One of the more common types of orthopedic surgery is knee surgery. People put a lot of stress on their knees by walking, jogging and by partaking in many other common kinds of exercise and activity. Fortunately, partly because of the frequency of these injuries and surgeries, a great deal is known about the best ways to ease back into exercise and back into an active lifestyle.
When considering how to regain the ability to be active after knee surgery, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration:
- Pain and discomfort
- Wound care
- Physical rehabilitation
Each of these will factor into how fast and the intense your physical activity will be after knee surgery. Although there are some general guidelines for recovery after knee surgery, every patient will have their own timeline on recovery.
Initially, after nearly every knee surgery, the patient will need to use crutches to navigate through their daily routine. It is important that no matter how invasive the surgery was, make sure to follow the guidance of the surgeon and physical therapist while recovering. People who had been active prior to surgery may try to rush through using the crutches, and perhaps other phases of recovery, but this may actually slow the healing process and cause unnecessary complications.
Exercises After Surgery
Some patients are surprised by the initial pain and stiffness following surgery, and they may try to avoid physical rehabilitation. This can be a big mistake. It is very important that every person who has undergone knee surgery follows their doctor’s orders and engage in a rehabilitation program and follow it exactly. After a few weeks of discomfort, the knee will strengthen, the pain will subside, and the patient will be able to return to regular activities sooner.
Knee Strengthening Exercises to Help Get Back to Full Activity
It is also important to undertake specific exercises to strengthen the knee, but only do them when your physical therapist prescribes them.
- Leg raises
- Hamstring contractions
- Squats (at first with a chair)
- Step-ups on a stair
- Exercise bike
People want their level of activity to return immediately after knee surgery, but they should remember that even professional athletes take about a year to return to normal activity. Most complications and serious setbacks occur when patients don’t follow through with prescribed rehabilitation or when they try to rush their return to normal activities.
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