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In this article, I’ll share my thoughts on things you need after knee replacement surgery. I did research on the Internet and talked to friends who had had a knee replacement but I’ll admit, I wasn’t completely prepared when I came home from the hospital.
During my pre-operation appointments at the doctor’s office and at the hospital I was provided me with a wealth of information. But neither the doctor nor the hospital suggested things I might need after the surgery.
Some of the items I purchased beforehand but others I had to scramble to order or buy after my surgery. I hope this article makes you aware of the necessary items to have after surgery.
If you have them waiting for you at home your recovery will be easier.
Things You Need After Knee Replacement Surgery
Walker, Poles, or a Cane
The one item that you should have in your hospital room is a walker. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, my hospital physical therapist had me up and using my walker 4 hours after surgery.
Thankfully I had a walker in my room ready to go.
I used it in the hospital to take both the physical therapist’s walking test and to get to the stair test.
I also needed the walker the day after surgery to get from the car to my living room recliner. Once I got home, I used the walker most of the time for the first week whenever I needed to move.
You’re not going to be able to walk on your own or with a cane or pole the first few days after surgery. The walker is essential.
When I got to my hospital room there was a new walker waiting for me. I never thought I’d be using a walker.
My experience 40 plus years ago was to leave the hospital after knee surgery on crutches.
The hospital billed my insurance for the walker. I don’t yet know how much it cost but there was no doing without it.
I took it home with me and even though I’m no longer using it my home therapist suggested I keep it as it might come in handy as I age.
The walker has wheels that allow you to scoot around the house. During the first several days I used the walker putting most of my weight on my arms, keeping minimal weight on my knee.
The handles (sides) fold in flat for storage and can easily fit in a closet when not being used. Some walkers have hand breaks, a basket (for carrying items) and a seat that folds down for resting.
I really like the “Drive Medical” walker because it has all the features mentioned above, and still comes at a good price (only $10 more than the most basic walkers).
It has 4 wheels, brakes, a padded chair with a backrest, and a basket for personal items. If you’re age 50-70 this walker would be a wise investment not only for knee replacement recovery but also for future injuries or emergencies.
The Drive Medical Walker has over 5000 positive reviews from customers!
Between 1 and 2 weeks post surgery, I began walking around the house with hiking poles (or walking poles). I could have used a cane, however, I had hiking poles that I already owned.
The hiking poles were long and adjustable to match my desired height. They were also strong so I could rest my weight against them as I walked.
Hiking poles are good post knee replacement and they’ll last you much longer than the recovery period. I plan to use mine anytime I’m hiking or taking long walks.
Check out my article about the Best Walking Poles After Knee Replacement.
My son purchased a wedge pillow for me before my surgery. I had expected to just pile up regular pillows to elevate my leg.
I’m grateful he had the foresight to make sure I had a wedge pillow waiting for me at home. I had directions from the hospital to elevate and ice my knee often and within 2 hours of being home I used the wedge pillow for the first time while sitting in my recliner icing my knee.
Today is day 21 after surgery and I use the wedge pillow several times every day. I always use it when icing my knee whether I am sitting in my recliner or if I am lying on my bed.
I also use it if I’m sitting on the recliner for any extended time so that the knee is elevated.
The first few nights I tried using the wedge pillow while sleeping. I was still heavily medicated and found that my leg felt best stretched out straight on the bed.
I haven’t used it much to sleep in bed but early on I slept a lot in my recliner and my knee was always propped up on the wedge pillow.
I used the DMI Wedge Pillow shown in the picture to the right because it had over 1,000 positive reviews. It worked well for me too. It comes in a blue color and although it isn’t memory foam it is a sturdy pillow that holds its form over time.
The cover is removable and washable. It will also fit both legs if that’s more comfortable for you (I only elevated my right knee).
My recliner does not recline completely flat so I always use a couch pillow under my thigh and a folded bed pillow under my lower leg so that the entire leg was straight especially when I was icing or sleeping (pictured above: one of my best tips for keeping the leg straight and elevated is an extra pillow on the wedge pillow) .
