So I am the sort of person who is good at following the advice of physiotherapists. I’ve successfully rehabbed some serious injuries and I trust the professional advice of physiotherapists. I do what I’m told.
It’s also worth noting that I have exceptionally good benefits and they cover almost all of my physio costs. And yet, even for me, physio after knee replacement is tough and I thought I’d explore why.
First, advice about recovering from knee surgery can sound contradictory. The take home sheets from the hospital say to use your new knee as much as possible each day. It will help you heal faster from surgery and improve your chances of long-term success. But also it says to avoid pushing yourself too far too soon. So as much as possible but not too much. Yep.
And practically it feels like that too.
The knee feels good and so I go for a short walk. After that it swells up and is painful so it’s time for ice and elevation. I’m constantly moving between making the knee work and then helping it recover.
After I posted about going for a very short walk this morning, friends commented, great, now rest!
What’s as much as possible but not too much? There’s not really good intuitive measure at this stage since everything hurts a lot of the time.
Second, unlike other physio I’ve done this is really painful. It’s the kind of painful where you ice before and after and take pain medication around your pt sessions. Since you’ve just undergone surgery and things still hurt from that, you feel a bit like hiding on the sofa, covering yourself in blankets, and waiting until the pain goes away.
Third, it’s pretty time consuming.
Here’s a rough schedule of my days this week. Next week I’m hoping to be able to get on the bike trainer to help with my range of motion.
6 am breakfast, drugs, ice and elevation in bed
630 physio round one, basic stretching and mobility
700 more elevation and icing and getting ready for the day
800 Breakfast round two, more pain meds, more elevation and icing
900 Physio round 2 mobility and stretching plus regaining strength
930 ice and elevation
10-12 free time for reading possibly napping
100 ice and elevation, more pain meds
130 Physio round 3, mobility and stretching and regaining strength
200 ice and elevation
230-4 free time for reading and napping etc
4-6 dinner etc
7 last round, 4, of basic mobility physio
Tiny walk #2
Bed with all the ice and more pain meds
That’s me on the deck post tiny walk, resting and icing, as friends and physio advised.
Patience my friends is going to be key.