Having total knee replacement surgery initially is not only a painful event but, also for some it can be an emotional roller coaster too.
In other words, between battling and trying to stay ahead of the pain curve and having days where you seem to be stuck and not making any progress, can weight heavily on some patients minds.
Many times I find that even though patients may have gone through a joint replacement pre-operative class at the local hospital, they still seem to be unprepared for the trials and tribulations that they will go through for the first two to three weeks when they get home.
The emotional highs and lows though not necessarily experienced by everyone, seems to affect both younger and older patients.
The healing process that I have mentioned in previous posts is not linear patients seems to expect that each day will get better and better.
Though many will admit they understand this is not the case, they still expect a quicker and steadier recovery.
The knee replacement is the Surgery that seems to be more variable with pain and swelling differentiation each day for the first few weeks.
Though this cannot be completely avoided, it can be better controlled by closely monitoring your activity levels and taking your pain medication as prescribed and elevating the affected leg while using ice or the cold /compression device that is popular today.
The day to day changes in pain and swelling will frustrate many even after explaining to the patient the causes and how to control it.
Also getting advice from 15 different friends and neighbors or reading knee replacement forums all day written by people who had the surgery in the past, will cause some to wonder if, they did the right thing by having the surgery, to why am I not healing as fast as my neighbor said he or she did 10 years ago?
The surgery is explained and sometimes presented and sold as something that will create a little inconvenience at first but ” you will feel better in no time”.
Therefore some will not understand the care and detail involved in keeping pain under control and, what are reasonable expectations in regards to the the time it takes to heal.
Understand that everyone will heal differently. Some people will progress a little faster then others and some slower then others. Some joint replacement surgeries may have been more complicated then others due to the arthritic damage therefore you end up with a longer rehabilitation.
Keeping an even response to the day to day highs and lows and learning to listen to your body in what it is telling you will help you from over reacting and becoming totally unrealistic in your healing process.
Being impatient as if that is some sort of badge of honor by the way, may be your worst enemy.
Hard work and dedication is important no doubt but, working yourself to death with the more is better workout plan is creating the perfect storm of increased pain, swelling , and many a sleepless nights.
Stay calm, give your surgery time and follow the instruction that your rehabilitation professional gives you and you will come out much better in the long run.
Richard Haynes PTA
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