Knee replacement surgery can provide immense pain relief and help you become more active, but those benefits won’t happen overnight. A knee replacement procedure is a major undertaking for your body, and this controlled trauma will elicit a normal trauma response. You’ll experience bruising, swelling and pain after your procedure, and while this is normal, if these symptoms are not controlled, they can negatively affect your recovery. In today’s blog, we share some tips for managing these normal symptoms after knee replacement surgery so they don’t prolong your recovery.
Managing Bruising, Swelling and Pain After Knee Replacement
Swelling, bruising and pain are all to be expected during the early stages of your recovery, but if you let these symptoms contribute to bad habits, like overreliance on pain medications or skipping helpful physical therapy sessions because you’re uncomfortable, problems can develop. Here’s a look at some ways Dr. Botero and his team recommend dealing with the normal symptoms associated with the physical trauma of knee replacement surgery.
Before you dive into any of the techniques, make sure you have a conversation with your surgeon and care team. Every surgery and individual is different, and your treating provider will be able to provide you with the best advice on how to manage pain and swelling after surgery. Odds are they’ll recommend a few of these techniques, but follow their advice over any general advice you find on the web.
- Elevate – Keep your leg elevated while you’re lying down and recovering. This will help to keep fluid from pooling around the knee and can contribute to healthy drainage.
- Get Upright – Don’t expect to lay in bed for weeks while healing runs its course. You need to do your part to help your body heal. Being upright and doing some light movements can help improve your circulation and limit swelling in your knee.
- Ice – Use cold packs as directed by your surgeon to help manage swelling and bruising at the knee. Never apply ice directly to the wound site, and limit icing to 15-20 minutes at a time, a few times each day.
- Physical Therapy Exercises – Perhaps the most important point on this list is in regards to your physical therapy exercises. PT and gentle strengthening exercises will not only help to stabilize the area and improve your range of motion, but this movement is key in helping to control swelling and reduce pain. If your knee is uncomfortable or downright painful, the last thing you may want to do is physical therapy, but it will be the best thing for your knee. Do your exercises each day as recommended by your treating physician, and odds are you’ll notice reduced swelling, bruising and pain in your knee.
- Painkiller Care – Painkillers can help you manage postoperative pain, but know that they are not designed to be a long-term solution. Prolonged opioid use can lead to delayed healing, but they can be essential in spurring recovery when used correctly. Use medications to make it more comfortable to complete your therapy exercises or fall asleep at night, and work to wean off them as you make progress.
If you follow these tips and you trust your surgery to a skilled knee replacement surgeon like Dr. Botero who uses minimally invasive techniques to limit damage to the knee and the surrounding components, we’re confident that you will be able to control symptoms and experience a faster recovery after a joint replacement procedure. For more information about life after knee replacement, or to talk to a specialist about your knee discomfort, reach out to Dr. Botero’s office today at (865) 558-4444.