Ice Packs / Aircast / Gel Wrap
Icing is essential after knee replacement surgery. You can fill plastic bags with ice or use frozen peas in a bag like I did years ago.
Having an Aircast and my Gel Wrap made the icing process so much easier.
If you opt for a product with ice, you need to have a well functioning ice machine in your refrigerator or your spouse or friends will be making frequent trips to the store.
Thankfully my ice machine kept up with my need for ice.
One of the great things about the AirCast Cryo Cuff is I only needed to fill the container once a day and it provided all the cold water I needed all day to fill the cast. I saved a lot of money on ice!
The Gel Wrap was even easier to use as it just went in and out of the freezer as needed. I always iced after any exercise and also if I noticed swelling.
I began by icing 5 to 7 times a day and then once I started therapy I usually iced after exercise sessions and before going to bed.
Related: Best Ice Wraps After Knee Replacement Surgery
There is no doubt in my mind that it will make a big difference in your swelling. You’ll feel the cold when you are icing (minimal 1 to 2 pain on a 10 point scale) but you will see and feel a big difference as time goes by.
I believe it’s helped reduce my swelling and I have minimal knee swelling in week three of my recovery.
Bathroom (Elevated Toilet and Urine Bottle)
I wasn’t prepared for using the bathroom after surgery – even in the hospital. My first experience 4 hours after surgery was a challenge.
I used the walker for the first time and headed to the bathroom in my room.
My son walked along with me pushing my IV’s alongside. Once in front of the toilet, I was told to leave the walker in front/over the toilet and that it was made so that I could pee while holding onto the walker.
This was my first attempt to urinate after surgery and it took at least 10 minutes to complete the task. It was hard to control my flow and hit the target, medicated and holding on to the walker.
Needless to say, I made a mess. During the night it was much easier to urinate in the hospital provided bottle.
I had pretty much the same experience the next morning during my only other trip to the bathroom with the walker.
When I arrived home I was prepared to improve my lackluster performance at the hospital. The bathroom near my bedroom was much smaller than the hospital bathroom.
I was able to get the walker in the bathroom and again I made a mess.
After this third attempt, I decided it would be easier and less of a mess if I just urinated in the bottle (provided by the hospital) and then poured the contents into the toilet. I repeated this method for the first several days.
It took me 3 days to have a bowel movement and moving from my walker to the low toilet seat took a lot of effort. Getting up was just as challenging.
When I transitioned to a walking pole it was just as hard to sit on and stand up from the toilet seat.
I would recommend that you rent or even buy an elevated toilet seat. I wish I had one, as it would have made things so much easier.
Essential Medical Supply (pictured right) has a handy elevated toilet seat with handles on the side. The seat easily hooks onto your existing toilet seat and raises it by about 5 inches (this is a lot when you’re trying to bend your knee and sit).
I like the added handles and it’s something I definitely could have used during the week following surgery.
My other big challenge was going to the bathroom at night. As I have mentioned several times before I was always thirsty and I drank water all the time.
Instead of getting out of bed, turning the light on and walking with my walker to the bathroom I decided to keep the urinine bottle on my nightstand next to the bed.
It sounds gross I know, but it was the best option at the time!
I used the walker to get off the bed and stand up. I urinated right there next to the bed and saved a walk to the bathroom.
The first 4 or 5 nights I had to pee like this 4 or 5 times a night. Often I would fill the hospital bottle so I kept an old sports drink container on the nightstand as a backup.
After 5 days I only had to get up once or twice at night. By this time I was using the walking pole.
I would turn on the light, walk to the bathroom and pee in the bottle.
Fluids and Pain Medication
The medical team encouraged me to drink plenty of fluid. That was easy to do because I was always thirsty, especially while I was taking the pain medication.
I drank at least 64 ounces of water a day plus other fluids with my meals.
The pain medication was essential for me especially during my early days of recovery.
