The Importance of Physical Therapy After Total Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement Therapy
If you have total knee replacement surgery, you'll need to take the recovery process very seriously. Learn why physical therapy is important after surgery here.
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754,000 total knee replacement surgeries were performed in 2017. With it being such a prevalent procedure, surgeons understand the benefits of physical therapy as part of the recovery process. Knee surgery therapy shouldn’t be underutilized.

In this article, we discuss why getting physical therapy is so essential to the knee surgery recovery process. Continue reading to find out how knee replacement rehabilitation can get you back on your feet.

Immediate Start to Physical Therapy

Physical therapy starts almost immediately after a total knee replacement (TKR surgery). This is as simple as standing and walking, even with support from another person or a walker.

The reason that knee surgery therapy starts so immediately is to help prevent scarring. Scar tissue can build up inside of the knee if a person doesn’t use it regularly. This leads to ongoing stiffness.

This part of physical therapy continues for about 3 days after surgery. It helps continue to build your mobility until it’s time for discharge. At this point, you should be able to stand, dress, and bathe largely on your own.

Sticking with Knee Surgery Therapy

At this point, patients often ask, ‘does physical therapy work?’ The answer to that question depends on how much work you’ve put into it. After you’ve been discharged from the hospital, it’s essential that you continue with knee replacement rehabilitation.

You’ll have exercises to do at home such as range of motion exercises (ROM) and strength training. These physical therapy activities are especially common in knee surgery recovery.

After some time, your physical therapist will likely implement massages as part of the knee recovery process. This helps loosen the skin and surrounding tissues, which creates more mobility.

Reaching the Finish Line

After a total knee replacement, physical therapy is recommended anywhere from 2 to 3 months. While the entire knee surgery recovery timeline can take up to 12 months. This depends on the surgery and the progress of recovery.

The longer you stick with physical therapy after TKR surgery and the more dedicated you are to it, the better and quicker your results will be.

What’s Next?

Since there’s such a gap between the end of outpatient physical therapy and the knee surgery recovery timeline, it’s important to keep end goals in mind. Once outpatient physical therapy is complete, that doesn’t mean you’re done with it altogether.

As you work through your at-home exercise, you should see gradual improvement and reducing discomfort. Some end goals include toe and heel raises, step-ups, and bicycling.

Be sure to stick with the goals and exercises laid out by your physical therapist. While it can be tempting to push yourself toward a speedy recovery, doing too much too soon can set your recovery back further.

Taking on Recovery From Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Instead of asking, “does physical therapy work,” focus on committing to physical therapy after a total knee replacement surgery instead. Being dedicated to your knee surgery therapy can help you gain mobility more quickly as well as help you recover faster.

Get on top of the healing process by booking your physical therapy with Elite Sports Physical Therapy in Waco, Texas and surrounding areas.