After going through a total knee replacement surgery, there are certain precautions which you must take in order to avoid any post-surgery complications or damage and dislocation of your replaced knee.
Since total knee replacement is an invasive procedure, you will have staples or sutures on your wound. You must never try to cut these sutures at home. These sutures will only be removed by a practiced clinician after two weeks of the surgery. The wound can get worse if the sutures are cut by yourself. Do not soak the wound in water, it should be properly dried and sealed. However, you can keep bandaging your wound to keep it clean and dry.
Prevention of Blood Clot
There are chances of blood clot formation during the first few weeks of recovery. Therefore, your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe certain anticoagulants like aspirin and warfarin to prevent the clot formation. You must complete the anticoagulant therapy as recommended by your doctor. Also, you must stay vigilant regarding any sign of blood clot formation in your treated leg. These signs include:
- Excessive pain in the calf.
- Redness, irritation and tenderness below or above the treated knee.
- Increased edema i.e. swelling in your ankle, calf or foot.
If you encounter from any of these signs, contact your doctor on an immediate basis to get a timely treatment.
Right after your knee replacement surgery, your replaced joint may not be able to bear your total body weight. Your surgeon will guide you regarding how much weight you can easily put on your knee which won’t cause any damage, injury or dislocation of your joint. As your replaced knee joint gains strength with time, you will be able to put your complete body weight on it without suffering from any harm. However, during the initial weeks, it’s advisable to use a cane or crutches for a support to walk around.
Other instructions regarding proper body posture and physical activity include:
- Do not twist or cross your legs.
- Sit in chairs which have seats as high as your treated knee.
- Do not keep standing for extended periods of time.
- Do not keep sitting for more than one hour at a time.
- Do not sleep on the body side which had the surgery.
- Climb one stair at a time.
Use a Walker or Cane
A walker or cane ensures a person not to fall or damage the new knee. Walkers and canes signals the strangers to be cautious and give him/her more space. Strangers in public areas are generally less likely to bump, jostle or startle a person using a cane or walker. Most knee replacement patients decrease the usage of canes and walkers over time.
Treat the Pain
Some patients are tempted to “tough it out” because they do not want to take pain medications, either because of potential side effects or fear of addiction. However, uncontrolled pain can make it difficult to participate in rehabilitation exercises and can even lead to chronic pain. Knee replacement patients are advised to talk to the doctors and know about post-surgical pain as well as concerns regarding medications. With the help of doctor, you can come up with a pain management plan that works for you, making adjustments as needed.
Treat the Swelling
Knee swelling is not only uncomfortable; it can make it range-of-motion exercises difficult or impossible. These range-of-motion exercises are important to recover and rehabilitate. Patients can treat the swelling by applying cold packs and elevating the affected leg for 20 to 30 minute intervals or as directed by the healthcare provider. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which used for pain control also reduces inflammation.
In the first couple of weeks of knee replacement surgery, many people prone to falls. People can maximize rest time and reduce the chance of falls by planning ahead. For e.g., plan the day to minimize the number of trips up and down stairs or in and out of a car.
About Dr Chirag Patel
Dr Chirag Patel is one of the best knee replacement surgeon in Surat, Gujarat providing Total Hip Replacement and Total Knee Replacement at Kiran Multi Super Speciality Hospital & Research Center, Nr Sumul Dairy, Surat – 395004, firstname.lastname@example.org, +91 75 74 88 77 77.
Hospital Timings:Monday – Friday : 10:00 AM – 08:00 PM ( by appointments only)
Saturday : 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM ( by appointments only)