After you’ve had your knee or hip replacement surgery, you’ll be on an exciting path with your brand-new joint. You’ll want to make sure that you treat your new hip or knee implant with the best of care so that you can get on with enjoying life.
Following your procedure with us, we will explain the recovery process to you and provide you with specific aftercare instructions for your knee or hip.
Read on to find out some general advice for taking care of your implant, and when you can expect to feel comfortable with your new hip or knee.
Your new knee
After your knee replacement surgery, you’ll be encouraged to stand-up, with assistance, as soon as possible. You will be helped out of bed and to a standing position. You’ll have a walking aid, either crutches or a walking frame, and will use this to get around initially. When walking, you should move the walking aid(s) forward first, followed by the operated leg, then the un-operated leg last.
When it comes to kneeling on your new knee, your experience will be entirely individual. While some people can kneel without pain after a few weeks, others find that kneeling comfortably takes longer. However, as a general rule, once your scar is healed, you should be able to kneel comfortably on a soft surface. Once you feel comfortable with this, you can progress to a firmer surface, but may find it easier to use a cushion or kneeling pad.
It’s important that you avoid certain activities until your knee has healed, particularly those that involve twisting or jolting. With regards to driving, you should only do so when you feel comfortable enough with your knee to perform an emergency stop.
To help your knee heal effectively, you should follow the exercises provided by your surgeon, and make sure you are appropriately mobile. Everyone heals at their own pace, but most people find themselves returning to their normal routine within 6 weeks of their knee replacement surgery.
Your new hip
Shortly after your hip replacement procedure, you’ll be encouraged to mobilise as soon as you can. You’ll be helped out of bed to a standing position, and with the aid of a walking frame or crutches, will begin to talk short walks. When walking, you should try to ensure that both of your steps are equal in length, and that you spend the same amount of time on each leg. Remember to always land the heel of your foot on the ground first, too. As you recover, you can gradually increase your walking distance each day.
You might find that you’ll benefit from dressing aids, such as shoehorns and sock aids, in the first few weeks following your surgery. These will be useful until you feel that you’re flexible enough to bend by yourself.
In terms of driving, you should only do so when you feel comfortable enough sitting in a driving position, are pain free, walking independently and have a good range of movement. You should also make sure that you can safely perform an emergency stop before getting back to driving.
As you become more mobile, you should take part in gentle exercise such as swimming, walking, static cycling, golf, and dancing. Any heavy lifting or high-impact exercise, such as running, tennis or football, should be avoided.
Before you’re discharged, we will provide you with exercises to do at home that will help to aid your recovery. It’s important that you take time to do these and are appropriately mobile. Everyone heals at their own pace, but most people find themselves returning to their normal routine within 6 weeks of their hip replacement surgery.