What should I avoid after knee replacement?

Knee replacement, also called knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that is done to replace the parts of the knee joint. The aim of this surgery is to relieve the pain and provide relief from other symptoms. The cost of knee replacement surgery depends on the type of surgery – unilateral or bilateral, type of implant and the technique used. The Knee Replacement cost in India is significantly lower than the cost of the same procedure in Western countries, but with equally good quality of treatment.

knee replacement

After a knee replacement surgery, the patient needs to take a number of precautions to prevent damage to the knee implants and help proper healing post surgery. The first few months after the surgery are very crucial. The following are some precautions that one should take to ensure good recovery and longevity of the replacement.

While getting dressed

If you have recently undergone a knee replacement –

  • Avoid wearing your pants while standing, rather sit on a high chair while doing so as it will make you more stable.
  • Bending should be avoided. You can use assisted devices or choose to wear lace-less shoes, arm reachers, or have aid to put on socks.
  • While dressing, first start with the leg on which the surgery had been performed.
  • While undressing, first undress the leg on which the surgery had been performed

    While sitting
  • Change your position every 45 to 60 minutes while sitting.
  • Keep the feet and knees facing forward, do not bend them in or outwards.
  • After the surgery avoid sofas, rocking chairs, or stools. Prefer firm chairs with a solid backrest and armrests.
  • While getting up from a sitting position, first slide to the edge of the chair and then take the support of the armrests and get up.

    While bathing and showering –
  • You can prefer to stand in the shower, but try sitting and use special shower chairs and some aid.
  • Use a rubber mat or a bathtub mat. Keep the floors dry to avoid slipping.
  • Use a reacher to grab stuff, do not bend to pick stuff up.
  • Use a long-handled brush to shower yourself, rather than stretching and causing pain.
  • Use an elevated toilet seat, to keep the level of the knees below the hip.

    While using stairs –
  • When stepping up, step first with the leg that was not operated.
  • When stepping down, step first with the leg that had undergone replacement.
  • Start with small steps or one step at a time, till the muscles regain the strength.
  • Make sure to take support from the side railings while using stairs.
  • Long flights of stairs should be avoided, at least till 2 months from the surgery.

    While walking –
  • Using a crutch or a walker for the first 4-6 weeks from the surgery are generally advised. Follow the advice given by your consulting surgeon.
  • Do not put unnecessary weight on your knees. Always keep the knees as straight as possible.
  • While turning, take small steps. Try avoiding pivoting of the leg that underwent the surgery.
  • Wear shoes which are non-slippery, avoid wearing footwear like flip-flops which increase the chances of slipping.

    While getting into a car/riding –
  • While getting in –
  • Step into the car from a street level, rather than from the curb or door level. Have the seat pushed as far as possible to create room for getting in.
  • The seat height should not be too low, put a pillow on the seat to raise the height and then comfortably slide into the seat.
  • While riding around –
  • Break car rides, do not sit in the same position for more than 45-60 minutes. Try getting out, walk and stretch before continuing the journey.
  • Do simple exercises like ankle pumps while riding around, this reduces the risk of blood clots.
  • Take pain medication on the first ride home.
  • While getting out –
  • Scoot and lean out, and make someone help you get out of the car.
  • Standing on both legs, and use crutches or walker to take support.

    While lying down
  • Lie flat on your back, while exercising regularly in the same position.
  • Do not place a pillow below your knees. Keep the knees as straight as possible.
  • If you feel like raising your knees, keep them straight.
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Activities to be completely avoided

Soccer, football or other contact sports are to be avoided entirely. Other necessary precautions can be – 

  • Do not jerk the leg that got operated on.
  • Do not lift a weight heavier than 9 kgs, this might put unnecessary pressure on the new knee and can cause problems. 
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