Physiotherapy for Knee Replacement
A comprehensive physiotherapy treatment plan is critical to obtaining the best possible outcome following a knee replacement. Shortly after surgery you will be experiencing knee swelling, stiffness and pain. It is important to get moving as soon as possible to restore muscle function and preserve range of motion.
Physiotherapy for knee replacements can be broken down into three broad phases.
Recovery Stage Physiotherapy for Knee Replacement
In the first few days following surgery, physiotherapy is focussed on reducing swelling, managing pain and beginning to regain joint range of motion. The physiotherapist will gently work on the knee to restore full extension (straightening) during this time because this is required for the patient to stand and walk normally. The physiotherapist will insist that patients walk very early in their rehab and may prescribe a mobility device like a walker to aid with this objective.
Strength restoration stage
Once the swelling from the initial surgery resolves, Physiotherapy is free to begin more aggressive work on strength and range of motion. Exercises will focus on restoring muscle function and achieving full range of motion. You can expect manual (hands-on) treatment as well as a comprehensive exercise regimen. During this time, the patient is able to walk further and usually can stop using a gait aid.
Functional Restoration Phase
Once strength and range of motion have been mostly restored, treatment will begin to focus on ensuring you can perform all of the physical tasks that you need to in order to return to your normal life. This may require some practice, specialized exercises, and balance training. Each patient has a different lifestyle and uses their bodies in a different way. A great Physiotherapy program for knee replacements should recognize these differences and should be customized to ensure you are physically capable of living your life on your terms.
When it comes to knee replacement, the surgery is only half the battle. A great Physiotherapy program goes a long way to ensuring you achieve the best possible result.