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Psych Yourself Up For A Successful Recovery From Knee Surgery

The technical part of your knee replacement surgery is over and your doctor said that everything went well. Now it's up to you. Successful recovery from any knee surgery takes time and effort to build up those knee muscles slowly. Steady, incremental progress is important and setbacks can take weeks to recover from. Here is how to get your mind focused on restoring the natural function of your knee.

1. Don't Rush - Develop Patience

You are looking at 6 to 12 months for a complete recovery from knee replacement surgery, says the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. Many structures in your knee were involved in the surgery and each one must be strengthened while healing properly. You will make small steps toward recovery. Don't expect large changes in knee movement during your recovery.  If you push your knee beyond where it can comfortably move, you risk damaging tissue in the knee, which can add to the healing time.

2. Monitor Yourself and Set a Comfortable Pace

When you work with your physical therapist, set a pace that gives your knee a good workout without exhausting you and your knee. If you push yourself too long and hard, you'll be tempted to do less, or skip, your next exercise session. This can cause the muscles and tissues to tense up too much in the knee and make it harder to get back into your routine. Focus on small incremental progress and celebrate each little improvement.

3. Focus on a Healthy Diet for Bones and Muscles

Pay attention to the nutrition advice from your doctor and the nutritionist in the hospital. Load up your body with the building materials for bone and muscles. A lean, high-protein diet gives your muscles the energy they need to heal and strengthen. A diet full of dairy products provides calcium, vitamin-D and potassium for new bone growth. Add fish to your diet for omega-3 fatty acids to boost your immune system and fight off any threat of infection in your knee. For the next few months, eat for a successful knee surgery recovery.

4. Take Your Pain Medication Regularly

You don't gain anything by trying to "tough it out" and not taking the pain medication. Your body will become resistant to doing the exercises because of the pain. Keep your pain under control so you stay on schedule. Plan your medication times so you take the pain meds before your physical therapy and exercise sessions. Make your knee comfortable to get the most from your therapy.

Once you're out of the hospital, it's up to you to have a successful recovery. Get your mind focused on slowly getting function back from your knee over the next few months. Your recovery will go smoother and the result will be a healthy and pain-free knee.

Talk with a doctor, like Joseph P. Spott, DO, for more helpful tips on how to recover successfully.