Rehabilitation begins immediately following surgery with a supervised exercise program monitored by a physical therapist. Typically there are no weight bearing restrictions and with the specialized surgical dressing patients can shower whenever they would like. Therapy continues following discharge either with home therapy visits or referral directly to an outpatient therapy facility. Exact duration of therapy will vary from patient to patient and will be customized to in order to accommodate patient specific situations and goals.
The therapist is important and is under my direction but I emphasize to my patients the value of a self-directed exercise program. No special equipment is needed and I will personally and clearly instruct every patient in the exercises they need to do to optimize their probability of a fast and complete recovery. My patients will hear me say over and over 3 words: straightening; strengthening; bending. These are our mantra and goals following surgery.
To see the details of these simple exercises click here. I explain to my patients that the therapist will see them at most one hour three times per week. The patient has 14-16 waking hours each day to work on the rehabilitation of their knee. No therapist will have as much influence on a successful outcome as the patient will have. Important exercises can and should be done while lying down in bed or while sitting up for meals and other activities.
Rate of recovery will vary depending upon various things to include patient’s age and overall physical condition but I will personally and closely supervise every step along the way. Statistically patients report that they continue to improve for up to 1 or 2 years following their surgery. Most find marked improvement in their walking function as well as ability to accomplish activities of daily living. High impact athletics such as running are not recommended but many athletic pursuits are possible and we can discuss reasonable expectations in detail during your office visit.