Partial Knee Replacement
Disease Overview of Arthritis
Arthritis is inflammation of a joint causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis in which the joint cartilage gradually wears away. It most often affects older people. In a normal joint, articular cartilage allows for smooth movement within the joint, whereas in an arthritic knee the cartilage itself becomes thinner or completely absent. In addition, the bones become thicker around the edges of the joint and may form bony “spurs”. These factors can cause pain and restricted range of motion in the joint.
Causes of Arthritis
The exact cause is unknown, however, there are several factors that are commonly associated with the onset of arthritis and may include:
- Injury or trauma to the joint
- Fractures of the knee joint
- Increased body weight
- Repetitive overuse
- Joint infection
- Inflammation of the joint
- Connective tissue disorders
Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis of the knees can cause knee pain, which may increase after activities such as walking, stair climbing or kneeling.
The joint may become stiff and swollen, limiting the range of motion. Knee deformities such as knock-knees and bow-legs may also occur.
Diagnosis of Arthritis
Your doctor will diagnose osteoarthritis based on the medical history, physical examination, and X-rays.
X-rays typically show a narrowing of joint space in the arthritic knee.
What is Unicompartmental Knee Replacement?
Unicompartmental knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgery in which only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced with an implant. It is also called a partial knee replacement.
The knee can be divided into three compartments: patellofemoral, the compartment in front of the knee between the kneecap and thighbone, medial compartment, on the inside portion of the knee, and lateral compartment which is the area on the outside portion of the knee joint.
Indications of Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Traditionally, total knee replacement was commonly indicated for severe osteoarthritis of the knee. In total knee replacement, all worn out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint are removed and replaced with new artificial parts. Partial knee replacement is a surgical option if your arthritis is confined to a single compartment of your knee.
Surgical Procedure of Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Your doctor may recommend surgery if non-surgical treatment options such as medications, injections and physical therapy have failed to relieve the symptoms.
During the surgery, a small incision is made over the knee to expose the knee joint. Your surgeon will remove only the damaged part of the meniscus and place the implant into the bone by slightly shaping the shinbone and the thigh bone. The plastic component is placed into the new prepared area and is secured with bone cement. Now the damaged part of the femur or thigh bone is removed to accommodate the new metal component which is fixed in place using bone cement. Once the femoral and tibial components are fixed in the proper place the knee is taken through a range of movements. The muscles and tendons are then repaired and the incision is closed.
Post-operative Care Following Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
- You may walk with the help of a walker or cane for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery. A physical therapist will advise you on an exercise program to follow for 4 to 6 months to help maintain range of motion and restore your strength. You may perform exercises such as walking, swimming and biking but high impact activities such as jogging should be avoided.
Risks and Complications Following Surgery for Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Possible risks and complications associated with unicompartmental knee replacement include:
- Knee stiffness
- Blood clots (Deep vein thrombosis)
- Nerve and blood vessel damage
- Ligament injuries
- Patella (kneecap) dislocation
- Plastic liner wears out
- Loosening of the implant
Advantages of Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
The advantages of Unicompartmental Knee Replacement over Total Knee Replacement include:
- Smaller incision
- Less blood loss
- Quick recovery
- Less postoperative pain
- Better overall range of motion
- Feels more like a natural knee
Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology for partial knee replacement
We understand that making sure you know what to expect from your joint replacement experience is important to you. As you are reading through this material, if you have additional questions please reach out to us to discuss.
Each patient is unique, and can experience joint pain for different reasons. It’s important to talk to us about the reason for your knee pain so you can understand the treatment options available to you. Pain from arthritis and joint degeneration can be constant or come and go, occur with movement or after a period of rest, or be located in one spot or many parts of the body. It is common for patients to try medication and other conservative treatments to treat their knee pain. If you haven’t experienced adequate relief with those treatment options, you may be a candidate for Mako Partial Knee replacement, which may provide you with relief from your knee pain.
How Mako Technology works
Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology provides you with a personalized surgical plan based on your unique anatomy. First, a CT scan of the diseased knee joint is taken. This CT scan is uploaded into the Mako System software, where a 3D model of your knee is created. This 3D model is used to pre-plan and assist your surgeon in performing your partial knee replacement.
