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GETTING THE MOST OUT OF KNEE REPLACEMENT

Tips for Ensuring Success

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or have put on a few extra pounds, (or both!), your poor knees bear the brunt and often begin to wear out by middle age. If you’re suffering through the pain and cutting back on your favorite activities because you think you’re too young for a knee replacement, you might want to think again. More and more people are having the surgery at a younger age, and for good reasons. In fact, the greatest increase in knee replacement is among 45-to-55-year-olds. 

Knee replacement is among the most successful surgeries, with 90 percent of patients experiencing dramatic pain relief. More than 700,000 people in the U.S. have the procedure every year.

“Knee pain can really limit activity and knee replacement can help people get back to enjoying life,” said Caitlin Carroll, physical therapist at Athletico. “One of the keys to a successful recovery is fully committing to physical therapy to help the knee regain strength and flexibility.”

Your new knee should last 15 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced, and taking good care of it will help ensure you get the most out of it. Athletico offers some tips for increasing your odds of successful knee replacement:

n  Consider pre-surgery physical therapy –You can improve your odds of having good results if you lose weight and get in the best shape possible before surgery. A physical therapist can help you work around your sore knees, as well as prepare you for what will come after surgery, including exercises you will do and how you will walk. Your therapist also can advise you on how to make changes to your home, such as removing loose rugs and other tripping hazards. If you’re not quite ready for knee replacement, physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around your knee and help ease the pain.  A stronger knee is a less painful knee. 

n  Take someone with you to your appointment – We remember only 5 percent of what doctors tell us during an appointment, so take a friend or family member to your pre-operative visit to the surgeon. You should write a list of questions before you go, and take notes during the appointment.

n  Embrace your post-surgery physical therapy – Starting physical therapy immediately after your knee replacement procedure is essential to help prevent stiffness and blood clots, lessen pain, improve movement, and speed recovery. But getting your new knee in shape takes several months and a lot of hard work, so commit to sticking with physical therapy and giving it your all. It’ll be worth it in the long run!

n  What not to do after surgery – There are several things you should avoid after having your knee replaced, such as sleeping with a pillow under your knee, which can make your knee stiff and reduce range of motion.  Squatting and kneeling are no-nos as well, because they put excessive pressure on the new knee. And some activities, such as singles tennis, skiing, jogging and football, are just too stressful on the knee. Don’t worry, you’ve still got lots of activities to choose from, including swimming, golf, yoga, bicycling, dancing and doubles tennis.

Have knee pain, but don’t know what to do? Consider having a complimentary screening provided by a licensed physical therapist at Athletico. He or she can tell you what might be causing your pain and get you on the best path towards recovery. To find the nearest location, visit www.Athletico.com.

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