Total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is a procedure that’s done to replace a damaged knee. Your knees withstand a lot of pressure and work in your lifetime, which can cause the cartilage that protects the knee joint to wear down over time. This results in bone rubbing against bone, which can be very painful.
Total knee replacement surgery is usually considered a final intervention after other methods have failed, such as pain relievers and knee joint injections.
Pain is a significant concern for patients who are about to undergo TKR surgery, with many post-operative patients wanting to know what their life will be like after the procedure. Learning more about how you can treat the pain before you are in pain can help to reduce fear and helps you to manage your expectations.
You will more than likely have a course of painkillers post-surgery, but there are ways you can help manage your pain levels. We have looked at the best TKR relief below, which are simple to follow at home:
Total knee surgery puts a lot of strain on your body, so for this reason, you cannot expect to resume your regular daily activities within a few days post-surgery. If you consider that the damage has been caused to your knee joints over time, then your healing and recover will also need to happen over time.
The knee is the biggest, most complex and nerve-rich joint in the body, so when it is overused, it will react sharply, causing pain and swelling. Even just being on your feet can cause pain, so one of the best solutions to this is to rest.
After the first week of your recovery, you should aim to be active for short stints and rest for long periods in-between. You won’t be able to complete basic tasks such as housework or gardening for at least 2-4 weeks (depending on how quickly you recover) so make sure you delegate these to someone else!
Ice or something with similar cooling effects is essential for TKR pain relief, helping to reduce pain in combination with medication, or even used on its own for less severe pain. Our knee surgery replacement bundle contains a large cooling compression bandage and bottle of coolant to recharge the bandage, helping to cool the deep tissues in your knee over a long period of time. Recharge our bandages every two hours for the best performance, and remember to elevate your legs while you are cooling.
After your surgery, you will most likely have to be on medication for at least a few weeks. Some people are reluctant to take the medication due to the potential side effects, but if you follow the instructions exactly as they are given to you, these should remain minimal.
It is crucial that you take medication to help reduce the swelling, as well as providing pain relief. Swelling can interfere with the healing process and your overall progress. At lower pain levels, the medication you are prescribed will work more quickly, but the longer the pain is permitted to build up, the longer the drug will take to become effective.
In the weeks following the surgery, you may still need medication to help alleviate the pain even though you are getting back to your regular activities. This is perfectly normal and can help control the pain, especially at night time when it becomes more apparent.
When we talk about elevating, we mean having your feet higher than your hips. If you are sat on a chair, put a chair opposite you and place some pillows on it to raise your leg up. When you are in bed, place some rolled up blankets under the mattress at the end of your bed. These techniques can help to your legs elevated and lessen the amount of pain in your knee.
It is important to remember that pain can persist in one form or another for many weeks post-surgery, which is normal. After the early, sharper pain has disappeared, it is replaced with a deeper, more achy pain, which still needs to be treated.
Also, if you are undergoing rehabilitation, this will likely cause some pain in your joints, so you should give yourself some pain relief treatment such as Physicool about an hour before your session.
Finally, if you get a sharp pain that you haven’t had before, especially following exercise or your rehabilitation session, there may be an inflammation in one of your ligaments or muscles, so be sure to contact a doctor if this happens.
Photo courtesy of Esther Max on Flickr, under Creative Commons