Those Whove Had A Knee Replacement
With a knee replacement, you will want to be sure to elevate your leg while icing. This helps cut down swelling and inflammation, which speeds up healing. While icing, lay on your back and prop your surgical leg with 3 or more pillows. DO NOT put pillows directly under your knee as this cause stiffness . Pillows should prop your heel. When icing, keep your knee as straight as possible. Your surgical leg must be elevated higher than your heart.
- Once elevated, ice you 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Wrap ice in a tea towel, t-shirt, or thin cloth. DO NOT apply directly to skin .
- Repeat icing at least 3-4 times a day. If you think you would benefit from icing more frequently, ask your doctor if this is a good idea.
How long to ice a knee after knee replacement surgery? Its important to keep icing daily in the first 90 days of surgery and beyond. As long as you have pain and swelling, icing is a great tool to overcome these recovery setbacks.
What Is The Proper Way To Elevate Your Legs
There are two very easy ways to elevate your legs:
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Are There Any Precautions To Be Aware Of
If youre interested in trying leg elevation, there are some pointers to keep in mind.
First, if you have an underlying health condition, talk with your doctor to make sure its safe for you. This is always a good rule of thumb before trying any new therapy.
Your doctor may have specific tips on how best to do leg elevation for your condition. Its also possible that leg elevation may not be recommended for your condition.
Next, ensure that you have the appropriate support for your body. Be sure that youre lying on a surface that provides good support for your back.
Remember that your legs need to rest above the level of your heart. Because of this, it may be helpful to use a pillow to help elevate your legs. In fact, you may want to get a pillow specifically designed for leg elevation.
Lastly, its important to follow your doctors instructions if youre recovering from an injury or surgery. If leg elevation is part of your recovery plan, be sure to adhere to your doctors guidance on how often and how long to do so.
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How Far Should I Be Walking After Hip Replacement
In the beginning, walk for 5 or 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day. As your strength and endurance improve, you can walk for 20 to 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Once you have fully recovered, regular walks of 20 to 30 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week, will help maintain your strength.
Why Use The Lounge Doctor
One of the simplest ways to achieve better blood flow while youre healing is to use an elevating foot rest cushion so that your legs are in the proper position. Opting for a specialized post-surgery pillow is a much smarter move than relying on regular pillows or cushions that you find around your house. The difference is in the precisiona good leg elevation device will place your legs at the exact right angle for ideal healing, all while keeping you comfortable as you rest.
There is one word of caution with regard to leg elevation pillows. Contrary to popular belief, not all are created equally. The Lounge Doctor Leg Rest is the only leg elevation device that elevates the legs correctly. Its unique, ergonomic design is based on science to maximize venous blood flow and reduce swelling. It was developed by a board-certified vascular surgeon to provide the most medically effective leg elevation. If your goal is quick, safe and comfortable recovery, then the Lounge Doctor is the only choice.
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Keeping The Legs Completely Straight
You may have seen some other brands of leg elevation pillows that feature a completely straight incline, with no bend for the knee. Theres also a good chance you have elevated your legs without bending the knee if you have ever put your feet up on a wall or the arm of a couch. However, keeping the legs completely straight puts a lot of strain on the muscles and tendons of the knee and can cause significant pain. Gently bending the knees is not only more comfortable, its also less likely to result in further injury.
Dangers Of Doing Certain Exercises Too Soon
Performing movements or exercises that are too intense can increase the chances of loosening or fracturing the bones around the implant.
Pushing too much can also lead to increased pain and swelling around the knee, slowing down the rehabilitation process and making it more difficult to exercise.
Symptoms of pushing too hard during the recovery program might include:
- swelling of the knee or lower leg
- warmth around your knee
If you experience any of these symptoms, its best to back off of the activity and ice your knee for 15 to 20 minutes.
If the symptom persists, call your healthcare provider.
In most cases, leg length discrepancies do not require treatment.
However, if the leg length discrepancy is severe, surgery may be required to correct it.
Surgery may include:
- Reconstruction of the medial collateral ligament
- Reconstruction of the lateral collateral ligament
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Using A Regular Pillow
Clearly, you need to use a pillow when you elevate your legs. But a regular pillow on its own isnt enough to properly position your legs and raise them to the correct height. Some people advocate for buying a series of regular pillows and then safety-pinning the pillowcases together so they stay in a stair-like arrangement. However, its a huge hassle to purchase and then assemble all the supplies, and by the time you buy everything it wont be that much less money than getting a pillow specifically for leg elevation. In addition, the flat surfaces of a regular pillow wont be contoured to the shape of your leg, unlike the Lounge Doctor Leg Rest, which is contoured to the shape of the leg to evenly distribute weight so it doesnt put undue pressure on any one part of the leg.
