5 Tips For Faster Knee Surgery Recovery
- Maintaining strong and healthy knees is an essential part of going about your everyday activities. One bad fall can prevent you from doing the activities you love and knee surgery may be the only solution to get you back on your feet. The average recovery time from knee surgery is six months, and upward to a year before you can return to sports or more physical activities. The recovery process can be long and daunting, so we’re here to help with tips to speed up your recovery after the most common types of knee surgeries.
Ligament Reconstruction Surgery
Ligament reconstruction surgery is common for ligament tears. The most common case is a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). When you tear your ACL, surgery is normally required because the entire ligament is torn instead of just a partial tear. In a ligament reconstruction, the torn ligament is removed from the knee and a graft (a living piece of tissue) is inserted in its place.
Tips for a Faster Recovery from Ligament Reconstruction
- Exercises – Exercises will help to increase mobility in your knee (bending and extending), regain muscle strength, and improve balance. According to the National Health Services (NHS) in the UK, the type of exercise depends on the amount of time after recovery. Click here for a great guide by the NHS for rehabilitation exercises to improve recovery time for knee surgery to repair your ACL surgery.
- Low impact physical activity – The NHS recommends low impact physical activity such as swimming or cycling 6-12 weeks after your surgery. These types of low impact exercises will allow your body to begin building up strength without putting a large amount of strain on the knee.
You should always consult your doctor or physiotherapist to determine appropriate exercises for your particular needs.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery is normally considered for patients who have severe knee pain because of conditions like osteoarthritis. As simple, everyday tasks become more and more difficult because of damage to the knee, knee replacement surgery may be the only solution. This type of surgery can involve either a full or partial knee replacement with an artificial knee. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, knee replacement surgery is most common for patients who are 50 years old or older.
Tips for a Faster Recovery from Knee Replacement
- Physical therapy – Physical therapy is an essential part of speedier recovery time from knee surgery. Your physical therapist will provide techniques and adaptations that will help you safely perform everyday activities.
- Keeping knee joint straight – It’s important to keep the knee joint as straight as possible immediately after surgery. Sitting in a firm straight-back chair, and ensuring your joint is kept straight while lying in bed can help. You should also avoid kneeling, squatting and excessive use of stairs to help speed up your recovery. Click here for a guide by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) for recovering after having knee replacement surgery.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice on how to recover after surgery since not following your doctor’s advice could significantly slow down your recovery.
Meniscus Repair Surgery
Meniscus repair surgery is used to repair damaged cartilage in the knee that provides shock absorption and stability. Meniscus repair surgery is one of the least invasive types of knee surgery because the meniscus is repaired using stitches or anchors instead of replacing part of the knee. The recovery time following meniscus repair surgery tends to be far shorter compared to other knee surgeries. This type of surgery is often done in combination with a ligament reconstruction or a partial knee replacement.
Tips for Faster Recovery from Meniscus Repair Surgery
- Movement – According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, your doctor will prescribe rehabilitation exercises after an initial healing period to help restore mobility and strength in your knee. Movement is strongly recommended after surgery to help speed up your recovery, but it’s important to avoid excessive movement right after surgery to give yourself enough time to heal. Movement can also help reduce muscular atrophy (when the muscle wastes away) and your chances of getting blood clots.
These tips are helpful suggestions to get you back to nearly full or full range of motion as soon as possible after surgery, so you can return to enjoying the activities you love. Since everyone’s experience will be different, it’s important to consult your doctor with any issues after your surgery to help ensure a full and quick recovery.
- Knee Replacement Surgery Considerations
- Everything you need to know about knee replacement recovery time
- Guide to Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment Options