Recovering From Knee Surgery

Accidents happen as they say, and I am no different.  Long story short, I recently had a fairly major knee surgery resulting in an extensive knee rehabilitation process that is still a work in progress.

If you ever find yourself in the same situation, there are couple of things that you will certainly need because you are going to be on no weight bearing activity or “NWB” for quite some time(1-3 months), depending on your situation. I would consider these items mandatory.

  1. Carex Bathroom Safety Rail 
    • This was actually a life saver to help out in the shower, also helps out around counters.
  2. Folding Walker with 5-inch Wheels
    • Having a walker around the house or outside can be very helpful, especially if you can rig up a basket for carrying things around.  if you have only crutches, both hands/arms will be required, not allowing you to carry anything around the house like food/drink, cat, etc.  A basket hooked up on a walker solves this.
  3. Crutches
    • Sounds obvious, and you’ll probably get a pair at the hospital following any surgery, but the cost of the crutches from the hospital will be 4 times what you pay on Amazon.  So pick up a set ahead of time.
    • Tip: Take the water bottle cage off the bike that you are no longer using and ziptie it to one of the crutches so you can carry around bottled water, drinks, etc.

Next: The next couple of weeks are going to be tough, real tough.  Keep your chin up and stay positive.  My first couple of weeks (weeks 0-2) after surgery, i was in a locked knee brace, so zero flexion movement.  Tough to get around in with no flexion.  Follow the Dr’s orders here exactly as prescribed.  Namely the following

  1. Keep your leg elevated above your heart to reduce swelling.
  2. Keep the knee wrapped with an ace bandage to reduce swelling.
  3. Consider also wrapping an ace bandage also from below the knee down, including the foot.  You don’t want to have a swollen foot, so address this before it becomes a problem.
  4. Lots of ice compression

After the 0-2 week period you’ll probably have your first follow up with the Dr.  Its at this point, that it becomes all about getting your ROM and Flexion back to the knee.  This is a huge challenge as your knee has been immobilized in a straight knee brace for 2 week with trauma involved. Your doctor will give you exercises.  I am not going to give them here because i am no doctor, but i would say do the exercises as often as you can every day.  Your doctor may  say 3 x per day.  But this is for the masses;  and you want to get your full leg capability back right?  So make it your mission.  Do some of these exercise every hour, or every 90 min.  The key is to move as often as possible.  I can assure you, that even in between 60-90 mins of rest, you will stiffen back up.

A couple of things that helped the most in getting my ROM back.

  • If you have a bicycle, having an indoor bike trainer set up as a stationary bike is a huge help.  Until you get the go-ahead from the doc to have weight bearing activities, you can spin on a bike with the resistance set to zero. There are lots of options out there to choose from.
  • Somewhere around 3-5 weeks after surgery.
  • Rocking Chair –  I know it sounds silly, but I spent 60 mins at a time, sometimes 3 times a day just sitting on the front edge of the rocking chair, having a slight bend in my knee, and then spending 60 minutes just trying to ever so slowly get my knee back to a 90 degree angle.

Again, your doctor or physical therapist will give you exercises to do at certain phases of the healing process. Ex: 2-4 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 6-9 weeks, just depends on your situation.  Frequency is the key to get your mobility back.  So if you have access to a pool, start walking in the pool once you get to the 25%-50% weight bearing, then easy spin on the bike trainer for 20 mins in the evening.  In between all that try and do the prescribed rehab exercises 3-5 times a day so the you are moving every 60-90 mins.  Nothing strenuous at all, but just moving the knee joint.

I really hope someone finds this useful someday.  Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

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