After you have a knee replacement surgery, the process of rehabilitation and recovery determine your return to your normal routine of life. They enable faster healing of surgical wounds and ensure greater odds for long term success of surgery.
After knee replacement surgery in India, you must have a positive attitude and push yourself to do better every single day. Recovery can be divided into two goal posts: short term recovery and long term recovery. Short term recovery happens usually within 12 to 13 weeks while long term recovery takes 3 to 6 months. But, of course, this varies as per the individual case.
SHORT TERM RECOVERY:
Recovery begins as soon as you wake up after surgery. You will start standing and walking albeit with help of a walking device, in the first 24 hours under the guidance of your Physical Therapist (PT). The PT will also recommend exercises to toughen your muscles and demonstrate how to move with devices like cane, walker or crutch. A nurse will help in bathing, dressing, changing bandage and use of toilet. The PT will set you up with a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine which keeps knee in motion to help prevent stiffness.
DAY 2 AND DISCHARGE:
PT will ask you to move, use the regular toilet and climb a few steps. You may continue with CPM machine. Discharge comes as soon as you are able to move about using assistive devices and doctor shifts you from prescription painkillers to pain medication of low dose. You can bend knee at a 90 degree angle, bathe and dress on your own and use assistive devices minimally.
FROM DISCHARGE TO WEEK 3:
You can move around freely with less pain, whether at home or in a facility for rehab. You may graduate from walker to cane. You must strictly follow daily regimen of exercise. You can enjoy long walks and easy dressing and bathing. Household chores become easy.
FOURTH WEEK TO SIXTH
You experience a dramatic change in your knee. This includes improved strength and flexion. There will be less inflammation and swelling of knee. Your PT will recommend long walks and weaning away of assistive devices. When to return to work depends on the recommendation of the PT. So also, when to resume driving.
WEEKS SEVEN TO ELEVEN:
You are firmly on the road to recovery. You can go for long walks without assistive devices and indulge in light physical activity like shopping, housekeeping and driving. Your exercise regimen will be monitored by your PT who modifies them as knee improves. These include toe and heel raises, partial knee bends, hip abductions, leg balances, step-ups, riding stationary bikes etc. This period is vital for long term success of surgery.
WEEKS 12 TO 13:
If you have followed physical therapy religiously, you will be up and about and enjoy activities like cycling, dancing, golf, swimming etc. But you must steer clear of high impact activities like skiing, aerobics, running, basketball etc. You must have ongoing contact with your medical team. By week 13, you must be free of pain totally and enjoy 115 degrees of flexion.
LONG TERM RECOVERY:
There is complete healing of internal soft tissues and surgical wounds. Patient can return to normal life. The average time period for such recovery is 3 to 6 months. Patients have recovered such that their current status has been improving much beyond their pre-operative arthritic pain level. A positive attitude and a strong support network are also vital for long term recovery.
This is how you recover from knee replacement in India. Recovery depends on your commitment as well as prowess of your medical team.