What Can You Do To Speed Recovery After A Total Knee Replacement?

If you've recently scheduled a total knee replacement surgery, you may be feeling some anxiety about the recovery process even as you're looking forward to a more active lifestyle, free from the pain and stiffness that has been plaguing you for years. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take in conjunction with working with a physical therapist from a place like Advanced Physical Therapy that can go a long way toward maximizing the value of the therapy you receive. Read on to learn more about what you can do to speed your recovery after a total knee replacement and ensure your risk of complications is minimal.

What will be the goals of your physical therapy after a total knee replacement?

Although science has come a long way when it comes to joint replacements, it's still hard for an artificial knee to function in exactly the same way you may be used to. Much of physical therapy is just performing basic exercises that can help you learn to use your new knee and allow you to gradually increase the amount of pressure you place on the joint until you're eventually able to walk, jog, and climb stairs normally.

Most knee replacements also come after years or even decades of knee pain and stiffness. Over time, your body likely began to compensate for your "bad" knee by putting extra weight in places not necessarily meant to support it, like your "good" knee, the outside of your foot, or your lower back. Physical therapy can help retrain your body and regain equilibrium, reversing years of bad habits and ensuring your new joint will be subject to the right amount of wear and tear over the years.

What can you do at home to help your progress? 

Because many of the physical therapy exercises you'll be doing are so basic and don't require much equipment, you may be able to perform these at home, on your own time, in between therapy appointments. Be sure to check with your physical therapist first to ensure you won't be overdoing it by adding some extra sessions at home.

In addition to the stretches and exercises you can do, it's also important to follow your doctor's aftercare instructions to the letter and to contact his or her office with any questions or concerns. Waiting until a small problem has become a much larger one can complicate recovery and affect the way your artificial knee performs and functions for years to come. Sticking to a good diet (or at least balancing out carb- and fat-heavy meals with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and milk to provide you with vitamins and minerals) can also improve the way your body heals.