Undergoing any type of surgery will generally require a period of rehabilitation during the days, weeks and months following the surgery.
Exercise will often be advised to strengthen the muscles around the affected area, but it is important that you only partake in exercises recommended by your surgeon, so that you do not push your body too far.
Recovering from knee surgery – what is advised?
If you’ve had knee surgery then exercise is recommended so that you can begin to build up your strength and mobility again, both of which are vital in terms of getting you off crutches and ensuring you’re back on the road to independence.
In the first days after surgery you will be able to do some exercises from a bed or chair, which will begin the healing process and start preparing your body for being mobile again. Exercises such as straightening your leg and gently raising it up and down (in short bursts, holding each raise for around 10-15 seconds) of are recommended as this helps build strength back up in your thigh muscles.
Ankle exercises are also suggested, such as pointing your toes outwards and then back again (aim to do this for a couple of minutes at a time, and then relax). This flexes your calf muscles and helps reduce any swelling caused by inactivity.
After the first few days
The first starting point will usually be gentle walking exercises. To begin with, this will probably need the support of crutches or a walking aid, and you will be encouraged to do short periods of walking (usually no more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time). This will not only begin to build up the muscles around the operation site, but will restore confidence and balance too.
The next step is often going up and down stairs, which this targets different muscles and puts pressure on different areas compared with walking on a flat surface. The process of going up and down stairs works out different muscles, so both directions are beneficial. The important thing is to ensure that you have a sturdy handrail to give you the required support.
Any pain or discomfort
If you suffer from pain or you notice swelling after undertaking any rehabilitation exercises then consult your surgeon to talk again about your exercise regime.
In the meantime, elevating the affected area and applying an ice pack (wrapped in a towel so that it does not make direct contact with the skin) should help ease any pain and will help reduce any inflammation.
Speaking to your surgeon quickly is important to ensure that any exercises that are being undertaken are not hindering your recovery.