Knee replacement surgery is a complex and serious operation. It’s also becoming more common, as people live longer and want to remain active later in life. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, about 719,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States.
What is physiotherapy?
A physiotherapy is a form of physical therapy that uses exercise and other forms of physical activity to promote movement and overall health. It is often used to help people recover from injuries, but can also be used to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.
How can physiotherapy help after total knee replacement surgery?
Total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is a major operation that can lead to a significant loss of function. Physiotherapy can help you regain your strength and mobility after surgery.
Physiotherapy will usually start once you have recovered from the anaesthetic and are able to move around. The first few days after surgery are often spent getting out of bed and moving around with the help of a physiotherapist. This helps to reduce the risk of complications such as blood clots and pneumonia.
It is important to start physiotherapy early to regain your range of motion and begin strengthening the muscles around your new knee. Your physiotherapist will work with you to create an individualised exercise programme that gradually gets you moving and active again. They will also provide education on how to manage your new knee, including advice on when to start weight-bearing activities.
Most people make a good recovery after TKR surgery and are able to return to all their usual activities within 3-6 months. However, it is important to continue with your physiotherapy exercises even after you have returned home to help maintain your progress and prevent any setbacks.
Exercises to improve range of motion
If you’re recovering from a total knee replacement, regular physiotherapy and exercise is essential to help improve your range of motion. Here are a few exercises that can help:
1. Quad sets: Strengthen your quadriceps muscles with this simple exercise. While lying on your back, tighten your thigh muscle and lift your leg up about six inches. Hold for five seconds, then slowly lower your leg. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
2. Hamstring curls: This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in the back of your thigh. Lie on your stomach and place a small towel under your ankle. Slowly raise your leg up towards your buttock, then lower it back down. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
3. Straight-leg raises: This exercise helps stretch out your hamstrings and improve range of motion in your knee joint. While lying on your back, slowly raise one leg straight up in the air, keeping your other leg bent at the knee. Hold for five seconds, then lower your leg back down. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
4. Heel slides: This is a simple but effective exercise for improving range of motion in your knee joint. While lying on your
Exercises to improve strength
After a total knee replacement, it’s important to engage in strength-training exercises to help improve the function of your new joint. Here are a few exercises that your physiotherapist may prescribe:
1. Heel slides: While lying on your back with your operated leg straight, slowly slide your heel up and down the bed.
2. Quad sets: Lying on your back, tighten the muscles on the front of your thigh by pressing the back of your knee down into the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
3. Hamstring curls: Lying on your stomach, use a resistance band around your ankles to curl your legs up towards your buttock.
4. Step-ups: Holding onto a support, step up onto a low step with your operated leg, leading with your heel. Keep your operated knee in line with your second toe and push off with the front of your foot to return to the starting position.
Exercises to improve balance and coordination
After having a total knee replacement, it is extremely important to do exercises that will help improve your balance and coordination. This is because the surgery can sometimes cause these abilities to become impaired.
There are several different exercises that can help with this, and it is important to talk to your physiotherapist about which ones would be best for you. They can help you progress through the exercises as you get stronger and more coordinated.
Some of the exercises that may be recommended include:
-Standing on one leg and holding onto a support
-Walking heel to toe in a straight line
-Doing mini-squats or marches in place
-Practicing stepping over obstacles
All of these exercises can help improve your balance and coordination after a total knee replacement. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty as you get better at them. Your physiotherapist can help you with this progression so that you don’t end up doing too much too soon and injuring yourself.
Physiotherapy can be extremely beneficial for those who have recently undergone total knee replacement surgery. A physiotherapist can help to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and improve strength and function. If you are considering physiotherapy after your surgery, be sure to discuss your options with your surgeon or physiotherapist to create a treatment plan that is right for you.