Total Knee Replacement (also known as Total Knee Arthroplasty) is a surgical procedure that replaces the existing knee joint with prosthetic components. The joint surfaces of the thigh bone (femur) and lower leg bone (tibia) are replaced with metal implants that cover the ends of the bone. The surgeon may also remove the undersurface of the kneecap (patella) if indicated and replace it with an implant as well.
What Injuries/Conditions Cause a Total Knee Replacement?
Total knee replacement surgery is indicated when there is degeneration in the knee that causes pain, swelling and impaired function that did not respond to conservative treatments. Degeneration in the knee is commonly caused by arthritis. When the cartilage in the knee wears down and the joint surfaces are now carrying load, it will produce these symptoms, which will lead to functional limitations such as walking, stair climbing and even getting up from a seated position.
How can Physiotherapy Help with Total Knee Replacements?
Physiotherapy will help with decreasing pain, regaining your range of motion and increasing your strength after surgery. Your physiotherapist will answer your questions and help you achieve your lifestyle goals. They also play an important part of ensuring the surgery is successful with achieving range and strength gains in the initial weeks post-op. Prior to surgery, it is recommended that you try a 6-8 week strengthening and treatment program with a physiotherapist to help prolong or prevent the need for surgery.
What Should be Avoided with a Total Knee Replacement?
The surgery will help to diminish your pain and with physiotherapy you will re-gain your range of motion and strength to meet your daily functional demands. It is really important following surgery that you are seeing your physiotherapist regularly. However, you will need to avoid high impact activities (such as running or jumping) as that will accelerate the degradation of the prosthetic.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Total Knee Replacement?
Recovery from a total knee replacement usually takes around 3-4 months of rehabilitation. It will be important that you maintain a level of exercise and weight management so you continue to have success with your new knee.
What are Safe Home Exercises for a Total Knee Replacement?
It is important to begin rehabilitation immediately after surgery. Your physiotherapist will guide you through exercises and ensure proper technique. Some safe home exercises to do are as follows:
1. Straight leg raise
2. Knee extension over roll
3. Active assisted knee flexion
4. Side leg lift