Since the knee is one of the most frequently used joints, the recovery time after a knee
injury can be long and painful and seriously impact your daily life. If you or someone you know has been through knee surgery, don’t miss these quick recovery tips and best practices
1. Be prepared
After getting discharged from the hospital, small lifestyle changes can be helpful. Your bed should not be too low or too high off the ground, it should have pillows for elevation for the affected leg, and ideally, should be close to the bathroom. If the bathroom is not close, consider getting a portable bedside urinal or commode.
Medication should be neatly organized and easy to access (i.e. on your nightstand or bathroom counter). Make sure ice packs, toiletries, and bandages are available at all times. Also, choose comfy sleepwear and have an additional pair at hand. Having easy access to a phone can be a godsend in case of emergency too.
2. Medications and Wound Care
Taking prescribed medicine is important and so is taking care of the incision. You might consider investing in a daily medication dispenser or pill organizer. Not taking your pain medication as prescribed can cause inflammation and serious discomfort, slowing down your recovery.
Keep an eye on your surgical wound for any inflammation or swelling. Establish a routine for cleaning the wound and changing the bandage (if needed) at the same time as taking your medicine. If the incision was closed with glue or bond, you might be able to take a shower but be careful in case of stitches or staples. It can take up ten days for stitches/staples to be removed, and the nursing staff will give you specific instructions for taking care of the wound and taking a shower.
3. Knee Braces
Knee braces can be a great help. In addition to the fact that a knee brace allows one to stay mobile even after an injury, it can be helpful in other conditions also such osteoarthritis. While walkers on crutches might be needed for the first few days after surgery, knee braces can help improve movement in the coming days. They are also useful when exercising or running after recovery. Moreover, they can prevent getting injured again by protecting against any unnatural stress on your knee joint.
Doing gentle, easy exercises during and after recovery can help your knee regain full range of motion back and prevent any blood circulation issues while strengthening your muscles. Your physical therapist will help you with your exercise routine and offer tips for safely performing other routine activities such as sitting at the bedside, getting in and out of bed safely, beginning to walk, climbing up the stairs and so on.
5. Deep Breathing
After surgery, you might be sleepy from medication and anesthesia, which can cause shallow breathing. Deep breathing can help rid your airway and lung passage of any mucus. Your nursing staff might give you a spirometer to measure the air inspired and expired by your lungs.