More than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed each year. Knee replacement surgery can give you back some of the mobility you may have lost due to an injury or joint issues, with the right rehabilitation and physical therapy. After your knee replacement surgery, physical therapy will most likely be recommended. Here are a few things you need to know about physical therapy and rehab after your surgery.
Physical Therapy Begins Right Away
Physical therapy can begin right after your surgery. A physical therapist may meet you in your hospital room after you have had a chance to rest. He or she will help you to begin moving the joint, and you may even begin to put a bit of weight on it. You can expect to stay in the hospital between 1 and 3 days, depending on how well you are able to start moving around.
Your doctor may decide to transfer you to a skilled nursing facility that offers rehabilitation, or he or she may recommend home care. This may depend on your other medical condition, your ability to move after surgery and your resources at home. If you have a large support network, you may be able to stay home and have a physical therapist come to see you for your rehab. In a skilled nursing facility, you will undergo physical therapy and rehab in the residential setting.
Continuing Care At Home
Whether you have transferred from the hospital directly to your home or you have completed care in a rehab center, there are things you can do at home to continue your recovery. Your physical therapist can teach you how to do these simple exercises so you can build strength in the joint and surrounding muscles. These exercises include the following:
- Stair climbing
- Knee straightening exercises
- Bed-supported exercises
Be sure you understand clearly how to do each of these exercises on your own to prevent muscle strain and injury, and ask your physical therapist how often each day you should do them to rebuild your strength.
Your physical therapist is your partner on your road to recovery from knee replacement surgery. With hard work on your part and a supportive physical therapist, you can be back to your old self quickly. Be sure to ask your doctor before your surgery about the rehabilitation plan and physical therapy options so you can be prepared for the days and weeks after the procedure.