Immediately after surgery there may be mild discomfort due to the operation itself. Pain medication is given to lessen any pain. However, the pain rapidly subsides and the person notices that they no longer suffer from the longstanding pain of arthritis they have endured for so many years
The healing phase will last approximately three months. During this time the mobility of the knee increases, the discomfort lessens, and ultimately the knee becomes pain free.
The new joint will again be smooth and glide easily. However, even though the newer knee may feel normal, it is not as durable as that provided by nature and so should not be abused.
Precautions And Suggestions For The First 12 Weeks Following Surgery.
- Use a chair with arms, to assist in rising from a sit to stand position.
- Avoid sitting for periods of time longer than one hour without getting up and walking for a brief duration. If sitting for an extended period of time is unavoidable, elevate the foot to avoid excessive swelling of the lower extremity.
- Remember: If the new knee was an uncemented type, weight bearing may need to be restricted to toe-touch only for the first six weeks.
- Lifting should be restricted to loads of up to ten pounds only.
- Showering is recommended over bathing.
- Do the exercises that were recommended initially after discharge from the hospital.
- Formal supervision from a physical therapist is recommended to ensure all exercises are done properly.
- The first step in getting into a car should be just to simply sit at the edge of the seat, followed by pulling in the legs and then pivoting to face forward.
- Driving is usually not recommended until after the first six weeks. In some cases, and under the recommendation of the surgeon, some patients may be able to return to driving a car sooner if it is equipped with an automatic transmission. and if good leg muscle control is present.