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  • Matthew Kelling

This is what you need to know BEFORE knee replacement surgery!


Getting a knee replacement can be scary and intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. With some knowledge and a little bit of preparation you can be confident and prepared to get back to doing what you love! With a brand new knee 😉


Take some time to read through the information below, or share it with a friend, as you begin your knee replacement journey and strive for the best results possible.  


Four things you should know BEFORE having a knee replacement:


First and foremost, PICK A GOOD DOCTOR!  This is the most critical part about having a successful knee replacement.  I attached a link from health grades for you to search online to find that best person.  If you are local to Mount Vernon, Ohio, email us at SportProUSA@gmail.com and we will be happy to share our preferred surgeons list with you.  If you are not local to the area you can follow this link to help select a good surgeon near you:  https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/knee-replacement/finding-the-right-doctor-for-knee-replacement


The next thing you should really be focused on is to PREHAB YOUR KNEE! The better your knee is going into surgery, the better it will be coming out.  I know pain is the primary reason you are having surgery but flexibility and function of your knee is essential before going into the surgery.  In short, you need to be bending well, straightening well, and the muscles of your thigh and calf need to be functioning well going into the joint replacement.  If you have them functioning as well as possible prior to the joint replacement, you are going to be functioning better after the joint replacement with a faster rehab time.  

Knowing what to do in order to gain this flexibility and function can be challenging so we have created a program that can assist you in this process. You can click this link for our knee replacement prehab program designed by the physical therapists at SportPRO Physical Therapy,  https://www.sportprousa.com/knee-replacement-prehab


Third, SELECT YOUR REHAB PRIOR TO SURGERY.  The next most important piece of the knee replacement process after a great surgery is great therapy.  The knee replacement is very dependent on good physical therapy in order to ensure regaining of function and getting back to what you love as quickly as possible.    One sign of a good physical therapy clinic is that they provide one on one care as opposed to the clinics who work with two or three patients at a time. Working with more than one patient will maximize productivity but in doing so quality is often lost.  Next, try to find a physical therapy clinic that is exercise based rather than simply focused on pain management.  One way to know if it is more pain management based is that they will provide lots of modalities like ultrasound, electric stimulation, and ice packs.  With a knee replacement you need a facility that is focused on exercise because you need your knee to function not to just be pain free.  In three months post-surgery, your pain will have largely subsided regardless of how many modalities you have received and if you focused on function over pain management then you will have a good functioning knee AND the pain will be greatly diminished.  If all you did for three months post surgery is try to mitigate pain symptoms, then your results will likely be less than ideal because you will have a stiff and weak knee.  You are going to get out of the process what you put into it but in the end the extra focus on function will prove to be beneficial long term.  Due to the need for a focus on function you may need to avoid some of the chiropractic based physical therapy clinics that focus heavily on modalities which in this scenario is not ideal. 

One way we have found to find a good therapist is to start by asking your friend groups who they went to for their physical therapy to find a word of mouth referral. A word of mouth referral typically will lead to a positive experience. If a referral is not available, search google and see which physical therapy clinics have received the best reviews. 


Finally, PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR BEING ACCESSIBLE.  In the first two weeks following a knee replacement it is very difficult to get around, especially when it comes to climbing stairs.  This makes it essential to have an accessible bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen all on the first floor of your home.  Does this mean you have to put on an addition to accommodate your knee replacement? NO!  You simply need some temporary home modifications.  

If you do not have a bedroom on the first floor of your home, then you need to consider renting a hospital bed for at least one month in order to have an accessible place to sleep.  If you do not have a bathroom on the first floor of your home, then consider renting a bedside commode that will serve as your temporary bathroom while you recover.  Also, if you have a first floor bathroom, be sure to consider how accessible it is after your knee replacement.  You will very likely need assistance from your arms to sit and stand from the commode.  This can be achieved by installing grab bars or a commode riser.  Also, plan in advance what you will eat during the first two weeks after surgery.  Is there someone on site who will prepare your meals or will you utilize an outside service like Meals on Wheels? No matter what you choose, make sure you are adequately prepared to eat and fuel your body during your recovery!


Next, we will consider what you should know AFTER having a knee replacement.


Thanks for reading!

-Matt

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