5 Ways to Boost Your Recovery from Knee Replacement Surgery
Medically Reviewed by Ryan T. Beck, MD | January 6, 2022
Knee replacement surgery is a routine procedure that relieves chronic joint pain. In fact, it’s so common that hundreds of thousands of patients opt for it each year. But even though this surgery has become a standard medical treatment, a full recovery from it still requires time and effort. So, if you ever undergo a knee replacement, follow these steps to get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Pay attention to your physician’s instructions.
After a knee replacement surgery, your doctor will provide a list of instructions for post-op care. This list will tell you when to take your medication, how to care for your knee, what activities to avoid, etc. Read these directions carefully and follow them to the letter. Ignoring your doctor could slow your recovery or cause further injury.
Take time after your knee replacement surgery to relax, sleep, and rest. Downtime will help restore your knee and boost your healing time, so don’t try to recover too quickly. Pace yourself.
During these periods of rest, also take care to ensure your knee is kept as straight as possible. Even going so far as propping your foot up on a pillow or rolled-up towel to promote full extension (straightness). Do not rest with a pillow under your knee unless expressly directed by your doctor. Of course, knee flexion, or bending, is crucial, so is restoring your straightness.
Walk as soon as you can.
Although rest is important, you should still get up and move around when possible. Walking will help prevent blood clots while keeping the joints limber and improving circulation. It will also help pump oxygen and nutrients to your knee to boost recovery. So, take a walk before you ever leave the hospital.
Practice physical discipline.
Stay active. Your physical therapist will demonstrate exercises you can do at home to help your knee heal faster. It’s important to perform these movements regularly to strengthen your leg and restore movement in your knee joint. And, in addition to physical therapy, you also need regular exercise to help build muscle. Just don’t push yourself to the point of pain while working out.
Eat a healthy diet.
Your body will need plenty of nutrients as it heals, so remember to eat a regular diet of fruits, vegetables, and protein. Also, include high-iron foods, like quinoa, fish, legumes, spinach, and broccoli, to help more oxygen circulate through your body and fuel the healing process.
If you want to know more about knee replacement surgery, our physicians are happy to answer your questions. Call us at (270) 442-9461.