As I mentioned in an earlier article, the volunteer who wheeled me to my car who had had TKR 10 weeks before told me he switched from his pain medication to Tylenol on the 2nd day and was not able to accomplish much during physical therapy.
He advised me not to make the same mistake. I did not.
Related: Aspirin and the Best Medicine After Knee Replacement
Don’t try and tough it out. Take the pain medication as directed until you can slowly wean yourself off. For me, the most important time to take it was before physical therapy workouts.
I believe I was able to accomplish more as evidenced by my continually improved flexion measurements. I took the Percocet on a regular basis, every four hours the first 4 or 5 days.
After day 6, I took less and less Percocet and on day 14-post surgery I took my last pill. I was prescribed 50 pills and the 12 that remained were never used.
Massager After Knee Replacement
After surgery I found myself massaging my thigh above the knee and also behind the surgical knee. I remembered that we had an old electric massager that we had not used in years.
After a few days of massaging my knee using my hand, I tried the electric massager on the lowest speed. It felt great on the thigh where the tourniquet was placed and also good behind the knee.
Soon my wife took over and would to the same areas plus the calf and ankle area below the knee. During the second week she gently began using the massager on both sides of the knee.
It was most effective right before I went to bed.
During my first visit to the off-site physical therapist, he emphasized the benefits of massage (both by hand and by an electric device).
Oregon Scientific (pictured above) makes a high-quality massager similar to the one I’m using. I’d recommend you keep the setting on low and focus on the muscles around the knee, not the joint itself.
The muscles, tendons, and ligaments are shocked after surgery and you’re physical therapy sessions will tire out your leg. An electric massager should help increase blood flow to the area and push out lactic acid (from daily workouts).
Long Shoe Horn After Knee Replacement
Before TKR I always used a small conventional shoehorn to put my shoes on. I did not have good flexion on my bad knee and the shoe horn worked much better than using a finger.
After TKR I only wore socks for the first few days. After my second session with my home physical therapist, I was assigned outdoor walks.
On day 6 after surgery, it was time to wear shoes for the first time.
Needless to say, I needed help with the foot on the surgical knee. My wife helped me with the aid of a small (conventional) shoehorn but I couldn’t use it myself.
That day I ordered an extra long shoe horn and was finally able to put my shoes on by myself. It was a nice feeling to do it on my own and not be dependent on another person when putting my shoes on before a walk.
The long shoe horn, pictured right, is made by the Vive company and sold on Amazon.
Be prepared to use the long shoe horn up to a month after knee replacement or have someone help you put on and take off your shoes!
Don’t Forget Home Care (Someone To Help You)
Remember, you can’t do this alone. If you don’t have family or friends around to help you recover you’ll want to hire a medical assistant (home nurse) for the first two weeks.
If you can afford 3 weeks it’s even better but after 2 weeks you’ll be moving around enough to make food, go to the bathroom, and sleep using only a cane or hiking poles.
>> read my article about what to wear after knee replacement
I’ll admit, it’s tough having to rely on other people to help out but having family around is a valuable resource. I was able to focus on my physical therapy, icing, elevating, and resting, and I didn’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or answering the phone/door.
In addition, you won’t be able to drive in the first few weeks after surgery. It will be even longer if you have surgery on your driving leg (right leg in the U.S.A.) or if you use a manual transmission.
When you begin going to a physical therapy office the logistics of driving might be a problem. Of course, you can always hire a taxi or Uber to get around!
I was never advised by my doctor or by the hospital to borrow or purchase useful items for my home recovery. My first bit of luck was that the hospital provided me with a walker (compliments of my insurance company).
Thankfully my son bought me the wedge pillow and the icing Cryo Cuff, which were both essential items that I needed at home. I have used the wedge pillow and the Aircast Cryo Cuff every day since my surgery (day 22 today).
I was also fortunate to have two hiking poles at home when I was told to transition from the walker to either a hiking pole or cane. Drinking fluids and taking your pain medication will be essential for your recovery and will make therapy sessions easier and more fruitful.
Consider getting an elevated toilet to put over your existing toilet. This would have saved me a lot of pain and uncertainty when I went from my walker to the toilet seat.
