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Do you have a loved one or friend who has scheduled total knee replacement surgery? You can always encourage them before surgery and you can send them a get-well card after surgery.
You can also help them with a gift after knee surgery. Many TKR patients are older and may be on a limited income. In that case, it’s a nice gesture to buy them a gift that will help them through their post-surgery recovery.
Since I have had TKR, I can recommend some useful items. Some are very inexpensive, some moderately expensive and if you want to, you can spend a lot of money on a gift.
In this article, I’ve chosen 12 items that were useful for me.
Most of the items were reasonably priced for what you get in return. Some items you can keep and use long after your surgery. Other items, once they are no longer useful, can be resold to others or donated to charity.
12 Gifts For People Getting Knee Replacement Surgery
Consider the purchase of a recliner to be a long-term investment. Choose a chair that will meet your needs post surgery and also provide many years of comfort after your TKR recovery.
Choose a chair that is comfortable and functional (my top-ranked chairs for knee replacement).
I spent more time in my recliner during the first month after surgery than I did in my bed. I spent most of my early days parked in the recliner and even left my bed several nights to sleep in the recliner.
It was much easier for me to ice my leg in the recliner versus my bed. Thankfully, I had a very comfortable recliner that not only reclined but also swiveled.
If your chair swivels, it will be easy for you to reach the necessary items you will need during the day without asking for too much help (see my article on preparing your house for knee replacement surgery). Choose a recliner that is easy to get in and out of.
Some chairs are very hard to get out of and you will find that you need a cane or a walking stick to help you stand up. Some lift recliners give you a boost to help you get up on your feet and out of the chair.
When you recline, you want your knee to be higher than your heart if possible both when relaxing and icing. Test out a few recliners and make sure your chair reclines so that your knee is above your heart.
Buying a recliner can be a very expensive purchase. There are several models of recliners that range from a little over a hundred dollars to those that cost well over a thousand dollars. Lift recliners can be very expensive.
I prefer a leather recliner as opposed to a cloth recliner. I have had both. Leather recliners are durable and can often last longer than your average fabric recliner.
You can dust leather or wipe it with a damp cloth and occasionally treat it with leather cleaner. If you have pets in the house, or even children, they may scratch and damage the leather.
Two benefits of fabric recliners are that they may feel more comfortable because of the softness of the material and they may cost less than a leather recliner. Fabric recliners with light colors may stain easier and may be more difficult to clean.
Stationary Bike or Traditional Bike
Both before and after my TKR, bicycling was an important part of my exercise and rehab routine. Traditional bikes and stationary bikes have made it easy to regain and maintain the range of motion in my knee joint.
I spent many hours bicycling before my surgery. I’m fortunate to live near lightly traveled country roads. It made it pleasant and easy for me to ride 6 to 10 miles 4 to 5 times a week prior to my surgery.
Once a week I would try to ride 15 to 18 miles. I have a stationary bike in my local fitness center but I did not ride it much before surgery, as I preferred to be outside riding and enjoying the countryside.
After my surgery, it was a different story. It took me some time to get back on a traditional bicycle. The first day of my off-site therapy the therapist had me on the stationary bike (my favorite stationary bike after knee replacement).
It has been a regular part of my routine at the fitness center even now, months after surgery. I use the stationary bike to warm up before I use any other machines or do any other leg exercises.
It can be a bit boring but you can listen to music, read a book or watch TV to help make the time go by quicker. The advantages of a stationary bike include being able to ride it in all kinds of weather.
You can have one in your home or in your garage. The more accessible it is I find the more I use it. Like the recliner, they come in all price ranges. If you do not have either a stationary bike and or a traditional bike before surgery, put them both on your wish list.
There are all kinds of nice accessories that you can buy someone for the traditional bike. At the top of my list are a comfortable seat and some padded bike shorts. Using your smart phone, you can measure your distance each day and chart your mileage. Don’t forget to wear a helmet!
I was introduced to my first ice machine within hours after my TKR. I had the ice machine attached to my knee throughout my short hospital stay. Thankfully, my son had the foresight to buy me an icing system.
I began using the system 3 to 5 times a day. I needed to begin icing my leg as soon as I came home so it was nice to have both an Aircast Cryocuff System and an Elasto-Gel Hot & Cold Wrap ready to go.
These are both great gifts that can be used years after your surgery and also by other members of you household. The wraps fit nicely around the knee with Velcro straps and can be used on many other injured parts of your body when necessary.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know I wrote an entire article about the importance of having the right shoes immediately after surgery. Your old shoes may have unusual wear especially if you have been limping and favoring your knee for a period of time.
My home therapist had me taking a short walk on her very first visit as well as each day afterward. So, have a new, comfortable pair of shoes ready to go.
Don’t skimp and be cheap. If you are buying a pair of shoes for a loved one, consider shoes that include air and extra padding in the sole.
