Knee replacement is considered among the best treatment plans for osteoarthritis of the knee joint. Most patients report successful outcomes after surgery, but there are some who have less than satisfactory results. You risk adverse effects or worse still, infection, if you do not take proper care of your operated knee after a knee replacement surgery.
Proper home care and commitment to the post-surgery rehabilitation is just as important as the surgery in order to have a successful outcome. That is why at Hip & Knee Orthopaedics, we have a strict post-op protocol after a knee replacement surgery.
Let’s discuss the top 5 mistakes after knee replacement that you should avoid
5 Common Post-Surgery Mistakes
Your postoperative behaviour directly impacts how your new joint heals. This is the most critical period that determines how rapid and smooth the recovery process would be. Here are the top 5 mistakes after knee replacement that one must not make in order to have a successful knee surgery:
Not Taking Proper Medication
The purpose of post-surgery medication is to reduce pain, inflammation and most importantly, the risk of infection. You will need to take oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications for the first week after a knee replacement surgery. Oral antibiotics are important as it helps to prevent surgical site infection, which can be catastrophic in the setting of a prosthetic joint implant surgery. The reason for this is that should bacterial biofilm form on the prosthesis, it can be impossible to eradicate clinical infection without removal of the prosthesis.
Inflammation around the knee joint due to the surgery can result in stiffness and thus leading to suboptimal results in rehabilitation. If inflammation is severe, the patient would also experience significant pain and discomfort which can make it difficult to rest and sleep well. This would also affect your rehabilitation efforts the next day.
Once severe pain sets in, it can become very difficult to have good pain control thereafter. Pain management is more effective when regular doses of painkillers are taken, especially for the first week after surgery. By the time pain hits a high level, pain control becomes much more challenging. Thus you might get caught up in a chronic cycle of trying to control the pain but always falling behind the curve, compromising the rehabilitation goals and progress.
Sedentary Lifestyle __ Not Following Prescribed Exercise
Some people have the misconception that they should not walk after a knee replacement out of fear of damaging the knee implants or causing injuries. The fact is that your knee replacement will be more successful if you stretch and move the knee more as soon as possible after the knee replacement surgery! The new implant needs to be “run in” and movement prevents the setting in of excessive scar tissue, which when set in, can become impossible to reverse.
Doing Too Much Activity Too Soon
Doing too much too soon can be a problem, particularly for physically active individuals who are anxious to resume their activities immediately. It would help if you preferred to move during rehabilitation, but that movement should not be extreme. Excessive exercises can lead to persistent swelling which can limit knee mobility. A swollen knee might not allow you to continue your physical therapy for the next few days. A good rule to follow is that swelling should subside within a day after exercising. You would be advised to follow the exercise plan prescribed by the doctors or the trusted therapists.
Improper nutrition and inadequate hydration after surgery
Improper diet and nutrition is one of the top 5 mistakes after knee replacement that affects recovery. Adequate hydration is very important after a knee replacement surgery. This ensures that the anesthetic medications are flushed out after surgery and maintains blood pressure within a good range, which helps to reduce risk of complications.
Food rich in protein helps with wound healing and recovery. A diet rich in antioxidants also helps to abate the pro-inflammatory processes after surgery. Thus go for a diet rich in vegetables and fruits like berries.
Avoid a sugar-rich diet as this predisposes to inflammation which can affect wound healing.
Avoid excessive alcohol as this can affect the antibiotics and medications after surgery.
Skipping Physical Therapy And Pain Management Techniques
Critical to a fast recovery is being compliant to the recommended physical therapy regime. It is important for the supporting muscles around the new joint to resume their strength after surgery in order for the joint to feel right. Whether doing your exercises at home or with a physical therapist, you must follow the recommended timeline and perform the exercises diligently. It is normal for the knee joint to feel a little sore after physical therapy. You can manage these discomfort with ice, elevation and pain medications. There is no need to fear addiction to pain medications as long you follow the pain management regime prescribed by your doctor.
Are You Looking Out For Help?
Do follow your doctor’s post-op instructions. Singapore Knee Surgeon is committed to help you throughout your recovery journey, from surgery to complete rehabilitation. Knee replacement surgery Singapore provides you with personalized and effective treatment options, with the aim of getting you back towards your life with a painless functional knee. Contact us now!