Top 5 Mistakes after Knee Replacement

In this blog, we will discuss the top 5 mistakes after knee replacement and things to know before knee replacement surgery, From determining the right time for surgery to understanding the benefits of robotic-assisted procedures, this article will provide you with valuable insights. So let’s dive in!

Mistakes after Knee Replacement:

  • Not Being in the Right Mindset

  • Poor Post-Surgical Pain Control

  • Neglecting Knee Extension

  • Skipping Physical Therapy

  • Pushing Too Hard

1. Not Being in the Right Mindset:

Having a knee replacement is a major life decision, and it’s crucial to approach it with the right mindset. Research has shown that the top predictors of people experiencing persistent pain after knee replacement are often related to mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, as well as high levels of pain before surgery or even pain in other areas of the body. To increase your chances of a successful outcome, it’s important to be confident and proactive in your decision to have knee replacement surgery. Make sure you understand that the pain is primarily due to knee arthritis and not caused by other factors.

2. Poor Post-Surgical Pain Control:

After knee replacement surgery, it’s common to experience pain. It’s crucial to have good pain control to ensure optimal recovery. Your nervous system may perceive the surgery as a threat, triggering a protective response that restricts movement. Taking pain medications as prescribed will help you move and engage in physical therapy, which is essential for regaining your range of motion and strengthening your muscles. Remember, pain medication is a valuable tool in facilitating your recovery, so don’t hesitate to take it as directed.

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3. Neglecting Knee Extension:

Full knee extension refers to straightening your leg completely. Focusing on regaining knee extension early after surgery is essential to prevent muscle contractures and stiffness. While it may be tempting to prioritize bending your knee, getting it straight is equally important. Straightening your knee provides stability while walking and reduces the risk of buckling. Additionally, exercises that promote knee extension help strengthen your thigh muscles, reducing the likelihood of future issues.

4. Skipping Physical Therapy:

Completing a full course of physical therapy is crucial for a successful recovery. Physical therapy not only helps you regain strength in your knee and hip muscles but also addresses any imbalances or tightness that may have contributed to the development of arthritis. Even if your pain subsides, it’s important to continue with physical therapy to ensure optimal functioning. Following through with the prescribed exercises will enhance your ability to perform daily activities comfortably, such as walking, climbing stairs, and getting up from the ground.

5. Pushing Too Hard:

While it’s important to engage in exercises and work through some discomfort, pushing yourself too hard can be counterproductive. Your nerves have just been through a major surgical procedure and are highly sensitive. Pushing yourself to the point of excruciating pain triggers a protective response, making your recovery more challenging. Finding a balance between pushing yourself and allowing your body to heal is key to a successful outcome. By avoiding these five common mistakes and taking the necessary steps to optimize your recovery, you can increase your chances of a successful knee replacement outcome. For additional resources on knee replacement surgery and knee arthritis, you can check out the following.

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5 Things to Know Before Knee Replacement Surgery:

  • The Importance of Bone-on-Bone

  • Unicompartmental Replacement vs. Full Knee Replacement

  • Managing Post-Surgery Discomfort

  • Prosthesis Specifics

  • Robotic-Assisted Surgery

1. The Importance of Bone-on-Bone:

The first thing to consider is whether you have bone-on-bone contact in your knee joints. This means that the protective cartilage between your bones has worn away, causing them to rub against each other. Before undergoing knee replacement surgery, it’s crucial to confirm this condition through a standing radiograph. If you don’t have bone-on-bone contact, it’s advisable to focus on strengthening your cartilage through exercise therapy and other modalities.

However, if you do have bone-on-bone contact, it’s essential to determine the location. It can either be in one compartment or both compartments of your knee. Unicompartmental bone-on-bone refers to the condition where the contact is only in the medial (inner) or lateral (outer) compartment. Full knee replacement is recommended when bone-on-bone is present in both compartments, while unicompartmental replacement is more suitable for cases with bone-on-bone in one compartment.

2. Unicompartmental Replacement vs. Full Knee Replacement:

Studies have shown that unicompartmental knee replacement yields better outcomes compared to full knee replacement when bone-on-bone contact exists in only one compartment. If you have unicompartmental bone-on-bone contact, it’s highly recommended to opt for unicompartmental replacement. This approach ensures a more normal knee feeling, improved functionality, and better kinematics after the surgery.

3. Managing Post-Surgery Discomfort:

It’s important to note that approximately 15% of patients who undergo total knee replacement may experience persistent discomfort after the procedure. This discomfort can be attributed to various factors, including scar tissue formation, the body’s reaction to the prosthesis, or other reasons. While not everyone may experience this, it’s essential to be aware of the possibility and discuss it with your healthcare provider.

4. Prosthesis Specifics:

When it comes to the specifics of the knee prosthesis, certain factors are less important than others. For instance, clinical studies have shown that the decision between prosthesis accommodation or substitution of the cruciate ligaments makes little difference in outcomes. Similarly, the choice of fixation with or without cement has minimal or no impact. Material-wise, most prostheses perform equally well, except for individuals with metal or nickel allergies. In such cases, titanium or oxonium prostheses are recommended to minimize allergic reactions.

5. Robotic-Assisted Surgery:

Robotic-assisted surgery has gained prominence in the field of knee replacements. Studies have indicated that for unicompartmental knee replacement, procedures performed with surgical robots show better results compared to those without robotic assistance. However, for total knee replacement, current clinical studies have not shown a significant difference in outcomes between robotic-assisted and traditional surgeries. While this may change in the future as technology improves, there is currently no proven benefit for robotic-assisted total knee replacement.

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