Knee replacement surgery is a major undertaking, but when it goes as expected it can really help to decrease your joint discomfort and increase your quality of life. You can’t control every single aspect of your knee replacement operation, but great outcomes also don’t happen by chance. The more you work to control and account for ahead of time, the better the chance you’ll make a great recovery after your operation. With that in mind, we wanted to share five tips for preparing for your knee replacement operation to help give you the best chance at a great operation and rehabilitation.
Helpful Tips Before Knee Replacement Surgery
Here are some things that physical therapists and medical specialists oftentimes recommend that you consider before your knee replacement operation.
- Weight Loss – You don’t need to starve yourself ahead of surgery, but being mindful of your diet will ensure that your body has the right mix of nutrients to aid in tissue development and healing, and it can help prevent weight gain or even spur weight loss. Losing even just a little weight can take a lot of pressure off your knees, which will be in a weakened state following surgery. Every little bit you lose will make life easier on your knees both before and after surgery, so be mindful of your diet as your surgery date approaches.
- Prehab – You don’t need to wait until surgery is complete in order to start strengthening your knee and the nearby structures. The stronger your knee is prior to the operation, the stronger it will come out of surgery. Doing some prehab exercises will also help to get you used to the rhythm of a regular therapy routine, which will make it easier to continue PT following your operation. You can do some prehab exercises that you find online, or you can connect with a physical therapist for some individualized exercises.
- Ask Questions – We love when patients have questions for us because it shows that they care about making the best recovery possible, and your knee surgeon will feel the same way. Ask questions about the operation, your recovery, and what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Knowing what lies ahead can help you manage your expectations and progress with your recovery as anticipated. Ask plenty of questions during your pre-op consultations if you are unsure about something or simply want more information.
- Connect With A Physical Therapist – If you followed point two and connected with a physical therapist for some prehab exercises, then you may have already found someone who you’ll want to continue PT with following your operation. If you don’t yet have a physical therapist in mind, it’s helpful to find one prior to surgery. It’s one less thing you’ll have to do while you’re recovering and dealing with discomfort. You may even be able to get some sessions scheduled on their books if you’re proactive about finding a PT before your operation.
- Enlist Some Help – Finally, it will be helpful if you can line up some rides or some help around the home prior to your operation. You’re not going to be able to drive after the operation, so you’ll want help getting to and from the surgical center. Movement may also be difficult at home in the beginning stages of your recovery, so it’s helpful to have a friend or family member nearby to assist with some daily tasks. Odds are people will be more than willing to lend a hand, but they may not know that they could be helpful unless you ask, so line up some support for the first few days after your operation.
If you can do all of these things and you connect with a team like OrthoRehab Specialists to help with your rehabilitation after knee replacement surgery, you’ll be putting yourself in a great position to make a fantastic recovery. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, give our team a call today at (612) 339-2041.