Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure that can help improve the quality of life for people who suffer from severe knee pain and limited mobility. The recovery process after the surgery requires patience, dedication, and proper care.
One of the most important aspects of post-operative care is how to sit after knee replacement.
Sitting correctly can help prevent complications, reduce swelling, promote healing, and restore function.
In this blog, we will guide you through a step-by-step approach on how to sit after knee replacement surgery, with a focus on gradually improving your sitting posture as you progress through the recovery phases.
Why Prolonged Sitting is Prohibited After Knee Replacement
After knee replacement, sitting for a prolonged period of time can raise the risk of blood clot, particularly in the first two weeks following surgery. Sitting for extended periods of time can also impede the lower leg’s ability to drain fluid, which contributes to edema.
It is advised not to sit for longer than 45 to 60 minutes at a time during the first 7 to 10 days after a knee replacement. If extended sitting is required, elevating the leg on a chair or similar surface can reduce swelling. For more awareness, you must read about common mistakes after knee replacement surgery.
Tips and Strategies on How to Sit After Knee Replacement
As we begin our quest to achieve stable and comfortable sitting in life after knee replacement surgery, let’s examine a few essential tips and practices.
Chair Selection for Knee ComfortChoose a firm chair with a straight back and armrests. Avoid soft couches, recliners, or low chairs that can make it difficult to get up or put too much pressure on your knees.
Elevating Your Operated Leg
Use a pillow or cushion to elevate your operated leg slightly above the level of your heart. This can help reduce swelling and improve blood circulation.
Proper Leg Positioning
Do not cross your legs or ankles, as this can impair blood flow and increase the risk of blood clots.
Healthy Sitting Habits
Try not to sit in the same position for more than 45 to 60 minutes at a time. Change your position frequently and move your ankles and toes every 15 minutes. This can help prevent stiffness and promote joint movement. To get more help watch this video: Avoid doing this when sitting down after a knee replacement.
Optimal Range of Motion
Keep your feet and knees pointed straight ahead, not turned in or out. Your knees should be either stretched out or bent in the way your therapist instructed. Do not bend your knee more than 90 degrees unless your surgeon or therapist allows it.Must read the foot problems after knee replacement before you proceed.
Effective Use of Assistive Devices
Use a walker, cane, crutches, or other assistive devices to help you get in and out of the chair. Follow the instructions given by your surgeon or therapist on how to use them safely and correctly. Do not put too much weight on your operated leg until you are cleared by your surgeon or therapist.
Getting In and Out of Your Chair Carefully
When getting in or out of the chair, use the armrests for support and keep your operated leg slightly forward. Slide to the edge of the seat and lean forward slightly. Push yourself up with your arms and non-operated leg. Do not pull yourself up with your operated leg or twist your body.
Getting Across the Stairs with Confidence
If you have stairs in your home, you will need to be able to navigate them safely. Your surgeon or therapist will teach you how to use the stairs with your assistive devices. The general rule is: up with the good (non-operated leg), down with the bad (operated leg). Always use the handrail for support and take one step at a time.
Best Sitting Position in the First Days After Knee Replacement Surgery
The first days after knee replacement surgery are crucial for a successful recovery. For the majority of patients, the 12-week schedule will set them on the path to recovery. Here’s a quick guide:
Phase One: The First 48 Hours (Post-Operation)
In the initial 48 hours of knee surgery, the primary focus is on comfort as the top priority. During this time:
- Suggested sitting positions include reclining in a chair with the leg elevated.
- A pillow behind the knee may inhibit extension but is generally acceptable.
- Rest, relaxation, and movement with a physical therapist are crucial.
Phase Two: Days 3 to 14 After Surgery
Transitioning to Phase Two, from days three to 14 days post-surgery:
- Shift towards improving the range of motion.
- Discourage sitting for more than two hours continuously.
- Ideal sitting position involves elevating the leg above heart level to reduce swelling.
- If the leg is down, choose a comfortable floor rest to avoid suspending it mid-air.
- Adjustable leg rest chairs or cushions can be beneficial.
- While working on range of motion, support the ankle and heel, avoiding support behind the knee.
- For rest and recovery, supporting the full length of the leg is recommended.
Phase Three: 2 to 6 Weeks After Surgery
As you progress to Phase Three, spanning from two to six weeks after your surgery:
- During this period, the choice of sitting position becomes more flexible.
- Continue to focus on improving range of motion.
- Avoid sitting for extended periods, especially over two hours, to prevent increased swelling and stiffness.
- Encourage regular breaks from sitting to promote movement.
Extending the Life of Your Knee Implant
To sum it up, achieving the right sitting posture after knee replacement surgery is a fundamental aspect of your recovery journey. Proper guidance from a surgeon is valuable in helping you navigate the process. For personalized guidance and expert care, reach out to Hip and Knee Orthopedics. Your comfort and well-being are our top priorities as you regain mobility and quality of life.