If you are a male, consider urinating in a bottle both at night by the bedside and also in the bathroom.
Consider buying an electric massager to use on your leg. You can use it yourself or have a loved one operate it.
The more you prepare ahead of time for your return to home the better and easier things will be.
Think ahead and purchase or borrow the items that will make you most comfortable. Being prepared will also speed up your recovery.
Thanks for reading “things you need after knee replacement surgery”!
47 thoughts on “7 Things You Need After Knee Replacement Surgery (My Recommendations)”
Thanks! I am facing this surgery in two months and this info is extremely helpful! I am making a list and striving to prepare my home and lifestyle for this season of change. Thanks for sharing so much information!
You can never be too prepared. I was in a similar position as you with a few months notice. I’m glad I took the time to do my research and get myself in decent condition going into surgery. We will all have a slightly different experience and I hope my experience helps. Best wishes to you!
Thank you Ken,
Great information and advice, I am having a reconstructive knee replacement done this month to correct damage from a partial replacement last year. I was prepared for that one but will be more so this time around. I never considered the massager until now.
Thanks so much for this. I am laying in a recliner having had TKR 14 days ago. It has been tougher than I imagined. I definitely would of not made it this far without my husband, friends and family. The walked and ice machine have been a must have.
Getting pain under control and getting a good night’s sleep is of utmost importance. Thanks for this balanced and helpful article.
Ken, did you get the 8” or the 10” wedge?
I went with the 8″. Worked great!
Thank you for all of your advice helped so much I am going on this website called let go and since most of the stuff I can find for free or minimum price I will definitely start getting my house in order for my surgery. My surgery date is scheduled for June the end of June and at this point in time today being March I will spend the next few months purchasing everything that you suggested thank you so much. Adrian
Adrian, my surgery is scheduled for June 29 (TKR) and 2nd one Oct. 9th 😬.
I am very nervous but Ken’s blog has been helpful. I am going to be purchasing some of the stuff mentioned but not sure what insurance will cover. Health info is a clear as mud. Good luck and I will check back to see how you are doing.
Karen if you have the surgeries that close. I was July and thanksgiving. I got in a pool way before surgery and as soon as I could right after. You can do everything in water you can do out of water. But better and less pain. The water resistance helps. Put weights on. Walking in water is great. I was swimming two miles before the second surgery. More than half the laps arms only. I did pool therapy before laps. So was a bit much for the knees at the beginning.
By the way. I did my surgeries when work was slower. Why thanksgiving. December slow. If you can do surgery during a holiday. It is amazing. Nobody does. So everything faster, not a full floor and
had the same physical therapist the whole time for second surgery. Morning and afternoon. Never remotely had that the first surgery. Huge benefit. They know where you left off and they know when you can be pushed.
Thanks for the good tips, should be helpful
No problem. Best wishes to you.
Thank you so much! my mom is having surgery next week. i have been doing do much research on getting prepared for her surgery and you blog has by far helped the most. i’m buying everything on your list. thank you again for taking the time to write this!!
Good to hear and thanks for reading. I’m glad my experience can help. Best wishes to your mother! Keep her moving after surgery!
Thanks do much for this. I am due to have my TKR in just under 2 weeks so really was chuffed to have found your list.
Thank you and kind regards
Glad it could help. Thanks for visiting my blog and best wishes to you! Let us know how it goes!
Thank you for taking time to share your experience of having a knee replacement . I will have my left knee done on the 28Th. of May. Your article will help me to be more prepared. Thanks.
Thanks for stopping by. Prepare yourself, the surgery isn’t bad at all, but the first two weeks will be a challenge. Nothing you can’t handle!
Ken, what equipment is covered by Medicare? Hate to go buy everything then find out it would have been covered. Most important is the icing machine (cyro cuff).
The things I’ve mentioned weren’t covered by medicare. In some situations, the walker might be included (double check with your doctor’s office). If you want, you can get by just fine without the cryo-cuff and just use the ice wrap.
