Living with a new knee: How to deal with it and get better

By Neha Roy Feb 2, 2024
total knee replacementtotal knee replacement

Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgery, also known as Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA), is a common way to treat severe knee joint problems like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and knee injuries. It is recommended for people who have severe knee pain or knee damage due to arthritis, injury, or other medical conditions that have not improved with non-surgical treatments. With advancements in medical services, this surgery has become very effective. However, the recovery period is sometimes challenging, especially when you are unaware of a few important points.

If you or someone you know is getting ready for or recovering from a total knee replacement, here are some tips and ways to deal with the situation that may help:

Think ahead:

Before undergoing the surgery, it’s important to make a plan to make sure the recovery goes smoothly. This could mean finding the right hospital, getting home care or help with household chores, and stocking up on things like crutches, ice packs, and comfortable clothes that will be needed during recovery.

You might also find it helpful to make changes to your home, like adding handrails and ramps, to make it easier to get around while you’re healing.

Follow the instructions given after surgery

For a successful recovery from total knee replacement surgery, it is very important to do what your doctor or physical therapist tells you to do after the surgery. Some of these instructions may tell you how to care for a wound, take medicine, do physical therapy exercises, or limit your activities.

It’s important to carefully follow these directions and ask questions if you have any questions or concerns. If you don’t follow the post-surgery instructions, you may have more problems and take longer to get better.

Manage Pain

Pain comes alongside surgeries, but there are a few things you can do to deal with it. Your doctor may give you painkillers to help in the early stages of recovery, but over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be just as good.

Using ice packs or heat therapy, practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation, and avoiding positions or activities that make the pain worse are other ways to deal with pain.

Stay busy

After having a total knee replacement, it may be tempting to stay in bed and do nothing. However, it’s important to stay active and do the physical therapy exercises that your doctor or physical therapist tells you to do. Physical therapy can help strengthen the knee joint, increase its range of motion, and reduce pain.

Aside from physical therapy exercises, low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and cycling can also help improve overall fitness and speed up the healing process. But before starting any exercise, do not forget to consult with your doctor or physiotherapist.

Eat healthy foods

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help the body heal faster and get better. This could include getting enough protein to help repair tissues and enough vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy.

It’s also important to stay hydrated and avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can slow down healing and make complications more likely.

Explore preparation for knee surgery to increase your awareness.

Get Support

Getting better after a total knee replacement can be hard and sometimes make you feel alone, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Getting help from friends, family, and healthcare professionals can help you deal with the physical and emotional challenges of recovery.

People who have had total knee replacement surgery can also benefit from support groups where they can share their experiences and get advice on how to deal with recovery.

Be Patient

Total knee replacement surgery can take time to heal from, so it’s important to be patient and give yourself the time you need to get better. During the recovery process, it’s normal to have setbacks or feel frustrated. Keeping a positive attitude and keeping your mind on the long-term benefits of the surgery can help you stay motivated and committed to the recovery process.

Take Safety Measures

After having a total knee replacement, it is important to take care not to fall or get hurt in other ways that could worsen the condition and slow down the healing process. This could mean using crutches or walkers as your doctor or physical therapist tells you to, wearing shoes with good support, and staying away from activities that involve twisting or jumping.

It’s also important to know the signs of infection or other problems, like redness, swelling, fever, or drainage from the surgical site, and to get medical help right away if any of these happen.

Be honest with your healthcare provider

It is always advisable to consult your condition openly with your doctor. This could mean talking about any worries or questions you have about the healing process and giving feedback on how well pain management, physical therapy exercises, and other parts of your care are working.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare team about any worries or questions you have. They are there to help you and want to make sure that your surgery goes as well as it can.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Lastly, one of the most important things you can do to get better after a knee replacement is to keep a positive attitude. During the recovery process, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions, like frustration, anxiety, and sadness. But, it’s important to stay focused on the good things about your progress and the benefits of the surgery.

Setting realistic goals and celebrating small wins along the way can help you stay motivated and feel like you’re making progress, even when things are hard.

In the end, living with a new knee after total knee replacement surgery can be hard, but in the end, it can be worth it. By preparing ahead of time, following post-surgery instructions, managing pain, staying active, eating a healthy diet, getting support, being patient, taking precautions, being honest with your doctors, and keeping a positive attitude, you can help ensure a successful recovery and a return to a more active, pain-free lifestyle. Remember that recovery is a process, not an endpoint. With the right coping skills and support, you can get through the hard times and come out stronger and more resilient than ever before.

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