Working with a physiotherapist plays a crucial role in helping you get back on your feet and get you active again. Physiotherapist are there to monitor your progress can help you heal from surgery faster and greatly improve your chances for long-term success. It’s important that you commit to the treatment plan, its all up to you how hard you want to push yourself and get moving again. This timeline will give you an idea what to expect during the critical 12 weeks of recovery and rehab, and see if you are on track, or lagging behind.
Physiotherapist play a vital role in monitoring your progress and guide you what to do or avoid. We make sure you regain full movement and mobility in your knee joint. If any problem occurs, we are able to detect it very soon and will be able to communicate it to your orthopeadic surgeon.
Getting the surgery done is only half the process, rehab is crucial for full recovery.
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A physiotherapist will brief you on what to expect before you go in for surgery. Rehabilitation begins almost immediately after you wake up from the anesthetics. A physiotherapist welcome to wake you up and ask you to stand using practice or a walking frame. It is critical that you stand as soon as possible so that the cement holding the artificial prosthesis can mould correctly.
The physio will give u exercises like moving your feet to promote circulation to your legs and prevent DVT. They will test the range of movement by bending your knee. They will ask you to set up over the side of the bed and walk a few steps using your crutches or walking frame. You might feel drowsy and light-headed after the surgery due to the anaesthetic still working out your system, but do not fear a physiotherapist is trained in every scenario to make sure you are safe to stand up from the bed.
The physiotherapist will aim to help you walk to the toilet, if all goes well they will ask you to walk a short distance giving a few steps away from the bed. They will review the exercises to make sure that your knee bends to 90 Degrees.
Discharge from Hospital
Your orthopaedic surgeon will insure that you have adequate pain medication for the first month after the surgery. He will sign off that you may leave the hospital when you reach the following criteria.
- Bend your knee to a minimum of 90 degrees
- Able to walk to the toilet and back
- Climb up and down a flight of stairs using your crutches or walking frame
- Safe to walk with crutches or a walking frame for up to 50 meters
- Get in and out of bed, sit and stand without help
Week 1 to 3
Regain normal Range of Movement
You should be able to move around the house using less support of your walking frame. You will experience being able to move any more freely with less pain. Done to reduce your reliance on the walking frame and you should be able to move using crutches by the end of week 3. You will still be following the exercises the physiotherapist prescribed in hospital,They made progress the exercises and make it more challenging. You should try walking longer distances at home. The swelling around the knee will still be very prominent, this is normal.
Week 4 to 6
If you stayed in your exercise program the physiotherapist has prescribed to you you will notice a dramatic improvement in your knee movement. Now the Focus will be to strengthen the quadriceps hamstrings and calf muscles. We aim to remove the assistance of your walking frame or crutches. Should be able to walk for longer distances (500 m).
Orthopaedic surgeon will follow up on your progress at the end of week 6.
The physiotherapist will motivate if you are strong enough to be able to drive
Goals at the end of week 6
- Strong enough knee muscles to be able to stand on the operated leg.
- Decrease swelling and inflammation around the knee joint
- Return to every day activities and back to work
- Improved range of motion more than 90 Degrees of knee flexion
Week 7 to 11
At this point you should be able to go about your normal day without any problems. The swelling that occurred around the knee when you walked will become much less. You should be able to drive, walk around at work, going up and down stairs without any problems. The physiotherapist will keep on monitoring your progress and modify them as your knee improves. Exercises will become more specific to strengthen certain muscle groups.
Total knee replacement exercises
Your physiotherapist will include some of the following exercises to help you strengthen and regain the normal movement of your knee.
Toe and heel raises – focuses on strengthening the calf and quadriceps muscles.
Small squats – Standing on both knees bending and straightening it.
Balancing on one leg – retraining your balance by telling your brain when the muscle should contract or relax.
Walking pattern – making sure that you move like you should without putting strain on the knee joint.
Standing on uneven surfaces – to make sure you have the muscle control to be able to control your knee when you lose your balance.
Step Up and Down – climbing stairs up and down with ease
Stationary bike – improving muscle endurance of the knee
Goals by the end of week 11
- Range of movement increased to about 120 degrees
- Improve mobility and significantly less stiffness in the morning
- Minimal swelling
- Return to normal everyday activities including walking and swimming
If you’ve been committed to your rehabilitation program and followed the exercises that your physiotherapist prescribed you will experience the ease of jogging and walking without any pain. At this stage a biokineticist can be very helpful to maintain the progress that has been made and push you to your limits.
The role of the physiotherapist in the rehabilitation program
The physiotherapist is there to identify and monitor the progress as you go through the healing process. They will ensure that you are safe to progress your exercises. Patients are very often overwhelmed, we are here to provide guidance and answers. We will show you what to do every step of the way