In the operating room, your surgeon follows your personalized surgical plan while preparing the bone for the implant. The surgeon guides the robotic-arm within the pre-defined area and the Mako System. The surgeon guides the robotic-arm within the pre-defined area and the Mako System helps the surgeon stay within the planned boundaries that were defined when the personalized pre-operative plan was created. This helps to provide more accurate placement and alignment of your implant.1
Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted partial knee replacement is a treatment option for adults living with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis (OA) that has not yet progressed to all three compartments of the knee. Depending on where the arthritis affects the knee, patients may have an implant inserted in any of the following areas:
Step 1. Knee CT Scan
Step 2. Knee Personalized Planning
It’s important to understand that the surgery is performed by an orthopaedic surgeon, who guides the robotic-arm during the surgery to position the implant in the knee joint. The Mako Robotic-Arm does not perform surgery, make decisions on its own, or move without the surgeon guiding the robotic-arm. The Mako System also allows your surgeon to make adjustments to your plan during surgery as needed.
Partial knee replacement
General indications: Partial knee replacement is intended for use in individuals with joint disease resulting from degenerative and post-traumatic arthritis, and for moderate deformity of the knee.
Contraindications: Partial knee replacement surgery is not appropriate for patients with certain types of infections, any mental or neuromuscular disorder which would create an unacceptable risk of prosthesis instability, prosthesis fixation failure or complications in postoperative care, compromised bone stock, skeletal immaturity, severe instability of the knee, or excessive body weight.
Common side effects of knee replacement surgery: As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery has serious risks which include, but are not limited to, peripheral neuropathies (nerve damage), circulatory compromise (including deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs)), genitourinary disorders (including kidney failure), gastrointestinal disorders (including paralytic ileus (loss of intestinal movement)), vascular disorders (including thrombus (blood clots), blood loss, or changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm), bronchopulmonary disorders (including emboli, stroke or pneumonia), heart attack, and death.
Implant related risks which may lead to a revision of the implant include dislocation, loosening, fracture, nerve damage, wear of the implant, metal sensitivity, osteolysis (localized progressive bone loss), and reaction to particle debris. Partial knee implants may not provide the same feel or performance characteristics experienced with a normal healthy joint.
The information presented is for educational purposes only. Speak to your doctor to decide if joint replacement surgery is right for you. Individual results vary and not all patients will receive the same postoperative activity level. The lifetime of a joint replacement is not infinite and varies with each individual. Your doctor will help counsel you about how to best maintain your activities in order to potentially prolong the lifetime of the device. Such strategies include not engaging in high-impact activities, such as running, as well as maintaining a healthy weight. Ask your doctor if robotic-arm assisted surgery is right for you.
Stryker Corporation or its other divisions or other corporate affiliated entities own, use or have applied for the following trademarks or service marks: Mako, Stryker. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respected owners or holders.
- Bell, Stuart W., Anthony, Iain, Jones, Bryn, MacLean, Angus, Rowe, Philip, and Blyth, Mark. Improved accuracy of component positioning with robotic-assisted unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. Volume 98-A: Number 8. April 20, 2016. pp 627-35.
Timeline for Knee Replacement (What to Expect)
Surgery Scheduled with Joshua Hickman, MD
- Review the information about your surgery at joshuahickmanmd.com
- Ensure that you have a preoperative appointment scheduled with Dr. Hickman or the physician assistant 1-3 weeks prior to surgery
- Make a list of all current medications including dosages and times taken. This must be brought to your preoperative appointment.
- Receive primary care physician clearance for surgery if instructed by Dr. Hickman's office
- Schedule an appointment with a physical therapist to start physical therapy 3-5 days after surgery. This should be completed before the preoperative appointment. You will be given a physical therapy prescription when you leave the hospital or surgical center.
One to Three Weeks Prior to Surgery
- Stop all anti-inflammatory medications (Diclofenac, Aleve, Naproxen, Ibuprofen, etc.) one week before surgery.
- If you are on a blood thinner, contact Dr. Hickman's office or be sure to discuss this at your pre op to determine when it needs to be stopped.
- Make sure to attend your preoperative appointment with any questions you may have.
- Notify your physician if you or any family member has a history of previous DVT/blood clot.
Day Before Surgery
- The hospital or surgery center will call with instructions and arrival time
- Bring your own loose-fitting clothing for therapy after surgery
- Nothing to eat or drink after midnight
- Bring a list of medications including dosages and instructions to the hospital
- If you use a CPAP machine, bring it with you to the hospital
- Scrub your knee and entire leg with the scrub brush given to you at your preoperative appointment. This is to be done the night before and morning of surgery.
