Your knee replacement surgery is over and your doctor is ready to send you home from the hospital. You had the constant support of doctors, nurses and therapists in the hospital. Now, it’s up to you to continue your recovery at home. You’ll be recovering for months at home, so here are some tips to make the best use of that time and have a successful recovery.
1. Establish Your Own Pace
Getting through knee surgery is not a race. It’s about finding the pace that you can comfortably stay with to continue making incremental progress. The physical therapy you had in the hospital showed you where your starting point is. Your goal is to slowly improve on that over the months. Do just a little more every day and track your progress. You will have “off” days where you are sore and feel like doing little. Let your body rest for a day then get back onto your schedule.
2. Don’t Overwork Yourself
A full recovery from knee replacement surgery can take from 6 to 12 months, says the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. Set your expectation that you will have full use of your knee in that timeframe, and no sooner. Once you’ve set the pace for your exercises and physical therapy, stick to that. There will be times when you feel really good and think you can walk longer, bend your knee farther and lift more weight with your knee. This is when you’ll try to push yourself and cause problems. Overworking yourself can damage your knee and set you back. Resist the temptation to overdo it, no matter how good you feel.
3. Focus On Your Diet
The bones and soft tissues in your knee are traumatized during the surgery, and they need help to heal. Not stressing them by pushing yourself beyond your limits is one way to help. Another way is to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to fuel the healing process. Pay attention to your diet with these tips:
- Eat a lean, high-protein diet with plenty of chicken and fish as the protein source.
- Dairy products and other calcium and vitamin D fortified foods are needed for bone healing.
- Potassium from bananas and leafy greens helps your muscles heal.
- Antioxidants from beans, blueberries, potatoes and yogurt boost your immune system so you can fight off surgical infections.
4. Use Pain Medication as Long as You Need It
Regular, scheduled use of pain medication works better than waiting until your knee is killing you. When your knee really hurts, the pain medication may barely take the edge off. You may decide that it hurts too much to do your exercises. This slows down your recovery and you’ll fall behind. Always take your pain medications before exercising and walking. Keep the pain to a minimum so you stay on your activity schedule.
For more information, contact Joseph P. Spott, DO or a similar medical professional.Read More