Do you know someone who has had a total knee or total hip replacement? Often times these individuals will be very excited to share the success they have had from their surgery in reducing their long-standing pain. However, what most people conveniently forget is the initial discomfort and pain they had rehabilitating their new joint immediately after surgery.
Many of our patients discuss their current (mid-rehab) condition with those that have gone before them and feel like they should be progressing faster than their current status. A total knee replacement is a major surgery where the surgeon cuts through bone and soft tissue, and then inserts a new prosthetic joint. This trauma alone can take 6 to 8 weeks to heal, and causes pain, swelling, soreness, stiffness, and weakness. Swelling alone can cause significant pain and stiffness in a joint until it begins to diminish.
It is critical to be patient and focus on the small improvements that you'll see day-to-day during the rehabilitation phase of your recovery. Most people notice slight reductions in swelling, slight improvements in their range of motion or ability to perform various functional activities such as transferring from a chair, squatting to the toilet, or dressing.
It is important to communicate to your physical therapist whether you're seeing the slight imporvements or if things are worseing. This helps give him or her clues as to how to best progress you with your rehab program.
Remember, the new "bionic part" that was inserted requires you to adapt and adjust to it as it heals!
Call us if you have any questions about total joint replacements and post-operative rehab: 616-662-0990.
By: Steve Bartz, PT
Steve Bartz, PT