Day of Surgery
- Upon arrival to the hospital or surgery center, you will have labs drawn and an IV placed
- IV antibiotics will be given 30 minutes prior to surgery to decrease the risk of infection.
- Before surgery, you will receive a nerve block, which significantly decreases pain after surgery
- You will be given spinal anesthesia (we work to perfect the optimal anesthesia and pain control as well as decrease nausea)
- You will be given minimal sedation to relax and sleep through the surgery but no tube will be placed down your throat, you will breathe on your own during surgery
- Surgery time is approximately 60-90 minutes.
- We will wear special suits and practice sterile techniques in an effort to prevent infection
- A small incision is made to preserve muscle
- The implant will perfectly match your anatomy and will allow for normal function and motion
- A bandage and ice will be placed on your knee
- You will be in the recovery room for approximately 45 minutes
- Specialized nurses trained in joint replacement recovery will welcome you to the floor. Our staff takes pride in serving your needs and routinely is ranked at the highest level of quality care
- Your diet will consist of solid foods and you will have several menu choices
- There are no restrictions on light to normal activities
- Important Tasks on Day 1:
- Sit up in bed, eat regular food, and drink
- Urinate on your own (if not within 4 hours of arrival on floor, notify the nurse)
- Deep breathe
- Stand and get out of bed with staff assistance
- Walk the halls with assistance
- IF THESE TASKS ARE ACCOMPLISHED AND ARE MEDICALLY STABLE YOU MAY GO HOME THE DAY OF SURGERY
First Day After Surgery
- Your dressing will be changed
- You will have physical therapy in the morning and afternoon
- An occupational therapist will discuss issues including driving, getting in and out of vehicles, getting dressed, and other helpful home tips
- A discharge planner will meet with you regarding home therapy or rehab center treatment if necessary
- You will receive a blood thinner to prevent blood clots and you will need to take as directed
- You will recieve pain medications orally as needed as well as an IV anti-inflammatory medication
- You will go home with the prescription for pain medication. GET OFF PAIN PILLS as soon as possible. Narcotics will not be refilled after 4-5 weeks postoperatively
- Please notify the staff of any issues with urinating but keep in mind that difficulty with bowel movements is normal (it could be several days before you have a bowel movement)
- You will receive instructions regarding your incision, medications, compression hose, and bathing before you leave the hospital or surgical center
1-3 Weeks After Surgery
- You should not have a dressing. If spots or drainage occur, you may cover the incision with sterile gauze and light tape (this is common)
- A brown bandage will be placed on your knee after surgery. That bandage may come off 1-2 days after surgery. Leave the clear adhesive dressing on your knee until your first postoperative appointment. We will remove the clear adhesive dressing.
- You may get your incision wet with soap and water, but do not soak it
- No hot tubs or under-water baths for 4 weeks
- Start outpatient physical therapy within a week after surgery
- If you go to a rehab center, you should not stay longer than 14 days, then start outpatient physical therapy as soon as you get home
- You may participate in activity as tolerated
- Walk multiple times a day followed by ice and elevation
- If you have a stationary bike at home, use this daily
- Fever around 100 degrees in the first week is normal
- It is common to have bowel difficulty, however, notify our office if you go several days after leaving the hospital without a bowel movement
- Some bruising, swelling and redness is normal
- Numbness, the size of two silver dollars can be expected on the lateral side (outside) of the knee after surgery.
- It is common to have some numbness around the incision
- Worrisome findings include: drainage from wound, redness that increases, shortness of breath or chest pain, fever of 102 or higher, and dramatic new leg swelling- contact Dr. Hickman's office immediately if you have any of these symptoms
3-6 Weeks After Surgery
- Many patients are walking near normal by 3-6 weeks after surgery
- It is common to be stiff and sore at the end of the day
- It is common to be stiff after sitting
- Most patients may continue taking anti-inflammatories as needed (as long as you have cleared to do so by primary care physician)
- You should need less pain medication and be completely off it by 5 weeks postoperatively
- There are no restrictions on normal activity, in fact increasing your activities as tolerated is good for your recovery
- Most patients will complete physical therapy by 6 weeks after surgery
- Worrisome findings include: drainage from wound, redness that increases, shortness of breath or chest pain, fever of 102 or higher, and dramatic new leg swelling- contact Dr. Hickman's office immediately if you have any of these symptoms
3-4 Months After Surgery
- Activity should be near normal and you may increase to heavy activities without any restrictions
- Most patients have stiffness and soreness at the end of the day
12 Months After Surgery
- Less Stiffness, however stiffness can still exist
- Sore at the end of the day
- Swelling should be near normal.
