Preparing for a knee replacement

When all other means of controlling knee pain have failed, a total knee replacement may be the only answer. However, the thought of having a knee replacement is enough to make most people very nervous. With some advice from us and careful preparation, you can get over the procedure with very little discomfort.

Before the operation, it is as important to exercise the knee as it is to do so afterwards. It is a well-known fact that strong muscles are more resilient and recover faster. Exercising the joint will not only strengthen it but will minimise stiffness and help you regain a normal or close-to-normal range of motion after the surgery. Be sure to exercise both limbs because the unaffected limb will have to take more of your weight during the rehab phase.

It is also important to look after your general health while preparing for surgery. Good medical condition will prevent complications during surgery and determine your recovery rate afterwards. Try to avoid catching colds or other infections. Eat well, exercise and get enough rest. Follow the advice of your physiotherapist and doctor.

Make necessary adjustments in your home before you leave for the hospital. If you have stairs, you may have to move to a room on the lower floor as you will be unable to climb stairs for a while. A high chair or recliner to help you elevate your legs while seated is a necessity. So is a raised toilet seat. Some people like to have a bedside commode for use during the night. Remove rugs and extra pieces of furniture that may hinder you from using your walker.

If possible, arrange to have someone in the house with you for the first few weeks; someone who can prepare meals, answer the door and help with your daily hygiene. It will be much easier to get into a shower than the tub, so consider this when rearranging your living space. Attending to these things before your surgery will give you peace of mind and make your transition to home much more comfortable.