More useful advice, Ken!
— They say they’ll provide a walker, but only the 2-wheeled variety. The 4-wheel was not recommended! Looks like I won’t get to choose…
— It was incredibly helpful to hear about the pain meds. With an earlier surgery, I got off them right away.
— And I’m concerned! I live alone, and figured I wouldn’t need help at home. Now, I wonder. (I’d think the doctor would arrange help if needed?)
I’m 5 weeks post left TKR
I’ve had a banister fitted on my internal stairs right hand side, the banister on the left isn’t great and rather than remove it (very messy) just got a better rail on the opposite wall. I am awaiting one on my outside stairs – only 3 steps but they make me feel anxious!
I use a small cross body bag (actually a clothes peg bag) for carrying stuff up and down stairs – very useful.
I ice regularly, do my exercises, try to use my walking stick indoors as I think I was hobbling a bit and straining my leg.by not using it. Still not sleeping very well and occasionally getting night sweats. Taking 2 paracetamol a day, occasionally take another .
I still remember what mine felt like after 5 weeks – still struggling but improving. Granted, I didn’t have to walk up and down stairs! Good to hear you’re working hard and hanging in there. I started to feel pretty good around month 3. Keep working hard and have a long-term outlook!
Thanks so much for the information, I’m from Illinois and 46. I went to 5 doctors here and no one would do surgery so July 3rd I’m off to New York City to have a new knee put in. I need 2 but just doing one now. I will be staying in the NY for 3 1/2 weeks and starting physical therapy and then returning to Illinois to finish up. I’m trying to read as much information to know what to expect. Positive side I will have my brother there since I’m having surgery at the hospital where he works.. Again thanks for the information!!
Thanks for sharing this information I going to have my knee replacement on 3/18 and this is very helpful I was planning on but I thought it would be easier than my hip replacement but I guess not. thanks and God bless you
What support groups are out there? My surgery was three weeks tomorrow
Great information! You are right on the money!! I’m 3 weeks post op on my left TKR and 7 months on my right TKR. It does get so much better each week! Thank you for sharing!
Hello, I am 10 weeks post op today, somedays are easy… some are not. I agree with everything Ken has shared. I did expect to be further along by now. I can walk without the excruciating pain I had prior to surgery. I am almost 69. I am still in PT and today the therapist thought I have developed tendonitis. Pretty painful. So now I am icing and alternating with heat. Sleeping has been tough as I am a side sleeper and it hurts to do that. I have my 50th class reunion coming up at the end of August. I really hope I see more progress between now and then. I know every person is different, but curious if I am too impatient? I can do a short shopping trip and church but not much else. Therapy is my life work these days. 🥴 look forward to any opinions.
Thank you for the suggestions. I plan on having my husband read the article. He feels I won’t need help that he and our Grandson will be able to take care of things. I am not going to have a fifteen year old Grandson take me to the bathroom. My husband has Parkinson’s Diease and is not able to message my leg now. So he could never lift my leg off the bed. We live eleven miles from town and my surgery will be done at a hospital sixty-five miles away. Needless to say the twenty one days to surgery is flying by. I found out a week ago I would have a TKR with a second down the road. I’m scared about afterwards. The surgery will just be another on my history sheet. I have no family or friends able to come out here to help. Thanks.
Best wishes to you and your recovery. The first week will be challenging but you’ll be on your feet and moving around in no time.
im 3 week after op my wife has been awesome still use one stick for walking but getting better. you cant rush these things just keep bending knee.hoping to drive soon left knee was done earlier in year had left hip done need to get back to gym
but await ok from doc.TAKE CARE EVERYONE AND DONT OVERDO IT
George (willerby hull England)
Glad you’re making a come-back! Best wishes!