If your loved one has trouble bending over, consider shoes with Velcro instead of traditional shoestrings. Other great gifts that go along with shoes are an extra long shoehorn and sock aides for putting on socks.
Walking Aides-Walkers, Walking Sticks or a Cane
My walker was waiting for me in my hospital room and I used it within hours after my surgery. I used it immediately to go back and forth to the bathroom and to do exercises in my hospital room.
I had to show my hospital therapist that I could effectively use the walker before I was given the okay to be discharged. I used the walker to get to my car and once home I used it all the time during the first few weeks until I was able to use my walking sticks.
I tried both a cane and walking sticks. I felt more comfortable using walking sticks. Some of my friends preferred a cane (my article on using a walker, cane, or walking poles).
You will need one or the other for stability for several weeks after surgery. Walkers come in many different price ranges. I suggest a walker with four wheels and a seat so that you can sit and rest when needed.
It is nice to have some sort of bag attached so you can carry needed items. Walking sticks and canes come in a variety of styles and price ranges. As I mentioned, I chose to use walking sticks that I will continue to use while hiking for many years to come.
You don’t have to buy a new wardrobe but a few items of clothing can make your recovery easier. If you are having surgery during mild weather, I recommend wearing athletic shorts.
Your wound is not covered and it is much easier to do your therapy in shorts.
Tearaway pants (check on Amazon) are a consideration if you are having your surgery during cold weather. I wrote about the importance of shoes above. Bending over and reaching your surgical foot can be a chore so socks that are easy to put on can be a big help.
I preferred long (traditional socks) versus ankle socks because they were easier for me to pull over the heel. Your surgeon may recommend compression socks.
A pair of compression socks can be a good economical gift and the patient may need them when traveling by air later on.
You may think you can stack pillows and be comfortable. It isn’t worth the hassle.
I didn’t think a wedge pillow was necessary but again thanks to my wife who bought me one as a gift, it was easier to use than regular pillows and I used it all the time when sitting in my recliner, icing my knee and often when sleeping in bed.
I still use it today, months after surgery when sitting in my recliner relaxing and elevating my knee. It is great to have around the house for other injuries like a sprained ankle or a sprain in your arm or wrist.
Another great gift is an electronic massager. You can’t beat a human massage but you have to schedule a massage or have a family member that enjoys giving them.
You can have a caregiver use the electronic massager on and around your knee or you can do it yourself. Electronic massagers come in different price ranges.
I like mine because you can control the different levels of pressure and it has multiple heads that you can attach for a different feel.
If you opt for hand massages by a caregiver or by yourself, don’t forget to use a lotion product like Free-Up. Free up is amazing and it can be an inexpensive gift.
If you are a caregiver, you can attach a homemade certificate good for a number of massages on demand!
Raised Toilet Seat
If you have a high sitting toilet seat you are lucky. Sitting down after TKR is a chore and you will initially need the aide of your walker, a cane or a walking stick.
A raised or portable toilet seat makes a huge difference. As you advance in years it might come in handy post TKR surgery (how to use the bathroom after knee replacement).
Raised toilet seats come in many styles and again there is a wide range of prices depending on how fancy you want to get.
Puzzles, Books, Electronic Toys
You have a lot of downtime immediately after TKR. I did a lot of reading and a lot of crossword puzzles while sitting in my recliner. Some people prefer electronic games.
Books, puzzles and games are all great gifts for someone recovering from TKR. Everyone loves a great book and you won’t spend a great deal of money.
Keeping busy helps the recovery time pass more quickly and keeps the patient happier.
Shower Stool and Shower Mat
You will not be stable on your feet immediately after your surgery. When you are given the okay to shower (for me it was on day 12 post surgery) you will need some assistance in the shower, I tried taking my walking sticks in the shower but they really did not work well.
Thankfully our shower has a built-in bench which made bathing for me much easier. Shower stools are relatively inexpensive and are easy to move.
You can use them to sit down anytime or anywhere. A good shower mat that doesn’t slip is another suggestion for a good gift.
Scar Gel, ChapStick and a Water Bottle
These are a few of some very inexpensive items that your TKR recovering patient will use. You can probably think of many more.
I started hydrating my scab and scar as soon as the therapist and doctor told me to. I always seemed to be thirsty and had dry lips especially when I was taking the prescription medication so lip balm was a must.
I was encouraged to drink fluids so a water bottle that holds a lot of fluid and is easy to manipulate would be a great gift.
A Get Well card is nice, but a functional gift can help make the TKR recovery process easier. You can buy yourself some of the above gifts or give your loved one or caretaker a list that they can share with family or friends.
I have only mentioned a few items that were useful during my recovery. You may think of more.
Looking back, not only were the gifts I suggested useful but now they seem essential. There are gifts across all price ranges and many of the gifts will last long past the TKR recovery process. I really appreciated receiving the icing systems and the wedge pillow as gifts.
I cannot imagine what I would have done without either. I hope this article has given you some ideas for some thoughtful and useful gifts for someone who is scheduling TKR.