Knee surgery can mean major benefits for your active life, but the whole process can seem daunting. Between consultations, evaluations, appointments and recovery time, knee surgery can seem like an overwhelming process. Although recovery is different for everyone, there are a few things that can be done beforehand so you’re better prepared. Here are our top tips to help in preparing for your knee surgery.
Fun fact: More than 95 percent of our knee procedures are still going strong after 25 years! Learn more about the knee procedures we provide at the Kennedy Center.
Know your schedule
The week prior to surgery can seem hectic as you work to tie up loose ends. Schedule all follow-up appointments and physical therapy sessions ahead of time to avoid last minute stress while preparing for your knee surgery. Stay organized by keeping a large calendar where you can easily see it with all the times and dates jotted down. That way, you will have plenty of opportunity to see your scheduled appointments, allowing you extra time to prepare.
Find a 24-hour helper
You are going to need 24-hour support for at least the first week after your knee surgery, so find your support system in advance to ensure you have the help you will need. From dressing to getting meals to driving you around, recovery will go much smoother when you have help. If you live alone, ask a few friends to regularly stop by and help you out. Once your knee is fully recovered, say thanks by taking your helpers out to dinner.
Prep your space
Set up your recovery space ahead of surgery so you don’t have to worry about it when you get home from the hospital. Choose a room on the first floor that has access to a bathroom and an exit for attending appointments. If this isn’t possible in your own home, ask a friend if you can rest and recover at their home.
Keep these essentials in your recovery space:
- Ice packs for icing the knee
- Pillows for elevating the knee
- Phone and charger
- Crutches (and/or walker)
- Medications that are easily identifiable, along with a list of instructions for dosage
- Blankets and throws
- Entertainment, such as books, magazines or movies
In addition, remove throw rugs during the recovery period. Loose rugs can be easy to trip over. If there are other items that are potential trip hazards, move those out of the way, too. Remember: You will be going home with a walker so you need room in your home to accommodate the width of one. Also, you will need to keep your leg elevated. Use a recliner, ottoman or something similar so you have someplace comfortable to sit where your leg can be up.
Before your surgical appointment, put all of your necessary paperwork into one place to avoid digging it out at the last minute. Make sure you have access to the following:
- Insurance information
- Emergency contact information
- Past medical and surgical records
- List of medications, supplements and healthcare providers
Make proper arrangements
Since driving the first few weeks after knee surgery isn’t an option, it is important to prepare in advance. Stock up on essential items like groceries, toilet paper and your regular prescriptions. Make arrangements for rides to and from the hospital, follow-up appointments and other necessary engagements. This is another area where your significant other, or recovery assistants, can be really helpful.
Not only will exercise alleviate stress about your surgery, it will also strengthen your muscles and make recovery quicker. Ask your doctor what exercises you should be doing and what muscles you should be targeting before your surgery. Then, after your procedure, start slowly according to your doctor’s recommendations. Regular stretching and moving can improve your recovery time.
At the Kennedy Center, we want your recovery to be as simple as possible. Follow these 6 simple steps for preparing for your knee surgery and relax – we’ve got the rest covered!
To learn more about how our team of surgeons can help improve your knee pain, give us a call today.