So you just had a knee replacement….
Congratulations on your new knee. I am sure you are in more pain than you have anticipated. You have completed your home health physical therapy and are ready for outpatient physical therapy.
Getting a knee replacement surgery can be a painful experience, but we can help you get through it. It is normal for your new knee to feel stiff, swollen, numb, and painful after a knee replacement. These are all normal sensations because you just had a prosthesis implanted into your bones. Swelling will be normal for several months because an inflammatory response is occurring at your site of surgery. The inflammatory cells that will assist with the healing will include macrophages, neutrophils, and monocytes. This increase in swelling will therefore cause stiffness within the joint making it more painful and difficulty to flex or extend the knee.
Physical therapy after a knee replacement is crucial in order to restore range of motion, decrease swelling, and improve strength. Your physical therapist will perform a thorough assessment of your knee and determine an individualized treatment plan. Treatment may include soft tissue massage to help decrease swelling, joint mobilizations, stretches, resistance exercises, and cryotherapy (cold) or heat therapy. Physical therapy can be initially painful for your first few visits due to having to restore your range of motion; therefore, we would recommend for you to take your prescribed pain medication 45-60 minutes prior to your appointment. Restoring your range of motion will be very important. If your knee is more flexible you will be able to perform your daily activities with increase ease and return to a normal walking pattern with less pain. We will gradually be progressing your ability to walk without an assistive device while addressing balance impairments at the same time.
Your physical therapy visits will include a gradual progression of what we do in order to get you back to your individualized goals. We want you to be happy with your new knee and have no limitations in what you do. We have had patients return to the activities they love such as golfing, hiking, and playing tennis without limitations.
-Dr. Lilly Koh, PT, DPT, CSCS