When it comes to undergoing a total knee replacement, the majority of your time will be spent in your physical rehabilitation working on regaining your leg strength, learning how to walk properly again and, obtaining as much range of motion in the surgical knee as possible.
When it comes to working on your range of motion, this is considered the toughest part of the physical rehabilitation due to the pain level when it comes to flexing and extending the knee.
Some patients will become apprehensive when it comes to flexing and extending their knees during physical therapy and will not put in the effort in it will take to make their knees as fully functional as possible.
When this part of the rehabilitation process is not emphasized, many patients can end up with a contracted knee due to the musculature surrounding the knee and allows chronic long-term pain due to the accumulation of scar tissue.
How do you avoid this? I have listed below three tips to help you avoid having to go back into the hospital to have your knee manipulated.
Learn to Relax. You will find if you can learn to relax as your rehabilitation professional is working on your knee, you will have much more success in obtaining the motion needed for a full and painless recovery. Trying to resist movement of the knee during this process only makes it harder on you and more painful. Anxiety is a major problem here so learning relaxation skills prior to surgery will be beneficial.
Use Heat 30 Minutes Prior To Physical Therapy. Yes, you read it right use heat. Use a large heating pad that has the capabilities to apply a moist heat to your thighs or quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Heat will allow the muscles and surrounding tissue to become more pliable and will allow greater flexibility within the knee. Just be sure you do not place the heating pad directly over your knee this will only increase your swelling making your knee more difficult to work with.
Think Long-Term Success. Think and visualize how your knee is flexing and extending properly and how you will look and feel once you are able to walk again pain-free with a normal functioning knee. You will have to pay a short-term price today to have your knee moving and operating smoothly tomorrow. Remember, like many things in life you either pay the price of discipline today or live with the pain of regret tomorrow.
I have worked with knee replacement patients for close to 23 years now and have found that those patients that were not willing to pay that short-term price of allowing their knee to be properly rehabilitated due to anxiety or discomfort will have lost the benefit of the surgical procedure, to begin with, and do not recover fully which invites long-term discomfort in the future.