Physical therapy is the key to getting back to life after knee surgery. Patients who attend physical therapy after procedures like arthroscopic knee surgery or knee replacement have less pain and function better than those who avoid therapy. The therapists at Edge Physical Therapy are here to guide you through your recovery. We will create a plan of care that is tailored to your individual needs. Here’s what to expect:
Increase strength with physical therapy exercises
After surgery, it’s normal to have some weakness in your leg muscles. Therapeutic exercises will help you get back to your old self. Most patients will start with simple, easy exercises that are done sitting or lying down. Later, you can expect to progress to more strenuous exercises that involve standing, putting weight on your leg or even climbing steps.
Your physical therapist will get your knee moving again
You may experience stiffness after surgery, making it difficult to bend and straighten your knee completely. When a joint’s movement is restricted, it can lead to pain and make daily activities difficult. Stretching and range of motion activities can help.
Range of motion usually involves repeatedly bending and straightening the knee in order to loosen up the joint itself. Stretches, on the other hand, affect the muscles around the knee. Stretches usually involve holding a position for 30-60 seconds. Don’t forget to breathe while you stretch!
Finishing touches: balance and walking
Knee surgery can affect your balance. Activities to improve balance might include standing on one foot, standing on unstable surfaces or balancing with your eyes closed.
It might seem odd to practice walking, after all, you haven’t forgotten how to walk! But when your normal pattern of walking is changed by pain or stiffness in your knee, it can affect other parts of your body. It can even cause back pain. Practicing a normal walking pattern can prevent future pain.
Recover with less pain
Most patients will experience some discomfort after surgery. The therapists at Edge Therapy will get you back on your feet with as little pain as possible. If appropriate, your therapist may suggest ice, heat, ultrasound or e-stim.
- E-stim uses a tiny amount of electricity to distract your nervous system, causing fewer pain signals to be sent to the brain. It can sometimes be used to stimulate muscle contractions.
- Ice can decrease swelling and pain.
- Heat increases blood flow to an area, which can speed healing. It can also relax tight muscles and lessen pain.
- Ultrasound uses sound waves. Depending on the setting, it can be used to provide deep muscle heating, speed healing or decrease pain.
Preparing for your visit to the physical therapy clinic
If possible, wear shorts or loose pants so you can move freely and your therapist can easily look at your knee. Avoid tight or stiff garments like jeans. Bring a water bottle so you can stay hydrated during your visit. Because your leg may be sore or tired after therapy, try to plan your day so that you can rest after your visit.