How Long After Replacing One Hip Should I Wait To Replace The Other
If you suffer from severe arthritis in both hips, you could get both joints replaced at the same time . This might actually be safer and lead to quicker recovery in some patients, says Thakkar.
Having a double hip replacement reduces the risk of many complications that come along with anesthesia. Recovery is actually shorter but may require double the effort, because you would need to strengthen both legs at the same time. It may also be more challenging to get around the house initially, so you might need more support at home.
If you want to have two separate hip replacement surgeries, it is best to wait at least six weeks between the replacements to lower the risk of blood clots.
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How Do You Sleep After A Knee Replacement
Not well is the most common answer I hear in the clinic. Some clients will sleep in short episodes of 1-2 hours while others sleep in blocks of 4 hours. The best advice is to find a position of comfort and sleep as long as the position will allow. If you are unable to sleep in a bed, it is common to sleep in a recliner or on a couch for the first couple days or couple weeks. Some patients find sleeping in a recliner or couch allows them to maintain the best knee position while not worrying about waking a spouse.
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Exercises After Hip Replacement Surgery: 4 Weeks
In addition to walking regularly, most hip replacement post-op exercises strengthen your glutes to help stabilize your hips and restore joint mobility.
During the first four weeks post-surgery, Erica Fritz Eannucci, PT, DPT, physical therapist and HSS physical therapy manager, recommends these exercises for strengthening your glutes and improving hip flexibility. Do 3 sets of 10 reps per exercise three times a day for the first four weeks post-op.
According to a small July 2016 study in âPhysical Therapy Researchâ, preoperative gluteus medius muscle atrophy is a predictor of walking with a limp six months after surgery.
So by strengthening your glutes â particularly your gluteus medius, which is responsible for moving your leg away from your midline â you’ll be able to walk and do other activities more comfortably.
You want to avoid exercises that target your hip flexors, the group of muscles near the front of your hips, which can irritate the muscles. “For most patients, it’s not necessary to do a large amount of hip flexor strengthening after a hip replacement however, if patients desire to strengthen their hip flexors, I recommend they wait at least six weeks and preferably even longer,” Dr. Ast says.
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Exercises After Hip Replacement Surgery: 2 To 3 Months
Between the second and third month after surgery, you will continue to focus on increasing glute strength by progressing the exercises you’re already doing.
This will prepare you to return to full activities and exercises at three months, where most surgeons will lift activity restrictions except high-impact ones, such as running, Eannucci says. High-impact activities are generally allowed at six months post-op.
“At three months, people can return to hiking, tennis and generally feel very well,” she says. You can also start doing strength-training exercises with load, starting at a very light weight and slowly progressing.
“Outside of the gym, I would recommend adding exercises that strengthen your legs, core and balance. Squats, lunges and bird dogs are some of examples of what can be added at three months,” Eannucci says.
After three months, you no longer have to do targeted exercises for your hip replacement. Instead, you can do activities you enjoy.
“I try to encourage patients to continue their core exercises as these are probably the more important exercises long term, regardless of a patient’s desired activity level,” Dr. Ast says.
The Right Way To Elevate Legs After Surgery
Now that we know its extremely important to master the art of elevation for the best possible post-op result, lets discuss the best way to elevate the foot after surgery. Our founder, vascular surgeon Dr. Christopher Dickson, invented the Lounge Doctor Leg Rest foot elevation pillow to help curb improper positioning, which he saw often while in practice. According to Dr. Dickson, improperly elevating the legs after surgery can actually make healing worse instead of better, so understanding how to do it right is just as important as doing it at all.
The Basics: Lie on a flat surface, such as the bed or a sofa, with your legs elevated to about 6 inches above the heart. Using an elevation pillow for feet and a contour pillow to support the head will help ensure that your legs and feet are raised to the proper angle and height while keeping you comfortable. Keep thighs tilted to about 45 degrees, the knee bent and the lower leg tilted to between 15 and 20 degrees.
Need more info?Make sure to read this how-to guide to using the Lounge Doctor for more in-depth leg elevation instructions.
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Leg Length Discrepancy After Hip Replacement
Hip replacement surgery is performed as a treatment for severe arthritis of the hip joint. During a hip replacement surgery, the ball and socket of the joint are replaced with an artificial implant, commonly made of metal and plastic. After hip replacement surgery, some patients notice one leg may be longer than the other, most commonly the leg that had surgery. Why are leg lengths sometimes different after surgery?