- You may always have some swelling or fullness in your operated knee.
FAQs for Knee Replacement
What happens after I schedule surgery?
Dr. Hickman's medical assistant will schedule your surgery with the facility you and Dr. Hickman have selected. The M.A. will then authorize this procedure with your health insurance company. Please understand that authorization is not a guarantee of payment and it is always a good idea to check with your insurance company also regarding deductibles, copays, and coinsurance responsibilities. You also should have selected a preoperative appointment in our office. This usually takes place 1-2 weeks prior to your surgery date.
How do I prepare for surgery?
Have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery. You should also wash your surgical site with an antibiotic soap (which will be given to you at your preoperative appointment). You do not need to shave over your surgical site, this will be taken care of in the operating room.
What time will my surgery be?
Your surgery time will be set by the hospital or surgical center. They will contact you on the last working day before the surgery. They usually call after 1 pm. Questions or concerns regarding the time of your surgery should be addressed to the hospital.
Should I stop my medications prior to surgery?
This will be discussed at your preoperative appointment. If you are taking Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or any other anti-inflammatories you will need to stop these one week prior to the surgery. If you are on Plavix or other blood thinners, please contact Dr. Hickman's office to determine when these should be stopped prior to surgery. If you are a diabetic DO NOT take your diabetic medications after midnight on the day of surgery. The hospital or surgery center will instruct you on which of your home medications you should take the morning of surgery.
How do I care for my wound?
Your incision will be closed with dissolving sutures under the skin. There will be no need to remove any stitches. You will go home with two dressings placed on your incision after surgery. The first is directly on the skin and is a clear mesh strip that should be left on for 2-3 weeks. If the strip starts to peel off, trim the edges. The second is an outer brown surgical bandage. The brown bandage should be left on for at least 1-2 days after surgery. Once your surgical bandage is off it is okay to shower and let your incision get wet. Let soap and water run across the incision. rinse clean and pat dry. Do not soak the incision for at least 4 weeks following surgery (no tub, pool, hot tubs, river, creeks, etc.). If you have any concerns about your incision you can email a picture to email@example.com
Do I need a motion machine after Knee Replacement surgery?
Studies show a motion machine does not improve motion or function after surgery. We currently do not recommend using one at home.
How will my wound look after surgery?
Redness and increased warmth around your incision can be normal. You may continue to note increased warmth for up to one year. If you experience significant drainage from your wound (drainage that soaks through a gauze pad in 5-6 hours), redness extending away from your incision or flu like symptoms, please notify our office immediately.
Do I need TED hose (compression stockings)?
Most patients do not need compression stockings after surgery. They do not help prevent blood clots but may be helpful for swelling for select patients.
Do I need an ice machine after Surgery?
We highly recommend using an ice machine to aid in your recovery after total knee replacement. Cold Therapy via an intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) and motorized cold therapy (MCT) machine is very beneficial following a total knee arthroplasty. MCT circulates cold water through a wrap over the injury or surgical site. Some of the benefits of MCT include: decreased postoperative discomfort, swelling, inflammation, and narcotic use, provides a consistent, comfortable and safe temperature for hours, and enables patients to control and self-regulate pain management at home. IPC mimics natural muscle contractions to increase blood flow, oxygen, and mechanically flush edema from the affected site. When combined with cold therapy, IPC has shown to: decrease analgesic drug requirements, improve range of motion (ROM) during post op recovery, provide better pain control and improve post operative recovery. We provide ice machines through our office. Unfortunately, we cannot bill your insurance for this item so it will be an out of pocket expense. Contact Dr. Hickman's office to inquire about purchasing an ice machine.
What about dental work after joint replacement?
All dental appointments should be avoided for the first 3 months following surgery unless in an emergency. Antibiotics before dental work are not necessary unless a tooth is being extracted for an infection or major periodontal procedures such as gum or bone surgery. They are not necessary for cleanings, cavity fillings, tooth crowns, or other routine exams. Contact Dr. Hickman's office if you or your dentist have any questions concerning dental work following your total knee replacement.
