5 Things to Do Before Knee Replacement Surgery
Because most knee replacement surgeries are scheduled only after every other option has been exhausted, you most likely have time to prepare. In the days and weeks before your knee replacement, there are a handful of things you can do that will speed up your recovery and ensure that your knee surgery goes smoothly.
1. Get your house ready for crutches or a wheelchair.
If you live in an apartment or townhouse with a lot of stairs, using crutches or a wheelchair will be difficult. Either plan to stay with a family member with a more handicap-accessible home or discuss other options with your surgeon, like staying in a rehab facility until you can walk without help.
2. Take the right amount of leave.
If you’re employed, you’ll need to make sure to plan your leave with your boss/team. Aside from setting up Family Medical Leave or short term disability, you’ll need to make sure a replacement has been chosen and that projects can move forward without you. Most surgeons recommend taking two to six weeks off for recovery.
3. Exercise as much as possible.
You don’t want to injure your already damaged-knee, but working out before surgery is very important. You’ll be bedridden for at least a few days, so building up as much muscle as possible is a good idea. Working out also builds your immunity, which can help fight infection and the inevitable viruses that float around hospitals.
4. Find a caregiver.
If you’re married or have older children, make sure they can fix their schedules for the first couple of weeks after your surgery. If you are single and live alone, you might need to ask a family member or close friend for help. If everyone’s schedules are too busy, you can also consider hiring an hourly caregiver or asking your insurance about in-home help.
5. Write down everything.
In case you’re a little fuzzy after your operation, or in case someone needs to answer questions for you, it’s important to have everything written down. You can create a “medical info” packet for your family or caregiver that includes:
- Medical history (including allergies)
- Medications you’re currently taking
- Doctor names and contact information
- Preferred pharmacy
- Insurance information
- Specific directions for your house (i.e. watering plants, walking pets, etc.)
- Other important notes, such as where to access documents
Make sure that you include as much detail as possible so that nobody has to guess when it comes to your post-surgery care.
Rest and Relaxation Before Knee Replacement
Finally, the most important thing you can do is rest. Your body is already experiencing trauma due to your knee injury, so don’t overdo it. Getting as much sleep and quiet time as possible before your surgery makes for easier recovery. Take off a few days before your surgery if you can and just spend the time relaxing. Soon, you’ll be back to normal and you’ll have a great new knee!