When you've undergone reconstructive knee surgery, you are signing up for a rather lengthy recovery process. While the surgery may be necessary and may be helpful in the long run, it's important to manage expectations. The recovery can take some time, and it requires time and effort from the person undergoing surgery. Here are some things to know about after your reconstructive knee surgery.
1. Regaining Knee Extension is Crucial
Getting knee extension back as soon as possible is crucial. If you wait too long, you may never regain full extension ever again. This could also lead to arthritis down the road. Be prepared for extensive physical therapy in order to do this. Physical therapy will likely start the day of or the day after your therapy, and it won't be easy. However, do as much physical therapy as your insurance will cover, and definitely ask for exercises to do at all by yourself. Don't forget to do them, either! It can make the difference between a full recovery and pain in the future.
2. Pain is Inevitable
Unfortunately, there will be pain. You will be given pain killers after the surgery, but that won't get rid of all of the pain you will experience. Be prepared to limit yourself due to the amount of pain. Also, be prepared for the pain to last for a long time.
3. Know Your Limits
Some people are anxious to get back to normal activity as soon as possible. The reality is that this isn't possible. It is essential to take time to recover properly. Otherwise, you could prolong the injury or even hurt yourself even more.
Your physical therapist will be able to tell you how much you can manage based on your progress while working with you. Follow their advice.
4. You May Need Aids to Walk
Get familiar with crutches or a walker to temporarily help you with mobility. You may not need to use it all the time, but you will see that they help.The good news is that you will probably only need the crutches for about 7 to 10 days. Also, expect to need extra help with stairs.
Inflammation will be quite extensive after surgery. And it will make recovery that much harder. Therefor, you will be under a rigorous cycle of taking ice on and off your knee to help. You may also talk to your doctor and physical therapist about other ways to manage the inflammation.
Knee surgery is a positive thing. It will fix your injury or fix the pain that you are experiencing. However, the recovery process does take some time, and you will feel it. You will also have to put some effort into it. However, if you do, you could experience a full recovery.