3 Techniques To Ensure Proper Healing After Knee SurgeryOctober 27, 2021
When looking at knee surgeries there are two very important factors that dictate the outcome of the knee surgery: range of motion and strength.
Range of Motion
The range of motion of the knee is the amount that you can bend and straighten your knee. Immediately following surgery, it is not uncommon for there to be a dramatic decrease in strength. This is due to the trauma of the surgery and the decreased usage of your knee.
If strength is so important for the recovery from surgery, what can be done to decrease the loss of strength immediately following surgery? There are a few different strategies that can be utilized to maintain strength in your knee following surgery.
Techniques for Ensuring Proper Healing:
- Managing swelling: When an area is swollen, your body is not able to contract the desired muscle with as much force as when swelling is not present. There are many different ways to manage swelling, but the best rule of thumb is to have the swollen limb placed above your heart when possible. Always make sure when going into this position that you are not placing your limb in a position that is not allowed by your surgeon. This can be done while laying down and keeping your knee or leg propped up on pillows.
- Strengthening your uninvolved side: There is an incredible phenomenon called, "cross education" which means that when you strengthen one side of your body, you will also strengthen the other side of your body. Depending on your surgery and strength level this can be as simple as performing quad sets (lay or sit down with your leg supported, tighten your quad hold the contraction for a few seconds, and then relax) or as advanced as single-leg squats with the non-surgical limb.
- Using mental imagery: This is another powerful technique that you can use to strengthen a muscle without actually using it. In order to execute this technique, start by imagining that you are tightening the muscle that you want to maintain strength in. Do not actually tighten the muscle that you are imagining. For example, if you had surgery performed on your left knee you could imagine tightening your left quadricep without actually tightening the muscle.
These are all great techniques that can be utilized in order to jump-start your recovery in between surgery while working with a Physical Therapist.