How PT Can Help You Heal after Total Knee Replacement

Prepare to get up and get moving—the right way
By Ben Wobker, PT, MSPT, CSCS, SFMAc
How PT Can Help You Heal after Total Knee Replacement

Does your knee pain prevent you from golfing with your friends or keeping up with the grandkids? Is even the basic task of climbing the stairs too much for your joints? If so, knee replacement surgery could be in your future. And if it is, you’re likely wondering not only what the procedure will be like, but about life afterward.

You may ask questions like:

  1. How long will I be in the hospital?
  2. Do I need physical therapy? 
  3. What exercises will I have to do?
  4. What role does my surgeon play in my recovery? 

Life after Surgery Begins with Physical Therapy

If you have outpatient surgery, you can go home the same day as the procedure. Physical therapy for total knee replacement can begin within hours after you receive your new joint. Whether at home or at the hospital, you can expect to be on your feet very quickly. 

Physicians recommend prompt movement to help you get your strength back and avoid problems. Your physical therapist will teach you to pump your ankles to get the blood flowing, and breathing exercises will help prevent pneumonia. 

Exercise Your Way to Healing

Physical therapy helps restore mobility and strength after a total knee replacement. The physical therapists at Luna outline what your physical therapist could prescribe for you as the swelling begins to diminish: 

  1. Specific PT Exercises 20 to 30 minutes, two to three times a day.
  2. Exercise Biking  up to 30 minutes several times a day.
  3. Exercises such as quadriceps sets, straight leg raises, ankle pumps, knee strengthening exercises, and knee bends.
  4. Start walking on a flat surface, likely with a walker or crutches. Later, you can start walking unassisted and climbing stairs.

In addition to aiding with strength and mobility, these exercises will help tissue healing &  prevent blood clots by boosting circulation to your legs and feet. It’s recommended that you begin these exercises as soon as you can— even in the recovery room! While you may experience discomfort at first, keep in mind they’ll help you heal faster and actually help with your pain.

On-Demand Physical Therapy Brings Recovery to Your Door

One thing is certain—you won’t be driving any time soon after knee replacement surgery. Even regular car rides might have to wait, so your physical therapist will come to you for the first couple of weeks, at least. To get the most out of your home visits, look for on-demand physical therapy that: 

  • Can provide care right after you get home.
  • Works with your schedule.
  • Offers personalized, 45-55 minute sessions with the same therapist.
  • Provides a practical exercise program that fits your environment.
  • Communicates with your surgeon to coordinate care.

This last one is essential. Dr. Thomas Peatman, a member of Luna’s Advisory Council, says, “I need to be updated on basic clinical information on the patients I refer to Luna, such as the range of motion for knee conditions. And I like to know that the patients I don’t hear about are doing fine with pain management or other relevant concerns.”

Total knee replacement surgery, followed by proper physical therapy, can change your life. Before you know it, you’ll be climbing stairs, tussling with the grandkids, and making a hole-in-one. On-demand physical therapy from Luna can help.

Schedule your on-demand physical therapy session today.
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