Once someone gets his shiny, new total knee replacement, he may feel on top of the world and forget that he can’t just bounce straight into his regularly scheduled life. It takes time to recover, and a strict rehabilitation protocol. The recovery timeline is different for every person, and could take several months or more. Even when things feel okay, that doesn’t mean rehab is over or recovery is finished. And of course, no one wants to ruin all of the good work and end up back where he started. For optimal results with your total knee replacement, avoid these common mistakes:
- Going for the easiest route. Yes, easier exercises are less grueling and won’t wipe you out. No, they won’t take you to where you want to go. There’s a reason “no pain, no gain” has become a universal platitude. If you want to see results, you’ll have to put in the hard work; or at least, if you want to see faster results. Take it to the max and fuel your quick recovery.
- DIY. Yes, you’ve done a lot of research and “know” all about total knee replacement and how rehab works. No, you are not a medical professional, and scanning websites with helpful information cannot take the place of years of intense study and practice. Continue going to all of your rehab sessions, and do all of your homework – you need daily exercises to keep up with the program, and you need to follow your clinician’s recommendations, not the protocol you discovered on Youtube.
- Stopping too soon. You’re not finished with rehab the moment you’re able to walk. Recovery is meant to be a process, not a race. Take it slow, and keep it up. Keep to whatever timeline has been recommended to you by your doctor or therapist, as long as you need to – as mentioned above, this could be many months. If you stop too soon, you may injure yourself or be back at square one.
- Not being mobile. In contrast to the other mistakes, some people go the other route – they’re so scared of injury or walking too soon that they don’t challenge themselves enough. You must bend your knees and do your exercises if you want to start walking again. If you’re following your therapist’s advice, you know that she knows exactly how you need to use your new total knee replacement to get where you need to be without over-exerting yourself.
- Not taking medication. This isn’t the place or time to be stoic; the purpose of the medication is to give your optimal chances of success. Why would you mess that up? You won’t have to be on medication forever; it’s normally only the first few weeks, until the TNR is at least superficially healed. Again, trust your clinicians; you put in all of the effort to have the surgery, do your best to have an efficient recovery.
At Hudson View Center for Rehabilitation in Bergen County, New Jersey, our doctors and therapists will help you along the road to recovery from a total knee replacement with expert recommendations to get you back on your feet quickly.