Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, knee replacement rehabilitation follows. At this point, patients are usually able to bend their knee – hopefully to at least a 90 degree angle, dress and bathe themselves and have limited need for an assistive device.
Physical Therapy for knee replacement helps patients return to their lifestyle. After surgery, patients often require additional instructions regarding walking with crutches and/or using a brace or bearing weight while standing or moving to and from. Physical Therapy helps speed healing after surgery and increases the chance of long-term success.
Key to healing from knee replacement is following the recommendations of the Physical Therapist, which includes not overdoing it during the healing process. Exercises, stretching tight muscles and joints (helps prevent scar tissue), soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization, specialized equipment (weights, bands, etc.), heat and/or ice (warm up and cool off muscles, stimulates blood flow and decreases swelling), compression sleeve, ultrasound (increases blood flow to tissues) and electric stimulation (increases blood flow to tissues) may be part of the knee replacement recovery program.
What to expect when receiving physical therapy for knee replacement:
Once an evaluation is conducted, a customized program is created by the Physical Therapy Team. Physical Therapists are trained to restore a patient’s range-of-motion, endurance, balance and strength. Their knowledge of surgical procedures and treatment goals, as well as an understanding regarding limitations following surgery helps patients understand what the body can do and how healing occurs.
Exercises include strengthening the quadriceps muscles, which are located on the front of the thigh. The quadricep muscles help to stabilize and move the knee – vital to walking. Additional exercises will also be added to help bend or flex the knee. Progress is measured and exercises are added or modified on a gradient level. Resistance, weights and repetitions change throughout the process. A stationary bicycle or treadmill may be added.
As a patient is healing from knee replacement surgery, walking goes from a light pace to normal walking. Eventually, knee pain is greatly reduced or eliminated and patients return to their normal lifestyle – including athletes returning to competing, training and participation.
Physical therapy near me can create a knee replacement recovery program for you.