The steps that you should take during and after surgery on your knee will obviously depend on the type of surgery you’re getting specifically. Here’s some information about preparing for knee surgery both generally and specific information related to specific surgeries.
One likely knee surgery operation you could be getting is called “replacement knee surgery.” If this is the case and you need to replace your knee completely, then you should prepare for a stay in the hospital for at least three to four days. This will also likely include physical therapy. All of this is to say that you’ll be busy and laid out while you’re in the hospital, and as a result, you really need to plan for what you’ll be doing after your knee surgery well beforehand.
Solicit Help Beforehand
It may very well be that your knee surgery could cause limitations to your mobility beyond what you might be expecting. At the least, you will likely have more limitations than you had previously before the surgery. That’s why it’s important to check with friends and family in terms of their availability for helping you out after you come home from your surgery.
If necessary, you may need to have a few people check in on you and help out so it’s not all on one person.
Clean While You Can
After surgery, you really shouldn’t be doing much of anything besides rest, recovery and targeted physical therapy. This means, that you should clean your floors with a mop, vacuum all rugs and carpeting, do the dishes, and anything else that you need to do to feel like you’re in a clean house, because, again, you would be ill-advised to try doing any of these things during the actual recovery period.
It’s actually best to remove even the temptation to try doing any of these things. You could fall and hurt your knee or something else even worse.
Remove Any Junk in Your Home
After major knee surgery, it’s likely that you’re going to need to use something to assist you in walking while you’re recovering and doing physical therapy. This means crutches or even possibly a full walker. The thing about walkers is that they are fairly broad, therefore you need to make sure that you’re going to have space for it ahead of time.
So, you should move your furniture out of the way so you have at least a few feet of space in all major walking areas. You should further get rid of any rugs that might bunch up and inhibit your movement. All little objects on the ground should be removed thoroughly and put in closets. This could include toys if you have children. It could include basically anything that you could trip over, including any furniture that you can remove entirely.
Prepare to Fall and Prevent Falling
Replacing your knee or knee surgery of any kind will give you a not insubstantial risk of falling over. In order to compensate for this and prevent further damage to your knee and other parts of your body, you should make some preparations, including-
- Nightlights-If you have trouble walking at a certain point in your house, away from the probability of finding a flashlight at night, you’re going to really wish there were nightlights nearby to help out. That’s why it’s a good idea to install them ahead of time.
- Handrails-It’s also good to install handrails in areas like shower where you might be in particular need of them after surgery. Then, after surgery, make sure that you actually use them instead of thinking that you could go it alone.
- Floor Texture-You’re going to want to either change the texture of slippery floors in your house before surgery or stay well clear of them after surgery. This will involve at least making sure you have a game plan for getting around them, such as special socks with extra grip on the bottom, or a known clear alternative path around linoleum and other surfaces that could be problematic.
Things to Do Right Before and During Surgery
Right before and during surgery, you’re going to need to avoid eating or drinking for a period beforehand according to what your doctor instructs. It’s often the case that you’ll need to avoid chewing gum and certain medications, depending on the situation. This could include diabetes medication.
It’s important to bring a few things with your when you go for surgery. If you have contacts, you’ll want to swap them out for eyeglasses, for example. This way you’ll help to eliminate the extra need for maintenance which you might not be able to take care of due to the circumstances. You’ll also need a “go bag” with the usual things for your stay, such as something to shave with, a toothbrush and toothpaste, tennis shoes, and a book, computer, or something else to do while you’re bound to bed.
During and right after surgery, you largely just need to do whatever the medical professionals tell you to do. This will also often involve deep breathing exercises. In some cases, you may even be recommended to take a class to learn exactly what you need to do in this regard ahead of time. This will help keep you calm and ensure your vital signs are steady.
Right After Surgery
The days after surgery will involve staff training you on using a walker. They will also often involve going to group therapy sessions with a coach if you need it. Some hospitals will also potentially offer occupational therapy as well if this is a game-changing surgery for you. You may need a job different than the one that you had before.
It’s also often good if you have visitors to help with your morale.
Weeks After Surgery and Beyond
It’s important to stay busy and to make sure you have people over to help with everything if possible. You’re going to need medication on a regular basis, which means either keeping it nearby or having someone help you get it. Additionally, you could always use help with self-monitoring as well, such as noticing when your temperature might be up if your pain is higher than normal, if there’s shortness of breath or chest pain, and how much swelling or drainage from the surgery incision you have.
You’ll need to make sure you write down any questions you might have for professionals when you go in for checkups, especially anything related to the progress you are or aren’t making. The tough part in this stage will often be that you have to make sure you keep up with the physical therapy and everything else you have to do. That’s why it helps to bring someone with you who can help encourage you and keep you motivated to make it through everything.
Physical therapy for your knee is often the kind of thing where if you don’t keep up with it day to day, you can really get behind and end up having to do even more in a way that’s more painful and less effective.