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Total Knee Replacement: Your Recovery Guide

Total Knee Replacement

Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Guide.

Total Knee Replacement, Vaughan.

A total knee replacement is surgically indicated if there are arthritic changes in the joint that causes pain, swelling and an inability to move the knee in a normal functional capacity. Arthritic changes in the knee are also known as knee degeneration or ‘wear and tear’. Cartilage degeneration is a common factor associated with knee degeneration in which there is a natural breakdown of the tissue between the bones in the knee. When the cartilage gets worn down the bones in the knee are essentially grinding on one another causing pain and stiffness. Functional limitations such as difficulty climbing or descending stairs, walking, or going from a sitting position to a standing position.

Physiotherapy@Woodbridge, Vaughan offers rehab for Total Knee Replacement to help improve a range of symptoms – read on to find out more.

Pre-Surgical Physiotherapy

Post-surgical physiotherapy rehabilitation exercises can be taught before the operation, this will give the patient a chance to learn the exercises before the surgery.  A pre-surgery exercise program will help optimize the functional status of the patient which will also improve the post-surgical recovery. Pre-surgical exercise programmes should focus on flexibility, strength, balance, and gait re-education. It is recommended you do a 6-8 week strengthening and treatment program before a total knee replacement.

Post-Surgery Physiotherapy

A total knee replacement surgery typically lasts 1-2 hours. Most people will begin physiotherapy within the first 24 hours of surgery that will include range of motion and strength exercises. Ice therapy and gait re-education are typically started, and before leaving hospital a home exercise program is prescribed.

What can I expect and how long does it take?

Phase 1: first 2-3 weeks post-surgery

  • Education
  • Improve knee movement (flex to 90deg, extension full)
  • Control pain and swelling
  • Achieve weight-bearing status
  • Aim for independent mobility

Phase 2: 4-6 weeks post-surgery

  • Good quality quad control with no extension lag
  • Achieve 105 deg knee flexion (bending your knee)
  • Achieve full knee extension (straightening your knee)
  • Decrease pain and swelling

Phase 3: 6-8 weeks post surgery

  • Continue with strengthening and flexibility exercises
  • Leg functional exercises
  • Balance exercises and training

Phase 3: 6-8 weeks post surgery

  • Continue with strengthening and flexibility exercises
  • Leg functional exercises
  • Balance exercises and training

Phase 4: 8-12 weeks, up to 1 year post-surgery

  • Aim for independent exercise in the community setting
  • Continue with all previous stretching, strengthening and balance exercises
  • Improve overall physical activity

Discharge Criteria

  • Achieve 110 active knee flexion and full extension
  • Achieve independent gait
  • Achieve compliance with a home exercise programme. This home exercise program should continue for 6-12 months post-operatively.

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