When it comes to knee surgery, knowing the outcomes, risks and rewards, as well as the lasting effects, are critical. An ACL reconstruction, total knee replacement, meniscus repair, or knee arthroscopy all have different effects, different precautions, and different priorities in their rehab.
There are however, a few general tips that can speed up your recovery after a knee surgery.
What are a few general tips to speed recovery after a knee surgery?Strengthen your quadriceps as much as possible
Your quadriceps are the biggest and most powerful muscle responsible for supporting your knee joint. Believe it or not, your muscles, NOT your ligament, are the biggest supporters of your knee joint. Getting these muscles in top form after (and before) surgery increases the control your knee has, resulting in decreased pressure over the healing area. Other muscles to look at strengthening include your gluteus maximus and medius, calf muscles, and hamstrings.
Keep your swelling under control
We’ve seen our fair share of rehab warriors try to push past what their knee is allowing them and come into the clinic with the knee the size of a balloon. This not only feels unpleasant, but swelling can actually tell your quadriceps muscle to shut off as a protective mechanism. Swelling also decreases the amount of space the knee is able to move limiting your motion after surgery. The more you keep this under control, the better.
Just think RICE.
- Ice - 10 minute on and off
- Compress - ace bandage or compression sleeve
- Elevate - Keep swelling above the heart level
Follow your surgery protocol
Feeling good after surgery? Great. Feel like your knee is finally fixed? Fantastic. The surgeon, however, gave your Physical Therapist a specific guideline for your surgery. Each protocol has different actions or activities you absolutely cannot do for a certain period, even if you are feeling good.
Is physical therapy helpful after knee surgery?
Yes! They can help you find wiggle room to accelerate recovery and help you to know when to dial back. Also, your Physical Therapist can guide you through any new activities that might add more pressure to the knee!