How Life Is Different After Knee Replacement

Your knee joints take heavy wear-and-tear over the course of your lifetime. That goes double if you have a degenerative condition like knee arthritis that accelerates their breakdown. When the damage is too extensive, you can suffer from chronic knee pain and knee joint dysfunction.

If this is where you’re at with your knee issue, know that surgical knee replacement can help. 

At the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Michael L. Blackwood and his team provide partial and total knee replacement procedures, removing damaged parts of your knee joint and placing prosthetics so your knee functions smoothly again.

Dr. Blackwood performs knee replacement procedures from his locations in Tomball, Kingwood, and Shenandoah, Texas. Could you benefit from knee replacement surgery? Here’s what you need to know about life after this procedure.

When you need partial or total knee replacement

Depending on the current condition of your knee joint, Dr. Blackwell may recommend a partial knee replacement, removing and replacing only one element of your knee joint. Dr. Blackwell uses the state-of-the-art Mako® Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology for your surgery. Anesthesia keeps you comfortable during the procedure.

Partial knee replacement damages less of your tissues, with smaller incision sizes and shorter recovery times. Partial knee replacement patients also tend to enjoy better mobility and find it easier to stay active.

If your knee joint is more extensively damaged, you may need a total knee replacement. Arthritis tends to damage your knee joint in multiple locations, making this type of procedure more common in older patients. 

Recovering from surgery: the first six weeks

After your surgery, you’re likely to be able to head home within 24 hours. This is the beginning of the recovery phase.

It’s important to start moving your new knee as soon as possible. Walking right after surgery can even help to reduce post-procedure swelling and inflammation. For the first few weeks, you walk with the support of a cane.

Physical therapy plays a big role in your recovery after surgical knee replacement. In the first 4-6 weeks, your physical therapy focuses on your range of motion, strengthening the muscles that support your knee joint. 

Your physical therapist goes over exercises and stretches with you, which you may continue to do on your own at home.

While recovery times vary, most patients feel a lot stronger and steadier after about six weeks, with full recovery in about three months. Plan on at least a couple of weeks away from work while you heal.

Reclaiming pain-free mobility after knee replacement

Once your recovery is complete, your new knee joint moves smoothly, with a full range of motion and no clicks, stiffness, or hang-ups. Knee replacement should fully resolve knee pain symptoms, as well.

As your knee starts to work and feel better, you enjoy fewer limitations around your activity. Surgical knee replacement patients can engage in most physical activities and sports. However, high-impact, repetitive actions like running may be too intense for your replacement knee. 

Talk to Dr. Blackwell about your plans for returning to your sport after surgery.

Listen to your body, and stay aware of pain levels while running, kneeling, and engaging in other activities that put direct pressure on your knee. With the right care, your new knee can last you for the rest of your lifetime, 20-30 years or more.

To learn more about how surgical knee replacement could change your life, and what to expect during and after the procedure, contact Dr. Blackwell and the team at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today. Book your consultation online, or give us a call now.

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