Rehab after knee surgery
Dan Dzurida is a rehabilitation specialist on staff at Banner Estrella Medical Center.
Question: I’m having knee surgery next month and was told that I will need physical rehabilitation following the procedure. What is the real benefit of physical rehabilitation after knee surgery?
Answer: Knee pain and injuries are the most common musculoskeletal impairments in the U.S., as demonstrated by the roughly 12 million visits made to doctors’ offices for knee problems each year. Injuries, weakness or instability, overuse, and aging are all factors that can and do cause damage and pain to our knees.
Among the usual suspects of knee problems are tendon and ligament tears, fractures, dislocations, and arthritis, among others. As effective as surgery is at repairing or mending the damaged knee, physical rehabilitation is necessary to safely and successfully restore function by improving strength, stability, movement and range of motion.
Physical rehabilitation is absolutely vital to the recovery process, and the sooner it begins, the better the outcomes. Research suggests that those who get an early start to their rehabilitation, within 24 hours of the procedure, often feel less pain, experience greater range of motion, and demonstrate greater strength and balance than those who wait.
Additionally, early mobilization through physical rehabilitation can also help decrease the risk of complications, such as blood clots and infections.
Of course, the intensity, frequency and duration of physical rehabilitation depends on the type and extent of the injury or damage, the surgical technique performed, and the individual treatment goals agreed upon by you and your health care provider.
For most people, the success of the surgery is directly tied to their efforts and attitude toward rehabbing the surgically repaired knee. Yes, physical rehabilitation usually requires hard work, patience, and dedication, but the payoff is well worth the effort. After all, what’s the point of repairing your knee of you’re not going to use it?
Talk with your health care provider about any concerns or questions you may have regarding physical rehabilitation after knee surgery.