Hello. It has been very interesting reading everyone’s personal stories. It gives insight of what I need to prepare and expect when I have my surgery in 5 weeks. I’m actually having double knee replacement and was wondering if anyone has had that? I do have my sister & family helping me post-op. I have a pool, walker and an exercise bike. At present I’m trying to be fit & healthy for the aftermath of surgery. Clothing tips were great. My focus is to get on with it and not be hobbling on my weak knees anymore! Any extra tips are appreciated for double knee replacement thank you ☺
Kerry, how did you go with your double knee replacement? I due to have mine done on September 16 and would be interested to hear how you managed. Thanks.
Just had a TKR 7 weeks ago. Did the gym faithfully before surgery and only required 5 physio treatments. Now back at the gym and all is good. I used the cryo cuff for this surgery and also 4 years ago for my other knee. I swear by it and I put water into plastic containers and froze it did not have to spend any money on ice.
I didn’t think of the ice in containers for the cryo cuff. I might have to update my article to mention that tip. Thank you! Glad you’re recovery is going well!
Two weeks from my TKR and concur with most everything. The pee bottle was a lifesaver. One of my bathrooms has a sink on one side and I used the door jamb on the other side to lower myself onto the toilet. Worked fine as my toilets are the senior variety and therefore a little higher. I did buy a self standing toilet seat at Amazon but found it less comfortable and way to small for me. (6’2”, 230 lbs.) I used it far more often in the shower as I could just sit on it and wash with my detachable sprayer head. After two weeks, packed it away and just stand in the shower almost like normal.
I was walking that day of surgery and everything was wonderful until the spinal wire off. (About 30 hours). At that point, it hurt much more to walk and do everything else. Thought it was going to be easy until the meds quit working. Glad I stayed 2 nights as I wasn’t ready after one.
Fortunately I have a wonderful wife who was incredibly understanding and helpful. If you don’t have a spouse, definitely hire a nurse.
Progress is very slow but after two weeks, I did not need the walker and was able to get around okay. I still use it for exercise since it provides me with a device for stability when concentrating on heel toe.
I am about 75 degrees after two weeks and hope to be 90 by the end of week 3. Hurts to do some of the exercises but it’s a race against scar tissue that you don’t want to lose.
Sleeping was a problem, especially after quitting the hydrocortisone. Took unison to help but still very difficult to get comfortable. Still having problems but slept on my side today and that was a breakthrough.
Great information! Just had my 2nd knee replacement It was helpful to already have most items available.
Just a couple tips – my insurance would pay for a walker OR cane. I found a perfect walker for $7 at the Good Will. I also had Crutches but didn’t use them.
Don’t forget to keep non slip socks, chap stick and hand lotion handy! Sweat pants or sweat shorts depending on weather are perfect – make sure they are loose and stretchy. Also comfy soft tshirts are nice. This way if you fall asleep or take a nap you will be comfy and if someone stops by to visit you don’t feel like you have your pajamas on. You definitely need help afterwards and shouldn’t be alone.
One thing I can’t stress enough is to do your research and go to a very qualified and well respected surgeon as well as PT.
Good luck you are going to feel great one day soon!
Good tips, I like the Goodwill option! Thanks for sharing and I wish you continued recovery.
I am 43 and just scheduled both my TKR’s today. Right side scheduled for March 31 and left side for May 12 depending on how the right side recovery is going. For me it’s severe OA in both and likely due to a genetic anamoly. My Ortho is using the makoplasty approach which involves robotic arm assistance and allows for better recovery and apparently smaller incision. I am so nervous for this. I was okay saying I have to have my knees replaced but now that I’ve actually scheduled it because I can’t take the pain anymore it’s a whole different ballgame now. I’ve been doing steroid injections every 3 months for well over a year to control it but I’m only getting 8 weeks at best now without having to pop ibuprofen all the time. So much to try and get done in the next 6 weeks….
Good to hear you’re preparing well in advance. Hard work and planning helped improve my recovery. Wish you a successful surgery and thanks for the comment.
Am going to use my hand held massager tomorrow, thank you . Had my TKR on Feb 10 and was doing okay until I fell in week 5 . PT said I had gone back to week 2 with all the swelling , such a struggle to regain the ROM I had . Surgeon can’t see me due to the coronivirus, just said I should be fine .Pain and stiffness worse now.Feel encouraged by you and others on here , very much appreciated.