How long will I need to take pain medication after surgery?
Get off pain pills as soon as possible. You should anticipate discontinuing your pain medication between 2-4 weeks after surgery.
Will I need home health after surgery?
Dr. Hickman recommends outpatient physical therapy whenever possible. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be released to a rehab center or to home with home healthcare. In either circumstance, it is anticipated that you would complete rehab or home healthcare in 7-14 days. You should make every effort to work hard so you can get to outpatient therapy in no more than 14 days.
Will I need physical therapy after surgery?
Yes. Start outpatient therapy within 3-5 days of leaving the hospital or surgery center. Most patients attend formal therapy 2-3 times per week for approximately 6 weeks after surgery. You will be doing exercises on your own at home as well.
What will my knee feel like after surgery?
Some patients complain of painless "knocking" or "clicking" in the knee after surgery. This is very normal with a knee replacement and does not cause any damage. Many patients also feel stiffness or tightness in the knee for the first several months. Night pain is also often very common after surgery and can disrupt sleep for the first couple of months after surgery. Numbness, the size of two silver dollars can be expected on the lateral side (outside) of the knee after surgery.
Can I kneel on my knee after surgery?
Yes, you may kneel as tolerated. Most patients do have tenderness and difficulty kneeling the first few months postoperatively, but this typically improves with time.
I'm having difficulty sleeping after surgery, is this normal?
Yes, many patients complain of insomnia after surgery and night pain. This is very normal. Dr. Hickman does not recommend or prescribe sleeping pills.
How much will I follow up with Dr. Hickman?
Your first postoperative appointment will be 3-4 weeks after your surgery, then a follow up at 4 months after surgery, and again at 1 year after surgery. Then you will need annual appointments each year. Should you have questions or concerns outside of those time frames, please contact our office.
Physical Therapy After Partial Knee Replacement
Full recovery from your partial knee replacement surgery is going to take several months. Guidelines are included which discuss precautions to protect you new knee joint, exercises that increase your knee strength and range of motion, and activities of daily living that will help you become an active partner in your care and recovery.
Guidelines to Protect Your New Knee Joint
It is very important to KEEP YOUR KNEE STRAIGHT WHILE RESTING, never place a pillow under the back of your knee. Place your heel on a rolled up towel, ottoman, or chair so air is under the knee, push the knee down in extension. This is the most important stretch or exercise after knee replacement, this will help you regain full extension.
We encourage you to walk, get outside, and work on your motion. We strongly encourage the use of ice for the first few weeks after surgery. You will receive a polar care or ice machine which cools the knee which is particularly helpful after therapy.
Lying in Bed: You may lie on either side. Remember never to put a pillow under your knee. Keep your knee out straight while lying down.
Sitting in a Chair: Use a firm, sturdy chair with arm rests.Allow your foot to rest on the floor if you can. Use a cushion or pillow to raise you up, if needed, to facilitate getting out of the chair.
Walking: YOU MAY PLACE ALL OF YOUR WEIGHT ON YOUR KNEE. The physical therapist will teach you to use a walker or crutches when you walk until your knee heals. Most people are walking normally after 3 weeks. Most only use crutches to provide balance and to ensure a normal gait in the first few weeks of recovery. Once a normal gait is established you may discontinue using your crutches, cane, or walker.
Your balance might be shaky for a while, we recommend that you:
- Use handrails on steps.
- Use low-heeled or flat shoes.
- Avoid wet or waxed floors.
- Keep your floors free of items that could trip you. Throw rugs or small objects should be kept off of the floor for your safety.
- Watch for pets or other animals that could get in your way.
- Avoid ice or snow.
Showering: You may shower immediately after surgery. The dressing has an antimicrobial seal and is safe for showering. However do not soak the incision in a tub or hot tub for 4 weeks.
Driving: If you are riding in a car the first couple weeks after surgery, stop every hour or so to get out and walk around for a few minutes. This will help the circulation in your legs and keep your muscles from stiffening up. Check with Dr. Hickman when you can resume driving after your surgery. Driving is usually allowed once the patient is off narcotic pain medications and normal foot and lower extremity reaction times return.
Physical Therapy: It is important to start physical therapy as soon as possible after you go home from surgery (most patients start within one week of surgery). Call a physical therapy office to set up an appointment, you will be given a prescription for therapy when you leave the hospital. Select patients may need home therapy or to go to a rehab center, Dr. Hickman and the discharge planner will help with this decision.
