Total Knee Replacement
The knee is the largest joint in the body and having functioning knees is required to perform most daily activities. Total knee replacement, or arthroplasty, is a procedure that replaces damaged or worn joint cartilage in the knees with artificial joints.
Osteoarthritis, a joint disease that mostly affects cartilage, is the most common reason for knee replacement in the U.S. The wearing away of cartilage causes bones to rub tighter, resulting in pain, swelling and loss of joint motion.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States.
Hospital stays following knee replacement can be up to a week following surgery. Rehabilitation exercises begin soon after a patient returns home. Physical therapists are instrumental in all aspects of knee replacement rehabilitation.
Physical Therapy for Total Knee Replacement
Following surgery or other medical consultation, a physical therapist works with your doctor to set up a pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation program. Statistics show that patients who receive physical therapy pre-surgery are known to have superior outcomes (e.g. significantly faster recovery) than those who only receive PT post-operatively. In the case of knee replacements, patients have generally had arthritis and therefore pain and difficulties for quite some time. So, emphasis is placed on education in correct gait, increasing range of motion (bending the knee at minimum to 90 degrees) and joint stability, and strengthening of all muscles that support the knee.
Modalities: Cold laser and/or infrared light therapy, electric stimulation, aquatic therapy, icing.