What You Need To Know About Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacements are becoming more and more popular with our aging population and the high success rates with improved technology and surgical techniques. People may choose to undergo a replacement to help with their pain and function after other noninvasive treatments no longer provide enough relief (physical therapy, bracing, injections). Even after having a new joint placed, research has found that 25% of patients are not satisfied with their progress after one year.
So why isn’t everyone happy with their new knee?
It was found that 40% of people one year after surgery are still lacking quad strength and many have balance deficits causing problems with walking and stair climbing. Rehab after a total knee replacement can be very challenging, but crucial to the success of your recovery.
At the OSI Physical Therapy clinic in Forest Lake, we treat a lot of patients following a total knee replacement. In therapy, we will focus on range of motion, leg strengthening, balance, and functional activities like walking and stair climbing in addition to other goals the patient may have (return to work, golf). Each person is different and recovers at varying rates but I typically see patients in the clinic for 2-3 months. Once patients have met all their goals in therapy, I will discharge them with a finalized home exercise program. The home program consists of 3-5 of those “important” exercises to continue to improve their function. It can take upto a year to achieve adequate quad strength, so even though the patient has completed their program in therapy, continued exercise is essential.
I understand it’s hard to expect someone to keep up with exercises for a year after surgery, but if you are still having pain or limitations after a total knee replacement, weakness is likely a contributing factor. I can’t stress the importance of physical therapy after surgery and continuing with your home program once you are done with formal PT. If you are someone who is not completely satisfied after a knee replacement, check back in with a physical therapist. He or she will be able to determine what those specific limitations are and help you get back to those activities you enjoy!
Thanks for reading!