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Patient journey after a knee replacement - what to expect with physio

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Having a knee replacement can be daunting and scary but the procedure is one of the most commonly performed orthopaedic surgeries around the world. Knee replacements (arthroplasty) replaces damaged areas of the knee which are the cause of pain and inhibited function.

The surgery normally takes 1-2 hours with a 3-4 day stay in hospital post-surgery. This can, however, vary depending on the individual.

Following a knee arthroplasty it is crucial that you get up and start walking. Whilst in the hospital, Physiotherapists will come and see you daily to ensure you get back on your feet as soon as possible. It is likely you will start off by using a zimmer frame before progressing onto elbow crutches.

Once the Physiotherapists and multidisciplinary team at your hospital are happy, you will be discharged home. Following your discharge Physiotherapy should continue straight away in order for you to continue progressing. Here at Physiolistic we pride ourselves on delivering optimum “Gold” standard care. All our therapists are experienced in managing a wide variety of orthopaedic conditions and can individually tailor rehab to every patient.

Initially, our focus will be to:

1) Settle pain and swelling
2) Improve range of movement
3) Start to strengthen the muscles which surround your knee

Ask our physios about managing pain and swelling with Physiolab: a combination of ice and compression therapy

We have access to pieces of equipment which can help reduce pain, swelling and aid in improving muscle strength. An effective way of managing the swelling is with a Physiolab machine. A Physiolab machine uses ice, water and pressure to help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms of pain. Many of our patients have opted to take a Physiolab machine with them into hospital in order to optimise post op recovery. They have found both the swelling and pain was much improved with help from the machine and even reduced their need to take pain medication. This in-turn allowed the patients to start walking with greater ease. Once discharged from hospital we normally suggest visiting the clinic 3-7 days after getting home. Your initial appointment will involve the physiotherapist taking a detailed history and performing and in-depth assessment of your knee. A care plan will then be written to help you understand the rehab pathway you will take, alongside an individualised exercise program. Each week this care plan will be referred to and updated, with new exercises and goals. Patients also have the option of using a Compex machine which uses electrical stimulation directed into the muscles, helping improve strength. Using the Physiolab and Compex machine alongside one another has helped our patients achieve their goals far quicker. The Compex machine is used alongside an exercise program, targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus muscles. All of which are vital in day to day life and if not strengthened will hinder progress. Over the course of the rehab, patients will see muscle strength return, greater knee range of movement and ultimately greater functional capabilities. It is our role at Physiolistic to ensure patients stay motivated and are guided through their rehab safely and effectively in order to achieve their goals. Matt Cox

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