The knee joint is the most common joint affected by osteoarthritis, which often leads to a total knee replacement. This procedure is typically recommended by your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon when the pain is so severe that the patient cannot sleep or perform their daily activities at home or at work. The common goals of the surgery are pain relief and improved quality of life.
There are several options for starting physical therapy after surgery and your options are discussed in the hospital with your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon. These options include your living situation, insurance coverage, and your ability to safely maneuver at home and in the community after surgery.
If outpatient physical therapy is recommended, the physical therapist will develop a plan of care based on your individual evaluation and goals. Various hands-on techniques and exercises will be performed to target your motion, strength, flexibility, and balance.
Core and balance activities are an essential part of rehabilitation because about a quarter of patients who have their knees replaced fall in the first year. So the physical therapist will develop a personalized home program to complement your treatment. The success of your rehabilitation is greatly affected by how well you comply with your recommended home program.
It’s important to redeem the straightening and bending of the knee that has been replaced. Zero degrees of straightening is achieved when you lay on your back with your leg straight and the back of your knee touches the ground and is important for how your knee functions when you walk.
Bending is the action of bringing your heel to your buttock and its goal can vary based on your home and work activities. Walking, going up stairs, down stairs and sitting down are all activities that typically require your knee to bend.
After a total knee replacement, patients typically question why it still hurts so much on the inside or outside of their knee and what the clicking sound in their knee is. Regarding the pain, consider what your knee looked like before surgery and how much straighter it is following surgery.
The clicking may be a result of instability created by the removal of a ligament. The condition is common and may decrease over time. If it becomes constant – with new levels of pain and swelling – talk to your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon.
Another common question concerns when the patient can return to sports or their previous exercise routine. The answer varies based on your orthopedic surgeon’s recommendations, healing process, and the range of motion, strength and stability found in your leg.
If you have any additional questions, your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer would be happy to answer them for you.