Knee Injury: Post-Surgery Tips
Your surgery is over and you're ready to get back to the usual routine. As you doctor may have already told you, however, you can't return to full activity just yet. While the post-surgery recovery period will be different for every athlete, these tips will ensure a safe return to full activity in no time.
Prep Your Home
- Create a safe-haven for recovery in your home by making a few simple changes.
- Keep your bed low to the ground, so that your feet can touch the floor when you swing your legs out. This helps you avoid having to drop down to the floor or jump out of bed, which puts intense pressure on your knee.
- Keep as many items at eye level as possible. While you may need to squat or reach up high every once in a while, these motions can hurt your healing knee.
- Look for and remove any tripping hazards such as stray chords or wires plugged into the wall.
Stretches and exercises will likely be given to you by your physical therapist or occupational therapist-you can stay flexible by sticking closely to that routine.
You should also maintain mobility in your hips, ankles, pelvis and lumbar spine. Everything in your body is connected, and these are critical joint and muscle areas that, when flexible, help to improve and speed recovery.
To maintain mobility in these areas, try ankle pumps and circles, leg slides and straight leg raises while laying down. Check with your physical therapist to ensure these exercises are okay for you to perform.
Watch for Signs of Infection or Blood Clot
These two issues can significantly increase your recovery time if caught too late. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests watching for the following signs of clotting or infection post-knee surgery.
- Signs of infection:
- Shaking or chills
- Persistent fever
- Increasing pain with rest and activity
- Drainage of the wound
- Signs of blood clotting:
- Pain in your leg or calf that seems unrelated to location of surgery
- Swelling of your calf, knee or foot
- Tenderness above or below your knee
While recovery will be slightly different for every knee surgery patient, it's important that everyone watches for signs of infection or blood clotting, stays flexible throughout the recovery period, and keeps their home a safe haven for a quick recovery.