Knee arthroplasty, or knee replacement surgery, can help restore the natural function of a damaged knee and aid in relieving the pain in a severely diseased or damaged knee joint. Knee arthroplasty is a common procedure that involves cutting away all diseased or damaged cartilage and bone from the shinbone, kneecap, and thighbone, which collectively make up the knee joint. Once the damaged bone is removed, the prosthesis, or artificial joint, is put in place.
Osteoarthritis and pain relief are some of the most common reasons why people undergo knee replacement surgery. Those who face challenges with climbing stairs, getting on and off of a chair, and walking, can also benefit immensely from this surgical procedure.
Prepare for Recovery
Safety and space are important in the road to recovery. Before going in for surgery, take a look around the home, especially the main area in which you will be spending most of the recovery time. Make sure it is spacious enough to allow for safe walking and to reduce the risk of falling. Consider the following tips to make this area safe:
- Remove loose carpets and rugs.
- Move all bulky furniture.
- Place toys or small objects in a box or in a different room.
- Keeping wires and electrical cords tied up and out of the way.
- Put away all items that are small or not used that often (e.g. small tables and knickknacks).
#2: Install Fall Prevention Equipment
You won’t be walking much immediately following a knee replacement surgery, but at some point, you will most likely gain mobility and want to walk around. This is why decluttering the recovery room and home is important. Other ways to create a safe space include:
- Installing handrails around the home, bath, and showers
- Adding handrails next to the toilets
- Using a raised toilet seat
- Covering outside steps with slip-resistant material or with ramps
- Putting an anti-slip mat over slippery floors or over the floor in the shower
- Using socks that are slip resistant or non-skid
- Having night lights turned on
- Having a walker or cane around at all times
#3: Prepare a Recovery Area
During the first few weeks, you will likely be sitting more than usual due to mobility limitations. Having a comfortable recovery area is important. The living room is the most common area, and is a good space to use as part of your recovery area. Geriatric recliners make a good choice for chairs, since they allow you to raise your legs. Sturdy footstools with a cushion available are a reliable second choice.
Consider keeping any books, magazines, devices, snacks, drinks, medication, or anything else you are likely to need or want, within arm’s reach of your chair so as to limit the amount of times you’ll be getting up.
#4: Move Your Sleeping Quarters
Stairs will be a challenge for the first few weeks of recovery, but this shouldn’t stop you from getting a good night’s sleep. Rest is essential to surgery recovery. To reduce the chance of falls due to stair climbing, consider converting a space on the main floor of your home into a temporary bedroom.
These tips are likely the best possible solutions for making your recovery from knee replacement surgery as smooth and as safe as possible.
Dr Nakul V Karkare is an orthopedic surgeon who is highly specialized in joint replacement surgeries and limb reconstruction. He is among the best surgeons for knee arthroplasty today.