What You Need to Know Before Knee Replacement Surgery
– written by Yvonne LaCrosse PTA
There are many things you can do prior to surgery to help yourself be as prepared as possible and therefore help to make your recovery process as easy as possible. I have for you here and now what you need to know before knee replacement surgery, broken up into three parts.
Part 1 Prepare Your Body
Part 2 Prepare Your Home
Part 3 Make a Plan
To subscribe to our exclusive free Knee Surgery Preparation Email Series click here: Pre-hab Pre Surgery email series
Prepare Your Body
- Get Strong! Strengthen your muscles as much as possible. Join a gym, hire a personal trainer, or even ask your surgeon for a Physical Therapy prescription for your knee pain.
- Stretch tight muscles. You will want to have good range of motion prior to surgery by stretching shortened, tight muscles to allow better movement. Here is a stretching and strength video series for you (Stretching and Strength with Physical Therapist Nora Cascardo)
- Lose Weight: If you are carrying even 5 extra pounds, try to lose weight. For every 5 pounds extra that you carry, it is an extra 20 pounds of pressure on your knees. (Read this: Losing Weight After knee Replacement by Mary Elliott)
- Start an anti-inflammatory diet. Arthritis causes an inflammatory response to your body, as well as you will have inflammation following surgery; take time to research foods that help reduce inflammation. (Read this: Foods to Avoid Inflammation by Tricia Lahmann)
Prepare Your Home
- Roll up the throw rugs! Throw rugs are notorious for tripping people after they have surgery. Roll them up and put them away until you are walking normally.
- If you have pets, you may want to make arrangements. I have had many patients who have been injured from their pets; You may want to have the pets confined when you first get home and for that first week of recovery.
- Secure cords and keep floors clear, minimize all trip hazards.
- Move furniture to allow space for you to move through your home with a walker.
- Consider having grab bars installed in your bathroom- near the toilet and in the shower.
- Consider getting a toilet riser with arms
- Consider getting a shower bench for safety
Your Shopping List Before Surgery
Everything you need in one list
Walker – Just right for walking around fully supported during your recovery period. In this case the walker is light, tough and has all four wheels. No need to put those tennis balls on the end as with so many traditional walkers.
Grab Bars for the Bathroom – You will probably want to install two to help you get on and off the toilet, and in and out of the shower.
Shower Chair – This will help you sit in the shower as your leg strength will be compromised for a while. Imagine you are sitting under a warm waterfall… enough said.
Elevated Toilet Seat – On and off the toilet – much easier. Great handlebars provided to keep you stable. Since when has using the toilet been this much fun!
Sock Aid – Socks are a breeze – good for the first week or so when bending is more of a challenge.
Extended Long Shoehorn – You may already have this one if your knees were bone-on-bone before surgery. Flip flops, slippers no more – back to shoes!
Grabber – This will help you reach things that are up high or are on the floor. Good for grandchildren too!
I have a 10 minute video for you below. So if you like, like get a pen and paper and a cup of coffee and watch it. I cover all of the key points contained in this email in the video.
Make a Plan
- Consider where you will sleep- many people are more comfortable sleeping in a recliner chair their first few days to a week, and an area on the first floor of the home. (we go into great detail on getting a good night sleep in our Pre-hab, Pre-Surgery email series)
- Do you have a first-floor bathroom? If you do not, and will have to negotiate stairs, you may want to consider a few things: for safety, you should have at least one handrail. A cane would be helpful in one hand and the other hand on the rail. Having two walkers can be very helpful; one left at the bottom of the stairs and one at the top of the stairs.
- What is the easiest way to enter your home? Think about which door into your home has the least number of steps. That will be the door you want to enter when you get home from the hospital.
- You will need a friend or relative to be there for you, especially your first few days to a week.
- Ask your Doctor about a cold/compression machine. (we go into great detail on the best icing option in our Pre-hab, Pre-Surgery email series)
- Set up a recovery area for yourself; make sure you have a table where you can place your medications, eye glasses, phone, etc. for when you need them.
- Pain medicine is usually recommended to be taken with food, but often will cause symptoms of nausea or loss of appetite. You may want to stock up on soups, jello, crackers and other foods that are easy on the stomach.
What You Need to Know Before Knee Replacement Surgery
Preparation is advised when it comes to knee replacement surgery. It’s not hard to be ready. If you bookmark this page and return to it throughout the weeks prior to surgery you will be ahead of the game. Download the checklist, print it out, use it. Do the Pre-hab exercises that you can (never pushing yourself into pain). Get your home ready. None of this stuff is hard to do and it can be so valuable for you when it comes to your recovery afterwards.
If you ever want to check in and discuss your preparation or recovery with someone at X10 Therapy schedule a call with us. Its free and we are here to help.
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. If you have a surgery upcoming this blog answers that question what you need to know before knee replacement surgery. Subscribe for more like this.