RECOVERING FROM A KNEE REPLACEMENT
Having a knee replacement can be an emotional and physical experience. There may be some days when you feel a little low and tired and this is all normal. Remember to eat and drink well. In the first six weeks take time to rest during the day, this will allow your body to recuperate, helping with your overall recovery.
Your knee wound has been closed with either stitches, clips or steri-strips (paper stitches) and covered with a waterproof dressing (Fig 1). A nurse will discuss this with you prior to discharge.
It is quite common to notice a little ooze on the dressing when you go home, and there is no need to change it (Fig 2). If the dressing becomes heavily soiled as in Fig 3, please contact us for advice. You may take a shower with the dressing on.
Bruising is common and can appear a few days or weeks after you have gone home. It is usual for it to appear down the leg and up into the thigh in varying colours. It can be very tender and can take 4-6 weeks to settle.
It is common to experience pain, discomfort and stiffness in the knee for a number of weeks, this will settle over time.
You will have been provided with a prescription for painkillers on discharge. Take the painkillers regularly as this will help manage your pain.
Applying ice to the knee regularly during the day and even at night will also help with your pain. Apply the ice for a maximum of 30 minutes each time.
It is normal to have a certain degree of swelling to the knee. This can extend up into the thigh and down to the ankle and can appear a few days after you have gone home. Periods of rest elevating your leg on a stool or on the bed can help reduce the swelling. Swelling to the knee can last for several months.
PREVENTION OF BLOOD CLOTS
To prevent blood clots, you will have been prescribed a medicine both in hospital and on discharge. It is important that you complete this course. You may have already been on a medicine of this type prior to admission which the nurse will discuss with you prior to discharge.
You will also need to wear TED stockings for 6 weeks:
• Wear them on both legs
• They need to be worn day and night
• Remove the stockings daily for 30 minutes
• Inspect the skin daily for any damage or redness
• Moisturise your skin daily
• Remove the stockings when taking a shower.
APPLYING TED STOCKINGS
You may need someone to help you to apply the stockings.
Put hand inside stocking
and grab heel pocket.
Pull stocking inside out.
Place stocking over foot. Align
inspection toe hole to fall
under toes. Ensure the heel is
centred in the heel pocket.
Feed the stocking up the leg,
ensuring the stocking is 2.5cm
– 4cm cm below the knee.
Ensure the heel and toes fit
correctly, smoothing out any
excessive stocking over the toes
To get the full benefit of your knee replacement it is important you follow the exercise program you have been given.
• Carry out the exercises 3 times a day
• Aim to walk 3 times a day starting with 5 minutes, gradually increasing this daily by 1 minute to a maximum of 10 minutes in the first 2 weeks.
• You should arrange to see a physiotherapist 10-14 days following discharge or as instructed by your consultant or physiotherapist.
• Continue to walk with your 2 crutches for 4-6 weeks. Your physiotherapist and consultant will guide you on when to stop using them.
It is normal to find some exercises hard, particularly the leg raise and knee bend but it’s important you continue to do them in order to improve the flexibility and strength of the knee. The exercises will also help with any pain, discomfort or stiffness in the knee.
Click the following link/image below to download this brochure Post Operative Liaison Service Knee Replacement
POST OPERATIVE LIAISON SERVICE
Although you have been discharged from SSC we are still here to support you during your first 6 weeks of your recovery.
If you have any concerns or think you may be developing a problem with your knee you can contact the service and the nurse will be able to offer advice, liaise with your consultant and arrange a review if needed.