Vital Care Rehabilitation specializes in joint replacement rehabilitation
We see patients on a regular basis that have arthritis-related knee pain. Sometimes physical therapy isn’t enough and patients need surgery. For osteoarthritis of the knee, a total knee replacement (TKR) is the most common procedure. It’s no simple surgery either but the pain relief can be significant. In fact, most of the total knee arthroplasty (another name for replacement) patients we see are very satisfied once the recover from the post-surgical pain. However, the recovery process doesn’t end when the pain resolves. After replacement surgery, you need a good physical therapist that provides knee replacement rehab in Surprise.
Complete Rehabilitation for Total Knee Replacements
While pain relief is the primary reason patients have a TKR, the rehabilitation process involves much more. Our physical therapists help you recover your range of motion, strength, help you walk again without an assistive device (front wheel walker), and help you recover your function. The good news is that there is good scientific research to support seeing a physical therapist after surgery (there’s evidence that seeing a PT before surgery is also beneficial).
The Process Starts with Range of Motion
It’s important to recover your range of motion, or your ability to bend and straighten your knee. You make not realize it but you bend your knee quite a bit when you sit, walk, or bend down to pick up something. For these reasons, range of motion is one of the first things our clinicians work on with you. Exercises that you perform at home and in our clinic, in combination with hands-on techniques will help you recover your range of motion.
Strength Training is Critical
Your quadriceps muscles help straight and control your knee joint. With the chronic pain of osteoarthritis, these muscles become inhibited and slowly lose their strength. Working on not only your quadriceps muscles along with your hamstrings, hip muscles, and calf muscles are an important part of the rehabilitation process. In fact, while most patients experience a significant decrease in knee pain after knee replacement, weakness is a very common complaint. Strengthening is a critical element of the rehabilitation process.
Functional Exercise Should Be Part of Your Program
Functional exercises are those that support the recovery of daily activities like getting out of a chair, ascending/descending stairs, walking on uneven surfaces, getting in and out of a car, etc. These are the kinds of exercises that we may educate our patients to perform. Why? There’s good evidence to suggest that functional exercise should be part of your rehab program. Consider this research report:
Six trials were identified, five of which were suitable for inclusion in meta-analyses. There was a small to moderate standardized effect size (0.33, 95% confidence interval 0.07 to 0.58) in favor of functional exercise for function three to four months postoperatively. There were also small to moderate weighted mean differences of 2.9 (0.61 to 5.2) for range of joint motion and 1.66 (−1 to 4.3) for quality of life in favor of functional exercise three to four months postoperatively. Benefits of treatment were no longer evident at one year.
Interventions including physiotherapy functional exercises after discharge result in short term benefit after elective primary total knee arthroplasty. Effect sizes are small to moderate, with no long term benefit.
In conclusion, knee pain relief starts with a good surgeon and knee replacement. However, complete recovery should involve a comprehensive physical therapy program…and that’s what we do very well.
If you are looking for trusted knee replacement rehab in Surprise, give us a call. We can help.