Let's not pretend you didn't just have a major joint surgically removed from your body and that you should be feeling just fine and dandy. You've been through a major surgical procedure and the post-op recovery process for a TKR is definitely challenging. With the right therapy you won't be in the kind of pain and discomfort you were experiencing before. If things were bad enough that you went under the knife, this is really good news.
First of all, there is probably some fear surrounding how soon you can get back to your usual routine. The good news is everyone's goal is to get you moving again ASAP and in a better place than you were before the surgery. Maybe you were given a pre-surgery therapy routine and it's likely you weren't released from the hospital until you were moving around on your own pretty well, so now you know that being active is at the root of your TKR recovery. The sooner you can get up and moving, the less pain you'll have for the duration of your post-surgical recovery.
At the same time moving around is probably harder than you had even anticipated it would be and you might be starting to worry about your recovery. The good news is that you're in good company, knee replacement surgery is one of the most common in the US, so the medical industry has done their research and developed tools and therapy programs to really get you back on your feet after your knee surgery.
More non-invasive surgical techniques coupled with great therapy and high tech equipment become the key to having a successful recovery from a total knee arthroplasty. With that in mind, here are three tips to recovering from your TKR.
1) Move as soon as you are able to. Take your rehab plan seriously and you'll have a great recovery. Any total knee replacement recovery plan is going to take a couple of months, but those twelve weeks (or so) don't have to be a terrible or painful time. Don't skip days and don't cut yourself too much slack when it comes to your physical therapy plan.
2) Pick a therapist and an office that you like. Referrals are great but do your own homework too. Is the therapist someone you would want to spend a couple of hours a week with for a few months? Does the office have a welcoming environment that you'd feel comfortable sweating through your limitations in while you're healing? Will they be able to understand your post-surgical goals and do they have the tools to support them? Physical Therapy offices should take your concerns seriously, so call around and see if you jive with a place....(212-712-2006)....
3) The AlterG and Noraxon treadmills. Whether or not the office is your dream and you'd willingly have the therapist's first born child, seriously consider the benefits of having an AlterG and Noraxon treadmill at your disposal.
The AlterG creates an environment where you can literally walk at a fraction of your normal body weight. This means you can practice walking in a limited weight bearing capacity without the assistance of a walker or a cane. What's wrong with a walker/cane/or crutch? Not much, except they don't allow the body to walk in a naturally lifted posture and greatly hinder the full rotation of your trunk, which affects the internal organs of your body as well as the development of your gait. Apart from just being awesome, The AlterG also creates a compression chamber around your lower limbs, allowing for greater mobility and healing of your knee.
Having the Noraxon at the disposal of the therapist allows them to have an exact understanding of what is happening to your gait while you're recovering. With this exact knowledge the therapist can quickly make any adjustments to your therapy to guarantee that you're moving with the most normalized, healthy, and efficient walk/run.
...Do I need to go on or are you already convinced? It's hard to believe there is more the AlterG can offer, it already aids in normalizing your gait, helps you ditch the cane, and promotes healing. (Plus it harnesses the awesomeness of GRAVITY?!?)
Long story short- don't cut yourself a break just because your knee hurt so much that you needed to go to a surgeon and have them put you under a knife and rip the offending joint out of your body. Get moving again as quickly as possible and do what you can to make it as enjoyable and as painless as it can be, but get moving all the same.
(Do I need to mention that we have two amazingly therapeutic, chill offices with AlterG's AND therapists that are so cool you'll want to give them your first born child??)