Thanks for reading. You’re finished with the hardest part, but keep working hard. I got improvements (though slowly) all the way through the 1st year.
I have been avidly reading all of your posts on TKR, both well before surgery and post surgery. I had mine done 6 days ago. I was lucky that my original booked date from 4 months earlier was able to proceed as here in Australia elective surgery was cancelled but only for 4 weeks, it was at 2 weeks notice though.
No one tells you all that much, especially about equipment for home, recovery and what to expect so your advice helped. The only thing I forgot was the wedge pillow, which I ordered this morning, as the swelling is what is bothering me the most., and yes the pile of pillows keeps falling over. I also felt that as I was younger health carers made assumptions about my recovery as I am in really good health with nothing chronic other than the knee at 58. I had issues with nausea, low blood pressure and getting enough oxygen in my blood.
I struggle most with sitting ( a surprise for some reason) as bending the leg at 90 degrees seems a long way off, my bed for now is my desk. It would be easy to give up on physio as the exercises hurt..a lot but feels like I am making progress. I was grateful I did some prehab exercises like walking, cycling and yoga (albeit modified) has helped with some flexibility in my back- useful for picking up things off the floor and putting shoes on now.
Thanks for the comment and glad to hear you’re on your way to recovery. The first two months are challenging, stay focused on the long term and focused on range of motion early on. Just returned to the States from a few months in NSW. Cheers!
Thank you have not have a date yet thank you for all your ideas want to prepare For knee surgery are the walking poles helpful.
Different strokes for all of us. I had my left knee replaced in OCT 2019 and agree with many things you say but, as stated, we’re all different.
I had big problems w/ opioids – nausea, hives, crashing blood pressure and even an hallucination on a half dose of the prescribed percocet. Stopped Percocet and a second, successor pain med after 3 days. Extra strength Excedrin was enough for me. Just saying it pays to be careful w/ prescribed pain killers and it wasn’t that difficult in my case to go without.
Three key points I feel are extremely important:
1. Your new knee will be pushed hard in PT and the general area around your joint will ache as you work it but, at least in my case, any pain that arose dissipated quickly after icing. It never was knives and needles type pain, just heavy aching at times.
2. It may have been stated elsewhere but I don’t think you can do enough stretching and balance exercising before TKR. Especially balance. I’ve always been very active (hiking, sailboat racing, backpacking) and worked out a lot which helped but I asked my doc if he could get me into PT prior to surgery to begin getting ready. I worked out for a year on specific exercises and feel it helped a whole lot. Post surgery I kept the walker handy but didn’t use it (except at night) after three days, used the cane for about two weeks then carried it only in case of need. Had stairs in the house (which is where I used the cane primarily) and was using them after 5 days.
3. Grab bars in the bathroom and non-skid mats to stand on in the shower and on the floor outside of the shower.
It also helped to work on things like bathroom use, getting into and out of the car, navigating around furniture (especially w/ a walker), getting into and out of bed, dealing w/ movement at night prior to surgery, all while ensuring that the surgical knee was held straight. I also recommend having knee surgery in warmer months so that short pants without shoes and socks (no flip flops though) can be worn more frequently. Kinda hard pulling up socks, getting shoes on and pushing a knee that doesn’t want to bend through the long tube of a pant leg.
Final note: My work career was primarily in the medical device and implant field. I worked with a major manufacturer of all types of orthopedic joints including knees (watched many surgeries and taught a lot of surgeons how to install knee and other joints w/ our tools). We performed a study at one point on sterilization that concluded the first surgical case of the day had the highest probability of being the most infection free. This was due to the fact that all of the surgical tools were sterilized overnight in a deep soak (stem, chemical or gas) process that might not be able to be used between cases during the day due to time constraints. The first case also has a high likelihood of the surgical team being the most alert they will be during what can be long, grueling days. Shoot to be that 5:00am procedure if you can.
Thanks Tom. I haven’t kept up with the comments!
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