Knee replacement surgery, also known as Arthroplasty, is a routine operation during which a damaged or diseased knee is replaced with an artificial knee joint. A total knee replacement (TKR) involves replacing both sides of the knee. In a partial knee replacement (PKR), just one side of the joint is replaced.
The majority of patients who have knee replacement surgery are between sixty and eighty years old. Most do not experience any complications. However, it is important to take good care of yourself when you return home from the hospital, and pay close attention to your new knee for the following symptoms:
- Stiffness – you need to continue with the exercises prescribed at the hospital to ease this.
- Pain – in the first six weeks after the operation, it is usual to have to take painkillers. If pain persists six months after the operation, you need to consult your doctor.
- Swelling – swelling in the ankle and foot are very common after a knee replacement. Applying ice packs and keeping your foot raised above hip height will help reduce swelling.
- Infection – signs of infection are breaking up of the wound, oozing, redness, heat, unpleasant odour or increased pain. If you experience any of the above, please contact your doctor.
In addition to the above, closely follow the directions given below to give your new knee a head start.
- Continue with the exercises given to you at the hospital.
- For at least six weeks after the operation, do not sit with your legs crossed.
- Do not rest your knee on a pillow when you sleep.
- Make sure your footwear is comfortable and supportive.
- Avoid twisting or putting undue pressure on your knee.
- Until your doctor says you can do so, do not kneel on the operated knee.
- Try and keep your leg raised above hip height when sitting (on a stool, or cushions, for example)
Final Words of Advice
You should always remember that a replaced knee is only as good as you keep it. It is the same following ACL injury treatment. Always listen to your doctor and avoid undue stress on the replaced knee. Watch out for danger signs and report to your surgeon before any permanent damage is done.
Recovering from a knee replacement surgery is difficult during old age but not impossible.