Managing Activities of Daily Living Following Your Knee Replacement
Chair Transfers: Avoid low recliners and soft couches until otherwise told by Dr. Hickman. Stiff-backed chairs with armrests are ideal to sit in. If the seat is low, you may place 1 or 2 pillows in the chair to elevate the seat and facilitate transfers.
- Back up to the chair until you feel both legs touching the chair.
- Slide your operated leg out in front of you as you reach back with one hand for an armrest.
- Lower yourself slowly, keeping your operated leg straight out. Once seated, bend your knee comfortably, or keep it straight.
- When getting up, scoot your operated leg out in front of you until you can stand on it comfortably.
- Push up using the armrests, keeping your operated leg out in front of you.
Car Transfers: The front seat is preferable because it generally has more leg room, can be adjusted for comfort, and can allow the rider to more easily wear a seat belt.
- Make sure the seat is as far back as possible. Back up to the car with your walker or crutches. Put your operated leg out in front of you.
- Lower yourself slowly to the seat. You may roll the window down and use the car door frame, along with the headrest, to support yourself as you sit.
- Scoot back into the seat, then swing your legs into the car. If the seat is low, recline the back slightly or put a pillow on the seat to sit on.
- To get in the back seat in a semi-reclining position. You will need to use your arms and non-operative leg to scoot yourself back farther onto the seat.
After your total joint replacement, you may benefit from several pieces of equipment to make your daily activities easier and safer. Dr. Hickman and physical therapist will recommend the equipment that best suits your needs.Most patients need very few assist aids after surgery. Some aids may be recommended depending on your particular needs which are assessed in the hospital.
Seat / Shower Bench: This seat allows you to sit while bathing and provides you safety while you are in the shower.
Seat Cushion: Cushions are used to elevate the seat height of a chair, couch, car, or other surfaces.
Elevated Toilet Seat: This device is attached to your toilet seat to elevate its height.
Long-Handled Shoe Horn: This shoe horn is attached to a long stick and allows you to put on your shoes while sitting or standing.
Walking with Crutches
- The pressure or weight goes on your hands and not on your armpits. Nerve damage can result if weight is placed on the armpits for a long period of time.
- Keep your elbows close to your side to help keep the crutches against your ribs.
- Your crutch tips should be 2 to 3 inches out to the side of your feet so you do not trip on your crutches
- There should be a slight bend in your elbow when holding onto the crutches (15 to 20 degrees).
- Take your time and do not try to walk too fast.
- Keep your head up and look ahead. Do not look at your feet when walking.
- When walking on carpet, you must pick up your crutches and injured leg more than when you walk on tile or linoleum floors.
- Remove all throw rugs from the floor to keep from slipping and falling.
Going up with Handrail
- Place both crutches under your arm on the injured side.
- Grasp the handrail with your other hand, if possible.
- Keep the crutches on the stair you are standing on.
- Support your weight between your crutches.
- Bring your good leg up to the next step. Let the injured leg trail behind.
- Straighten your good leg and bring the crutches and injured leg up.
Going Down with Handrail
- Put the crutch on the lower step.
- Lower your injured leg down to the lower step.
- Support your weight between your crutch and handrail.
- Move your good foot to the lower step.
The day of surgery, the physical therapist will get you out of bed and help you walk with a walker or crutches as you are able. You will also start sitting in a chair for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. Before you go home, the physical therapist will teach you how to climb stairs safely to protect your new knee. They will also teach you basic exercises and send you home with a home exercise program. Exercise will help you regain the strength in your knee and legs so you can walk more easily.
Additionally, you may perform isometric exercises in bed right after your surgery to help you begin to recover. Isometric exercises will help your muscles begin to “wake up” after surgery and will help to promote circulation in your legs to prevent blood clots from forming. They may be performed throughout the day whenever you feel your legs becoming stiff. Remember to breathe in as you tighten your muscles, and out as you relax them. Breathe normally while you hold the position.You will need to start outpatient physical therapy as soon as possible (usually within one week of surgery).
The most important exercise or stretch after surgery is to work on your extension (getting the knee flat or straight). This should be done by placing your heel on an ottoman, chair, or on a rolled up pillow so air is under the knee, then push the knee down in extension. You should also work on flexion (the bend).
