Congratulations on completing your knee replacement surgery! You have taken a huge step, and you are well on your way to a complete and happy recovery. It’s exciting to think of all the things you’ll be able to do again, now that your knee is functioning better. You have a lot to look forward to. With your improved mobility, you’re looking at a much better quality of life.
But, as exciting as it is to be back up and moving, it’s important not to forget that you do still have limitations. Your new knee prosthesis is a miracle of modern medicine, but it is not a natural knee. And, if you don’t take care of it, you could wind up back where you started – in constant pain and immobile.
Here are a few important precautions for you to take after your surgery, in order to maximize the life of your prosthetic device and keep you mobile for as long as possible.
1) No Kneeling
Firstly, and most importantly, you must never kneel on a prosthetic knee. Your knee is designed to support your body’s weight vertically, through the joint. It is not designed to support excessive lateral stresses, nor pressure against hard surfaces such as the floor. Kneeling on your prosthesis is a little like slamming your car door into a shopping cart. It’s going to do a lot of expensive damage, even if it’s just the first time.
2) No Jumping
Another major limitation of your knee prosthesis is its load capacity. Your new knee can support your body’s weight. But jumping and landing on your knee creates a dramatic increase in the amount of pressure that is placed on the joint. This can exceed the capacity of your prosthesis, causing it to break or loosen. And the only way to repair it is to do the surgery again. But, if you stick to the limits that your doctor gives you, you can generally expect your prosthesis to last about twenty years.
3) Use a Walking Aid
Once again, it’s exciting to be up and moving again. But, as you heal and your muscles strengthen, it can be a good idea to take some pressure off of the joint whenever possible. A good way to do this is to use a walking aid, such as a cane or a walker. It might be inconvenient, but it is the best way to maximize the useful life of your new joint. Besides taking pressure off the joint, the public tends to give a little extra space to people walking on canes or walkers. That can prevent painful bumps and accidental trips. Remember, a fall can destroy your artificial joint, so it’s best to be extra careful. As time goes by and your joint strengthens, you’ll probably find that you can reduce the use of your cane or walker.
Often, patients try and cope with the post-operative pain and swelling by simply gritting their teeth and pushing through. But there are reasons why doctors prescribe pain medications and other tools like CPM or Cryotherapy. If your pain and swelling are severe, they can negatively impact the progress of your physical therapy. That means a longer recovery time. Additionally, when the pain is bad, it can result in you limping or walking with an unnatural gate. This can result in damage to other joints in your body, leading to other chronic pain.
Always remember that Ortomedica and Terapias Elite are proud and happy partners on your path to total recovery. We are here to help you all the way through your postoperative care and physical therapy, and to help you meet your dietary goals for a total-health lifestyle. We will thoroughly educate you on the best habits and practices that will help you to live your best, most comfortable life!