What can you do to extend the life of your TKR and mobility?
Today, more folks are committing to TKR. Why?
- More of us are more active than those who have proceeded us.
- More of us are in the 50- 65 age group that begins to encounter wear and tear issues and then discovers a surgical option that promises they can run marathons, play pickleball, rollerblade, and dance the night away or at least that is what many of us think.
I read about members encountering some pretty severe TKR rehabilitation issues, e.g. pain, scar tissue, pinched nerves, revisions and then more scar tissue, tight bands, numbness, and even neuropathy.
People talk about post-operative options….from Epsom salt baths to ice machines, physical therapies, and for scar tissue, Myofascial Release Therapy.
Along the surgery and rehab path, we encounter decision points. The answers come from shared decision making with medical providers and clinicians, family and caregivers, and of course, your surgeon.
How do you prepare your body for TKR so that it is ready for rehab exercises and treatments? That’s easy…..be in the best shape you can be and don’t put it off so long that your leg becomes unsupportive.
How do you manage post-surgery pain and care for the best outcome? What is recommended and what works? How long? What if it is too painful? How can I get my ROM to be better NOW?
It is essential to make sure that we understand the treatment for scar mobilization to keep the scar and tissue moving. Failure to do that means the scar will reach to surrounding tissue and grow bigger and bigger, causing decreased ROM and increased pain.
And what is the most important decision you will make?
When I was ready to leave the hospital, my surgeon sat down with me and said, “Chris you have a decision to make. You must decide whether you want your new knee to last 5 years or the rest of your life?”
I chose the rest of my life and then I learned about returning to my normal activities as slowly as possible, e.g. at least one year to be totally safe. He also told me that he would communicate with the physical therapist and approach exercise gently. As far as getting ready for a mountain hike, he simply said…..“you can go up…..just don’t come down….too hard on your knee”. Guess that says it all. Choose your answer carefully.
What did you do to have the best recovery possible? What tips would you share with others?