rehabilitation after knee replacement

Rehabilitation After Knee Replacement Surgery

Osteoarthritis is one of the main causes of knee replacement surgery. This progressive degenerative musculoskeletal disorder is due to loss of cartilage in joints causing friction in the bones, leading to acute pain and stiffness. Obesity, occupational injury, lack of exercise, bone density, trauma etc are some of the causes of this illness.

Osteoarthritis is the second prevalent rheumatological disorder in India with an occurrence of 2-39%. In the most severe cases, knee replacement surgery is advised. Partial, total or arthroscopic knee surgery is recommended to the patient depending on his symptoms and condition. Expert hospitals and rheumatology clinics offer world-class treatment and quick recovery for total knee replacement surgery in India.

Arthroscopic knee surgery

Knee Arthroscopy or Arthroscopic knee surgery  is a surgical procedure used to diagnose and correct problems in the knee joint. In this treatment,  a small incision is made in the knee and a  camera is inserted. Seeing the insides of the joint, the surgeon mends the knee using his instruments.

Arthroscopic knee surgery is used to diagnose and treat

  • knee fracture
  • torn meniscus or joint cartilage
  • torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
  • loose pieces of torn cartilage present in the joint
  • dislocated patella
  • swollen synovium or knee lining
  • Removal of Baker's cyst

During knee arthroscopy, an anaesthetic is administered to the patient and if it is partial, the patient can even view the procedure on the monitor. Saline is pumped to expand the knee and the surgeon now makes the incision and inserts the camera or the arthroscope. Viewing the images on the monitor, he corrects the knee problem, drains the saline and stitches up the patient.

The entire procedure is completed in less than an hour and the patient experiences mild pain and swelling for just 2 days. Rehabilitation after arthroscopic knee surgery is quick with the patient requiring only a week to resume his operations.

Total knee replacement surgery in India

India has 1.2 billion people with knee and hip arthritis problems. Nearly 70,000 joint replacement surgeries were performed in India in 2011. 90% of the people who underwent total knee replacement surgery in India  have recovered well and even resume walking or jogging.

Total knee replacement is suggested for patients whose knees are damaged by progressive arthritis, injuries or trauma and find it painful to perform their daily routine.

Here the diseased knee is replaced with artificial components called prosthesis and takes roughly 1-3 hours. Knee replacement recovery is quicker if the surgery is followed by physiotherapy and knee-strengthening exercises.

Knee replacement rehabilitation timeline

Rehabilitation after knee replacement surgery begins immediately after the patient wakes up from surgery.

Day 1

Within the first 24 hours, the patient is taught to stand or walk using an assisted device like crutches, cane or walker. A physiotherapist teaches him/her to perform knee strengthening exercises while a nurse helps you with daily hygiene activities. A continuous Passive motion or CPM machine is also installed to keep your knee in motion and prevent the formation of scar tissue and stiffness.

Day 2

Walking for brief periods using the assisted device, using the regular toilet instead of a bedpan and  using CPM  are the tasks of the day

Day 3 to discharge

  • Getting in and out of bed without assistance
  • Walking at least 25 m or climbing stairs with walker or crutches
  • Bending knee to 90˚ to perform sit-stand transfers
  • Dressing and bathing on one's own
  • Rely minimum on the assisted device.
  • Able to perform exercise regularly.

Week 4-6

  • Weaning off the assisted device
  • Go for longer walks
  • Perform daily duties as before
  • Reduced pain, swelling and inflammation.

Knee replacement recovery is swift if you consult the right hospital and opt for prompt treatment.