A TOTAL knee replacement?! Do I (K)NEED one??
What is a Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgery?
A total knee replacement surgery, otherwise known as a knee arthroplasty is an orthopaedic surgical procedure where an artificial joint prosthesis, which is usually made of metal alloys or high-grade plastic polymers, is inserted in the knee to replace damaged cartilage and bone.
Why do I need a TKR surgery?
Typically, a TKR surgery is done to alleviate severe pain associated with knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, caused by wear of the structures in the knee, such as cartilage and bone. As the disease progresses, eventually, the cartilage between the bone wears down completely, causing bone on bone contact. Pain may arise from the structural changes and inflammatory responses of the body, causing major discomfort in individuals. Hence, a TKR surgery done with the goals of decreasing levels of pain and increasing the function of the knee. Ultimately, these goals translate to an improved quality of life in individuals with late-stage osteoarthritis.
What is the expected recovery after a TKR surgery?
Like any other surgery, the expected recovery time after a TKR surgery is highly individualised.
It is dependent on various factors such as:
- Pre-existing health conditions
- Smoking habits
- Pre-operative levels of function
Most patients can walk comfortably 6-8 weeks after surgery. However, full complete recovery may take about 4-12 months from the surgery.
After your surgery, you can expect to be in the hospital for 1-5 days, depending on your progress. There will be stiffness , weakness and swelling around your knee joint. The hospital team will monitor your blood circulation and the swelling in your leg. You will be provided with compression stockings and taught some simple exercises to maintain your blood circulation. When appropriate, you will be taught to walk safely with an aid such as a walking frame and transfer from the bed and chair safely.
Before you are discharged, you should be able to:
- Achieve a minimum 90˚ of active knee bending
- Straighten your knee fully
- Walk well with suitable aid
- Perform bed and chair transfer safely
This will ensure that adequate function is achieved for your activities of daily living.
Once you return home, your rehabilitation journey continues on! Through Physiotherapy, you will be taught how to activate your muscles again, to encourage your muscles to ‘wake up’. There are various milestones to meet throughout your journey to ensure you have good range and strength in your knee to prevent future injuries or complications. On top of that, it is important for you to have good balance and walking patterns too and these can be addressed through various exercises prescribed by the Physiotherapist. It is important for you to be diligent with your home exercise program throughout the rehabilitation journey. Typically, the exercises should be done 2-3 times a week for a minimum of 3 months post-operation.
What are some exercises that need to be done after TKR?
A personalised exercise program will be designed by your Physiotherapist. To ensure the exercises are adequate, and done safely, your Physiotherapist will guide you through the program. Regular assessments will be conducted by the Physiotherapist along the way, and exercises will be adjusted accordingly, to tailor to your needs and abilities.
Some initial exercises you can expect after a TKR surgery include:
Book now or give us a call to schedule an appointment to see our Physiotherapist who will be able to partner you to recovery as we address your knee pain!
DISCLAIMER: These exercises should not replace the need for a consultation with a Physiotherapist especially if your condition doesn’t improve with these exercises. Your Physiotherapist will choose exercises that suit your specific needs.
Filed under: Knee