Total Knee Replacement Surgery Before & After.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article on Osteoarthritis. We got loads of feedback and questions from people who had been diagnosed with the condition in relation to where to go and what to do from there. Thankfully many have started individualised and bespoke treatment and are seeing a reduction in pain and an increase in strength and improvement in overall health. Since then, many people have also contacted us that are on a waiting list to get a total knee replacement or have recently had one.
I was very surprised by the amount of people who felt it was just a waiting game and that there was no need to do anything with their knee until after the operation. The fact of the matter is, the more you do prior to the operation the easier the recovery will be after and the sooner you will get back on your feet, getting back to the things you love doing. Golf, walking, swimming etc., but most of all just being pain free !
What I am really talking about here is getting your knee as strong as possible and building muscle in the joint. It is inevitable that you will lose some muscle mass post surgery. Hence, the more you have the less you will lose. Poor muscle mass or function will lead to ramifications. You will be given a set of exercises to do after your operation. Your ability to perform these dictate how quickly you recover. So, having as good a strength base as possible really does improve the overall outcome of how successful the surgery is for years to come. Think of it as saving money for a rainy day!
I spent close on a year working in an orthopedic hospital where I probably dealt with 20 patients everyday who either had a knee replacement or a hip replacement. The physio staff there knew who was going to recover hassle free and quickly even before they had their surgery, we could see who had put in a bit of work beforehand. Now, I understand there are different severities of osteoarthritis in a knee joint, but remember there is always some form of strength and exercise work you can do to help, the issue is, it has to be bespoke to you and you only. A good physiotherapist will be able to guide you on what you can and can’t do.
For those of you who have had a knee replacement there are a few things you need to know and do. The first objective marker we strive for in our clinic is to assure each client can achieve full knee extension. What does this mean ? Well, it simply means that you can straighten your knee fully.This is important because when we are walking and strike your heel off the ground, your knee needs to be able straighten fully, if you can’t do this, you are walking with a slight bent knee all the time and this will load the joint excessively causing further unwanted pain. Secondly, we want to make sure the scar post op is allowing the skin to move around the knee joint properly. We often notice this restricts the ability of the knee to bend which may also cause pain. A lot of hands on treatment is required to do this - and this is our third objective - a 90 degree knee bend. Funnily enough most people think this is the most important aspect of the recovery and it is the one most people who have the surgery are fixated on. But, put it this way - as time goes by it’s harder to get the knee to straighten fully than it is to get it to bend. So hence why it’s not on the top of our list.
If you are struggling with pain or trying to walk properly since you got your knee replaced, remember it’s never too late to do something about it. Too often I see people, even years after their surgery complaining it wasn’t a success or they never did what they were supposed to do. As I said there is hope, it may take a while but with the right advice and treatment you can reduce your pain and improve your ability to partake in your daily activities of living.
If you are due to have a knee replacement or have had one in the past and are not happy with it, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.