.
- Activities: Rest, elevation, ice therapy, and controlled exercises as advised by your provider.
- The initial phase of recovery involves rest. Following your surgery, you will likely be advised to avoid placing excessive weight on your knee.
- Physical therapy sessions may begin during this phase to help regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. It is crucial to follow your physical therapist’s instructions meticulously, including adhering to any prescribed exercises or stretches. Gradually increasing your activity level under the guidance of your physical therapist.
Phase 2: Early Rehabilitation Phase
The early rehabilitation phase is about two to six weeks after knee surgery and focuses on restoring range of motion and improving strength.
- Activities: Physical therapy sessions, gentle exercises, walking with assistive devices, and gradually increasing weight-bearing activities.
Phase 3: Intermediate Rehabilitation Phase
Around six weeks to three months after surgery, the focus becomes increasing a patient’s strength, endurance, and stability.
- Activities: More challenging exercises to improve muscle strength, balance training, functional movements, and continued physical therapy.
- The orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist may give you the green light to incorporate gentle activities into your routine. These may include short walks, stationary cycling, swimming, or low-impact exercises. Start with short durations and gradually increase the intensity and duration of these activities, listening to your body’s signals along the way.
Phase 4: Advanced Rehabilitation Phase
Around the three-month mark, patients can focus on slowly restoring full function and flexibility and returning to normal activities.
- Activities: Intensive strengthening exercises, sports-specific training if applicable, transitioning to normal gait patterns, and gradually resuming higher impact activities.
As you progress in your recovery journey, you can gradually reintegrate daily activities into your routine. Start by breaking down these activities into manageable parts and gradually increase the duration and intensity.
Remember to take breaks as needed and avoid overexertion. Continue attending physical therapy sessions to ensure proper technique, prevent compensatory movements, and address any lingering concerns.
Knee Surgery in North Dakota
For the most experienced orthopedic knee surgeons in North Dakota, visit us here at The Bone & Joint Center. Our orthopedic doctors specialize in treatments of the knee, including partial and total knee replacement and minimally invasive knee replacement surgery. Additionally, we have a caring team of orthopedic specialists who will guide you throughout your recovery.
To schedule a consultation with one of our knee replacement surgeons, call our office today at (701) 946-7400/(866) 900-8650 or use our online appointment request form. We look forward to providing you with top-notch orthopedic services in North Dakota.