Below are some basic beginning exercises that should be performed until you can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions very easily. An advanced set of exercises is provided for when the beginning exercises are too easy. Remember to start outpatient physical therapy as soon as possible after you go home (usually within one week of surgery). Your physical therapist will help guide you through these and other exercises.
Ankle Pumps: This strengthens your calf muscles in your lower leg.
- Lie on your back.
- Bend your ankle and pull your foot and toes towards your head.
- Push your foot back down and point your toes away from you as far as possible, like you are pushing on the brake pedal of a car.
- Repeat with both legs 10 times every 2 hours throughout the day.
Quad Setting: This exercise helps your upper leg or thigh muscles.
- Tighten the muscles of your thigh.
- Keep your knees straight. Push your knee down into the bed, having your kneecap move upward toward your hip.
- Think about trying to raise your heel ½ inch off the bed.
- Hold for a count of 5 and then relax.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Alternate legs for 10 repetitions on each side 3 times a day.
- Squeeze your buttocks together. Hold for a count of
- Relax and repeat. Perform a total of 10 repetitions 2 times a day.
Straight Leg Raise: This exercise works the muscles of the upper leg and thigh.
- Keeping your knee as straight as possible, lift your leg off of the bed about 12 inches.
- Lower the leg slowly back to the bed.
- Relax and repeat.
- Perform 30 repetitions; resting as needed.
Knee Straightening Over a Pillow: This exercise works the muscles of the lower thigh and will help out walk without limping.
- Place a rolled up pillow or towel under the operated knee.
- While your knee remains on the pillow, lift your foot up, straighten the knee, and point the foot toward the ceiling.
- Slowly lower your foot back to the bed.
- Relax and repeat.
- Perform 30 repetitions; resting as needed.
Knee Bending: This exercise helps to improve the range of motion of your new knee.
- While sitting in a high chair, hang your leg freely to let gravity bend your knee. If this is too painful, let your foot rest on the floor and slide your heel back along the floor.
- Bend the leg back under the chair as far as possible.Straighten the leg back out in front of you.
- Relax and repeat.
- Perform 30 repetitions; resting as needed.
Another way to perform this exercise is as follows:
- Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor.
- Bend your operated knee, slide your foot back and plant your heel firmly on the floor.
- While keeping your feet in place, slide your hips forward to the edge of the chair and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Slide your hips back in the chair and relax.
- Repeat 10 times.
Stationary Bike: It is okay to start riding a stationary bike without resistance immediately after surgery. You can start by doing small semicircles with your operative knee straight down. Slowly rock the pedal back and forth causing your knee to bend. Gradually work towards a full circle. Make sure the amount of motion as well as the amount of time you spend on the bike starts at a low level and slowly increases. Monitor your pain and swelling closely and cut back if either increases significantly.
Avoiding Problems After Surgery
KEEP KNEE STRAIGHT WHEN RESTING - NEVER PLACE A PILLOW UNDER THE BACK OF KNEE - place your foot on an ottoman, chair, or on a rolled up pillow so air is under the knee, push the knee down in extension this is THE MOST IMPORTANT STRETCH OR EXERCISE after knee replacement.
WORK ON THE BEND - slide the foot under the chair, stretch the bend.
Blood Clot Prevention: Follow your orthopaedic surgeon's instructions carefully to minimize the potential of blood clots which can occur during the first several weeks of your recovery.We are very aggressive in minimizing the risks of clots and have been successful in significantly decreasing the risks of clots.
Warning signs of possible blood clots in your leg include:
- Increasing pain in your calf.
- Tenderness or redness above or below your knee.
- Increasing swelling in your calf, ankle and foot.
Warning signs that a blood clot has traveled to your lung include:
- Sudden increased shortness of breath.
- Sudden onset of chest pain.
- Localized chest pain with coughing.
Notify Dr. Hickman immediately if you develop any of these signs.
Preventing Infection : The most common causes of infection following partial knee replacement surgery are from bacteria that enter the bloodstream during dental procedures, urinary tract infections, or skin infections. These bacteria can lodge around your knee replacement and cause an infection.
Following your surgery, you should take antibiotics prior to dental work or any surgical procedure that could allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
Warning signs of a possible knee replacement infection are:
- Persistent fever (higher than 100 degrees orally).
- Shaking chills.
- Increasing redness, tenderness or swelling of the knee wound.
- Drainage from the knee wound.
- Increasing knee pain with both activity and rest.