Whether you've recently had knee replacement surgery or are scheduled to have it in the future, you should know that your post-operative care will be a huge influencing factor when it comes to your recovery. As such, there are some things you need to know about caring for not just your new knee, but the rest of your body following such a surgery.
DO Address Swelling
Swelling is a very common side effect following knee replacement surgery, as the body must adjust to the new artificial knee joint and may thus become easily inflamed during this adjustment period. The best way to reduce swelling in your knee following surgery is to wrap a resealable bag of ice in a towel (to prevent giving yourself frostbite) and applying ice to the affected area until swelling dies down. Circulation can also help reduce swelling, so consider lying down with your knee raised above your heart.
DON'T Remain Sedentary
While your surgeon and/or doctor will likely recommend that you remain pretty much sedentary in the hospital during the first couple days of your recovery, it's important to note that engaging in some very light physical activities once you're discharged can help improve your healing. Low-stress activities, such as swimming and walking, can help your body adjust to the knee more quickly--especially when done as a part of your routine physical therapy.
DO Consult Your Surgeon
If you were a very physically active person before you had your knee replacement surgery done, then you might be itching to get back to your favorite activities such as running, biking, and other sports following your surgery. However, one of the worst things you can do during the recovery stages is to put too much stress on your knee. This can lead to serious inflammation, swelling, pain, and complications. Always talk to your surgeon or physician to get the green light before you begin working more strenuous activities back into your daily life.
DON'T Schedule Dental Work
Finally, many knee surgery patients don't know that they're not supposed to schedule dental work immediately after their procedures. Dental work such as cavity fillings can actually allow harmful bacteria into the bloodstream that can cause a serious infection to develop around your new knee joint. If you need to have any dental work done, speak with your surgeon to determine the risk and any precautionary measures you can take ahead of time.
For more information about your recovery, contact Staten Island Physical Therapy PC or a similar organization.