Working at the “Edge of Comfort” to Reduce Swelling after Knee Replacement
Immediately following knee replacement, pain and swelling make regaining range of motion a challenge. The swelling inhibits movement as the knee area is bulkier, tender and just not as mobile as it would be without the swelling. And as time goes by the fluid surrounding your knee can create scar tissue, which may permanently impede flexibility if left untreated. Our immediate objective with physical therapy is to reduce swelling after knee replacement while we reconnect the brain to leg muscles, get those muscles “firing”, and get range of motion back again.
But what is in the fluid in the knee?
Dr. Michael Moon describes the components of the fluid in his description of swelling in the video below. Essentially the damaged blood vessels call out for help from the body which sends a variety of different types of cells to the area. This is the natural reaction of the body to repair damaged tissue. Sounds great, right? Well with a knee replacement this natural process gets in the way of the kind of recovery that we actually want to see. Remember we have a new joint now in place of your original equipment. We want the body to rebuild around that new joint without impeding its function. So the fluid in the knee must be kept at a minimum to let you get ahead of the process; getting you to normal range of motion before the body’s repair team gets in the way.
Inflammatory cells, fibrocytes, lymphocytes, macrophages make up the fluid in the knee that we actually want to minimize. We don’t want the body to do this reparation work until we can get proper range of motion. As you do your homework in preparation for a knee replacement surgery learn as much as you can about swelling and the dangers of scar tissue formation (fibrosis). You are in a race against time after knee replacement to avoid complications cause by the body’s creation of new inelastic tissue in place of the elastic tissue that was there previously.
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Reduce Swelling after Knee Replacement
The X10 Knee Rehabilitation Machine was designed to work with your body to gently move your leg back and forth in order to pump out the fluids that cause swelling. The fluids are pumped out by the gentle squeezing movement of the machine with goes right to the edge of your comfort zone. The fluids are returned to your body’s core – back to the lymphatic system.
The X10’s unique slowdown features and adjustable dwell time increase the amount of therapy time focused on the edges of your current range of motion, leading to more significant, rapid progress.
The X10 Meta-Blog
We call it a “Meta-Blog” because we step back and give you a broad perspective on all aspects of knee health, surgery and recovery.
In this one-of-a-kind blog we gather together great thinkers, doers, writers related to Knee Surgery, Recovery, Preparation, Care, Success and Failure. Meet physical therapists, coaches, surgeons, patients, and as many smart people as we can gather to create useful articles for you. Whether you have a surgery upcoming, in the rear-view mirror, or just want to take care of your knees to avoid surgery, you should find some value here.