Knee replacement surgeries are the 14th most common inpatient procedure performed in the United States, with 4.5 million Americans currently living with at least one knee replacement. As techniques for total knee replacement have grown more refined, orthopedic specialists have discovered factors that predict successful functional outcomes. One of the most important factors in restoring mobility and range of motion is getting back on your feet after a knee replacement surgery. Follow this guide to ensure you safely return to walking after a knee replacement.
Why Getting Back on Your Feet Is So Important After a Knee Replacement
Knee replacement surgery involves resurfacing the knee and replacing damaged tissue. After the surgery, moving the knee increases blood flow to the area, which can promote healing. Keeping your knee moving also prevents scar tissue from building up inside the knee. Staying immobile for too long can contribute to stiffness that may plague you for a long time. As a result, most doctors recommend starting to walk within 24 hours after knee replacement surgery. Walking soon after surgery also has psychological benefits, as you will begin to feel a sense of mastery that encourages you to keep moving in the future.
Guide to Beginning Physical Activity after a Knee Replacement
Your recovery after a knee replacement will begin shortly after leaving the operating room. Many patients are surprised at how soon they are asked to move the joint and test it out. During the earliest stages of recovery, your doctor will give you a series of exercises designed to strengthen your muscles and move the knee joint. Your nurses can help you do the exercises safely.
Most people are encouraged to begin walking within 24 hours of knee replacement surgery. At first, you will use a walker or crutches to stabilize yourself while walking. Your doctor will tell you how much weight you can safely put on your knee joint. Be conscious of your gait while walking, striving to make it as smooth and rhythmic as possible. As your endurance improves, you can increase the distance that you walk and practice walking independently.
If you have questions about your recovery from a knee replacement, ask our orthopedic surgeons. They can make individualized recommendations based on your unique situation to advise you about the recovery process. Contact us today to learn more.Return to Blog