Knee Replacement Precautions

When your knee is damaged severely as a result of injury or arthritis, then it could be difficult to perform simple activities such as climbing stairs or walking. This usually causes pain even when lying down or sitting. In situations where non-surgical methods such as using walking support or medications are no longer working, then you may need an alternative treatment – total knee replacement. Joint replacement surgery is an effective and safe procedure to correct leg deformity, relieve pain, and aid you to resume regular activities. When total knee replacement is done, you should strictly follow the precautions from doctors for a quicker and better recovery.

Knee Replacement Precautions

1.   When Dressing

  • Avoid putting on your pants while standing. It is recommended that you sit at the edge of your bed or on a chair to be more stable and comfortable.
  • Use equipment that will help you dress up without too much bending such as a long-handled shoehorn, reacher, elastic shoelaces, and an aid for putting on socks.
  • First put socks, pants or pantyhose on the operated leg.
  • When undressing, remove garments from the area of surgery last.

2.  When Sitting

  • Do not sit in the same position for more than 45-60 minutes at an instant time.
  • Keep the feet and knees pointed straight ahead and not turned outward or turned in. The knees should be stretched out or bent in the way the doctor or therapist recommended.
  • Sit in a chair with a firm armrest and straight back. After the surgery, avoid soft chairs, stools, rocking chairs or chairs that are too low.
  • When standing from the chair, slide towards the edge and use your walker or arms of the chair or crutches for support.
  • Feel the surface of the chair that you will sit on before you can sit. After that, reach the arms of the chair with one hand at a time.
  • Never cross the knees or ankles.

3.   When Bathing and Showering

  • Stand in the shower if you are comfortable or use a stable plastic chair or special tub.
  • Use a rubber mat on the shower floor or the tub as one of your knee replacement precautions. Make sure to keep the bathroom floor clean and dry at all times.
  • Never squat, bend, or reach for anything during the shower.
  • Use a shower sponge that has a long handle when washing.
  • If the shower controls are hard to reach, have someone change it for you.
  • Have someone help you wash parts of the body that are hard to reach.
  • Do not sit down at the bottom of the normal bathtub because getting up safely may be a challenge.
  • You can use a toilet seat that is elevated to keep the knees lower than the hips when using the toilet.
  • Always keep the toilet paper in an easily accessible area.

4.   When Using Stairs

  • When going upstairs, step with the leg that did not have surgery first.
  • When going down the stairs, step with the leg that had surgery first.
  • Go up or down one-step at a time.
  • Hold onto the holders or banisters for supporting.
  • Ensure to check the safety of the banisters before surgery.
  • Avoid long stairs in the first two months after surgery, which is also one of the knee replacement precautions to follow.

5.   When Lying Down

  • Always lie flat on your back and do knee exercises slowly.
  • Never place a pillow or pad behind the knee when lying down. It is essential to keep the operated knee straight during rest.
  • If you want to elevate or raise your leg always, keep the knee straight.

6.   When Riding in the Car

  • Avoid getting into a car from the doorstep or curb, always get in from a street level and have the front seat moved to furthest distance it can go to the backside.
  • Always seat on the pillow if the car seat is too low. Ensure you slide easily into the car seat.
  • Have someone help you lift the legs into the car.

When you are riding in a car:

  • Break up the rides to allow you to get out and walk around every 45-60 minutes to avoid muscle cramps and pain.
  • Take pain medication before you take your first ride.

When you are getting out of a car:

  • Turn your body while someone is helping you to lift your legs out of the automobile.
  • Stand on both legs and use your walker or crutches to help you stand up.

7.  When Walking

  • Use a walker or crutches until your physician or physiotherapist gives you the green light to leave them. The normal duration is usually 4-6 weeks after the surgery. Use a cane when your physician recommends it.
  • Put the required amount of weight on the knee that is recommended by the therapist. 
  • Take slow and small steps when turning. Avoid pivoting on the leg that had surgery.
  • Put on shoes that have nonskid soles and walk slowly on uneven ground or wet surfaces.
  • Avoid flip-flops because they can cause you to trip or fall.
  • Do not twist your legs. Take each step at a time.

8.   Activities You Can Not Do After Full Recovery

After full recovery, some of the knee replacement precautions include avoiding playing contact sports such as soccer or football. Keep off sports that require pulling, running, jerking, and twisting. Begin with low impact activities such as tennis, swimming, gardening, hiking, and jogging. In sports, avoid carrying or lifting more than 10 kilograms.

When to See Your Doctor

You should contact your physician if you develop bruises or have concerns or question on the care or your condition. Seek immediate care or call emergency if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • You fall.
  • Both or one leg is warm, red, and swollen.
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