Knee Strengthening Exercises
after knee replacement surgery
Knee strengthening exercises after knee replacement surgery can make the difference between a wheelchair, a walker or independence! As the economy struggles and more scam artists pose at your door claiming to be home health professionals, many are looking to the Internet for their source of rehab through this major surgery.
Do-It-Yourself physical therapy at home may or may not be for you. Even though your surgeon may insist on home health care, it is your patient right to refuse that care knowing that you
- risk a slow or partial recovery,
- risk infection due to your lack of knowledge,
- risk a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) or blood clot in the leg that could kill you,
- risk other home safety issues that a physical therapist may point out.
Despite the risks, an increased number of scammers are praying on boomers who are homebound for any length of time due to surgery, illness or injury. I am currently compiling a detailed e-book on what to expect from your home health PT and how you can verify that it is truly them when they show up at your door. Boomers have always been victim of scammers and posing as a home health official is yet one more way they may gain access into your home.
When learning knee replacement exercises without the hands on, face to face knowledge of a skilled physical therapist, you should remember several key points:
- Be diligent with your exercises but go at your own pace.
Everyone is busy. Never sacrifice quality for quantity or time. If you don't have the time to try 10 repetitions of one exercise, only do the number you have time for at the highest quality of performance. If you are not able to do 10 repetitions of any exercise, do as many as you can with great quality.
- Modify any exercise to keep your pain at a minimum.
Each exercise can be modified to manage pain yet continue to yield results. Remember your knee is like none other, period. Be careful about your well meaning co-patients who have already traveled the road you are and insist on specific tricks that will cure everyone. LISTEN to your body and treat it kindly.
- Don't push yourself beyond a 4/10 on the pain scale. (4/10 is "uncomfortable")
As mentioned, each exercise can be modified to manage and reduce pain. Don't be hard on yourself, pain is a signal that something is wrong or needs to be modified. Don't push yourself beyond a 4/10 on the pain scale. If you are starting with a higher number than that, use the modifications that don't make it any worse. Be kind, gentle and patient with yourself - sometimes slow and steady is the only answer.
- Know what a DVT may look like and call your doctor fast.
A Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can be life-threatening. You must know the signs and symptoms of this problem and seek medical attention immediately.
- Always use an ice pack after each therapy session as needed. 15-20 minutes of ice (NOT directly on the skin) will help to minimize swelling.
80-90% of our pain comes from swelling. Pain medications DO NOT affect swelling, ice does. Pain meds, while sometimes necessary, don't often work as promised. Pain meds are very hard on your liver too - ice is not. Ice is natural and will help with your healing process far better than pain meds if you find they aren't giving you any relief.
After each knee strengthening exercise session, wrap your homemade ice-pack around your knee for 15-20 minutes. Longer is fine since the ice pack doesn't get colder but begins to get warmer. Most importantly is keep the ice pack from touch your skin directly. Always wrap it in at least a pillow case if not something thicker to keep from frostbite.
- Progress as you are able but never sacrifice quality for quantity or speed when doing your knee strengthening exercises.
Quality is the name of the game here. Your surgeon didn't rush through your surgery so he could get to lunch or check his email... neither should you! You've just invested a huge amount of money (perhaps) time, pain and suffering for a better life ahead... be diligent to do your part whole-heartedly.
A hurried, half-hearted, gotta-get-r-done, mindset to to your knee strengthening exercises will not deliver the results you may have been promised. A knee or hip replacement solves every problem on paper, but since every knee is as different as every fingerprint, every patient will set out on their own journey of recovery.
- If you only have 10 minutes a day, rotate your exercises so all of your knee strengthening exercises get done over several days
If you can't commit at least 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a day, your results and ultimate pain levels and ability level is no one's fault but your own. There are, however, times when life happens in the midst of your plans. Use your better judgement and wisdom on these days; instead of using circumstances to provide an excuse, spend 5 minutes or 10 minutes working on your knee strengthening exercises. It all counts and, done with quality standards, it all helps!
If you have a day or stretch of days that you have limited time, rotate your knee strengthening exercises. i.e. Do exercise #1, 2 and 3 today, tomorrow begin with #4, 5 and 6. This helps you move through each one instead of gravitating to the ones you may favor or find easier.
- Talk to your doctor if things aren't going as you feel they should. You may need a physical therapist to help you.
Even patients who have the full array of home health professions visiting their homes 2-3x a week still, at times, come up short of the progress they should be enjoying. Things do go wrong with knee and hip replacements. If this becomes your concern, talk with your doctor and see what s/he recommends. You'll likely not have lost any ground by working on your own, and may be far ahead of the game.
Do-it-yourself home health physical therapy is not very everyone. Some need that extra motivation. Some know they will never commit to their own program. Some aren't comfortable knowing when to advance their program or progress themselves. That's all OK. Do what works for you.
Knee strengthening exercises are a critical component to your ultimate rehab success. Our mission is to Protect, Respect and Serve you. Part of protecting you means that we are aware of the scammers out there.
We also know that the care you receive from a home health physical therapist may be related, unfortunately, to how they are paid! If you know you'll need help, your best investment will be in hiring a private home health physical therapist and/or a Myofascial Release Therapist. While both can help in tremendous ways, a myofascial release therapist can make a significant difference in your pain levels, while a private PT will devote the time and attention that you need for strength, range of motion, balance, transfers etc.
Try These Tennis Ball Tricks
To Manage and Release Myofascial Pain
KNEE AND HIP STRENGTHENING EXERCISES:
How to Get Off a Low Couch
Physical Therapy Home Exercise Programs - What You Should Know
Hire Your Own Personal Physical Therapist
Find a MyoFascial Release Therapist To Resolve Your Pain
Don't Overlook Home Safety Issues After Your Total Joint Replacement
How To Transfer From Point A To Point B Safely
Why You Should Start Strength Training Leg Exercise.
More Natural Things You Can Do To Speed Healing and Avoid Further Debility
Back to Home-Health-Care-Physical-Therapy.com from Knee Strengthening Exercises