Dont Fall Down A Slippery Slope: Why Icing After Joint Replacement Surgery
Icing is huge part of cutting down pain, swelling and inflammation after surgery. In other words, icing jumpstarts healing and helps to keep you more comfortable as you recover. Icing should be incorporated into your daily recovery routine alongside elevating your surgical leg, taking prescribed pain medications, completing physical therapy, and running through your assigned PeerWell ReHab app checklist.
Different physical therapists and doctors come with varying recommendations for how many times a day you should ice for and how long. Some care providers put a maximum cap on icing, while others suggest you ice as many times a day as you see fit.
In saying this, a good rule of thumb is to ice a minimum of 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time. Its especially important that you ice after therapy and activities or exercises that challenge your range of motion, endurance and so forth. This could even be a longer walk, after an hour of errands and so forth. Know when youre pushing yourself and be ready for an ice treatment afterwards.
Caution: Fresh ice directly on a limb can burn the skin and reduce blood circulation. This is very painful and bad for healing. For this reason, its safest to ice in 20 minute time blocks, with fabric protecting your skin from touching ice directly.
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What Are The Dos And Don’ts After A Hip Replacement
You have an important role in caring for your new hip:
- Do use crutches or a walker to assist with walking be safe, falls can be disastrous
- Do use pillows between your legs or under your knee on the side of your new hip replacement in bed to keep your operated leg out to the side
- Do continue to wear your TED stockings. A second pair can be provided for you at the time of your discharge so you have a pair to wear while washing the other pair
- Do continue the exercises that you have been instructed in by the physical therapist
- Do use assistive devices to put on shoes and socks
- Do use an elevated toilet seat or bedside commode.You may purchase one from a local medical supply store or possibly borrow one through your local community organizations
- Do avoid constipation. While you are taking narcotics, you may need to take a stool softener and a laxative
There are certain movements that place stress on your new hip and should be avoided until you are instructed to do otherwise by your doctor:
Keep A Snack Handy By The Bedside
Blood sugar dysregulation a fancy name for glucose levels that are out of wack post surgically is common. It is possible that you are walking up because your blood sugar is dropping. When that happens cortisol is secreted to bring it back up. Cortisol is the hormone that wakes you up in the morning. Melatonin helps you go to sleep, they work in opposite cycles.
Having a snack will get the blood sugar back where it should be and reduce the cortisol letting you fall back asleep. It is worth a try if you are staying at the ceiling tiles at 2 am in the morning.
You could also try taking melatonin tablets as a sleep aid before you go to bed. Melatonin is a better option than a sleeping pill.
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The Next Three Months
As you get stronger and are able to put more weight on your leg, youll have an easier time keeping up with your daily activities. Youll likely need less help than before with doing some basic chores and self-care.
It usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks to start feeling stronger and to be able to get around with less pain.
Youll still need to continue with physical therapy by going to regular appointments.
Walking at this point is especially important for your recovery. Youll want to walk regularly and avoid sitting for too long.
Your physical therapist will guide you on the appropriate protocol for your body, including how often to do specific exercises and stretching. However, a typical rule of thumb for rehab is that itll be more work upfront.
Keep in mind that after surgery, youll experience pain and stiffness. Working to stay as mobile as possible will help with managing your pain and stiffness.
Therefore, completing your physical therapy home exercise program multiple times throughout the day will be important.
Will I Need To Use A Walker At First
Your care team, which includes your surgeon, therapists and primary care doctor, will evaluate the need for any assistive devices. To reduce falls, you might need a cane or a walker if you feel unbalanced walking on your own, but its generally not necessary to keep weight off the hip that went through surgery.
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Ankle Pumping For Circulation
Do these exercises to strengthen your muscles.How often: 2 to 3 times a day
Do 10 repetitions of each exercise. If you are comfortable with the exercises, gradually increase the number of repetitions until you reach 20 repetitions.
Do your exercises lying down for the most comfort. Your bed is an excellent place to do your exercises.
Do your exercises lying down for the most comfort. Your bed is an excellent place to do your exercises.
Pump your feet up and down by pulling your feet up toward you, then pushing your feet down away from you.
Tighten the muscles on the top of your thigh by pushing the back of your knee down into the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Tighten your buttocks muscles by squeezing the muscles together. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Bend your surgical hip and knee by sliding your heel up toward your buttocks while keeping your heel on the bed. Slide your heel back down to the starting position and relax. Keep your kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling during the exercise. You may want to use a plastic bag under your heel to help it slide easier.
Slide your surgical leg out to the side, keeping your kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling. Slide your leg back to the starting position. You may want to use a plastic bag under your heel to help it slide easier.
Straight leg raises