Life After Knee Replacement Surgery

You’ve had knee replacement surgery and are healing up nicely. What now?

Well, your specialist cleared out all the damaged cartilage and positioned metal implants to recreate the surface of the knee joint. A plastic spacer inserted between these parts makes your new knee glide smoothly without the pain, stiffness, and swelling you probably experienced before your surgery. 

At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, our experienced team of orthopedic surgeons performs thousands of knee replacement surgeries every year. Here’s what we want you to look forward to when your procedure is done.

Back to most activities

Your new knee gives you a lot less (or no) pain and greater mobility than your damaged, diseased knee. We encourage you to be active with swimming, hiking, biking, and even tennis. 

But avoid most high-impact exercise, which can loosen or break your implant. You may even wear it out faster than you’d like. 

Avoid activities like running and jumping rope. Plus, activities like mountain biking and skiing should also be off-limits because if you fall, you could break bones around the implant. 

Your knee will feel good, but different

You’ll have less pain and stiffness, but you may hear clicks or pops coming from the implant in your knee. If it doesn’t hurt, these sounds are nothing to worry about. But kneeling may not be comfortable, so don’t force it. 

You need to stay mindful of your new knee, even when you feel perfectly fine. Be cautious to not lift items that weigh more than 20 pounds, which can stress your joint. Avoid pivoting sharply or jerking your leg, both of which can also wear out the implant. 

You’re now bionic

With a metal implant, you may set off metal detectors at the airport or other security stations. You’ll end up with a hand pat-down. Wear loose clothing when you travel. Not only will you be more comfortable, you can easily roll up your pant leg to show your surgical scar. 

Expect a long relationship with your new knee

Your new knee can last a very long time, often 20 years or longer. There’s about a 90-95% chance your artificial knee will stay functional for 10 years and an 80-85% chance it’ll last 20 years. 

Stay at a healthy weight, avoid undue wear-and-tear, and take care of your health and you’ll have your knee for the long term. 

It’s uncommon, but some people do require repair or replacement of their new knee sooner rather than later. This is usually due to infection that occurs within the first year of surgery, but a loose or damaged knee implant can also require a redo. 

If you experience new pain, swelling, or limitations, contact us right away so we can examine your affected knee. 

We also ask that you come in for an evaluation every 3-5 years, just to make sure your knee is operating as it should. We can catch any potential problems and head them off so you can keep your knee functional for a long time.

Life with a knee replacement means less pain and dysfunction. If you’re ready to get your life back and start enjoying activities again, set up a consultation with us at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists. Call either our Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland, office today.

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