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What to Expect in Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery

Publish Date: Wed, October 11, 2017 - 10:46:00


by Kevin Kelley, PT, DPT

I often say the most rewarding part of my job is when a patient realizes that they no longer need my help.  I feel that I have succeeded as a therapist when my patients have received the tools to no longer need my physical therapy skills. So when I have patients preparing for knee replacement surgery or start therapy with me after surgery, I feel it is crucial to help them know what to expect in physical therapy so they can succeed.

It Takes Time

One of the biggest facts to understand is that IT TAKES TIME. A knee replacement is a big operation and it will take time for muscles to heal and for the body to relearn critical movements.  Patients can be in physical therapy for 6 to 8 weeks after knee replacement surgery; but, it can take 6 months to a year to feel completely “normal”. 

Starting Simple

When starting out, our goal is to get you up and walking as quickly as possible so we can begin to build leg strength and regain normal range of motion. I tell patients that during this process, some swelling is to be expected, the body is simply getting adjusted to the new components.  

It is also important not to overdo it with the anticipation and desire to get back to routine and daily activities. One of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “When will I be able to drive?” This can vary greatly depending on if we are treating the right or left knee and how progress is coming along regarding strength and knee motion.

Creating a Plan

We find that many patients will plan to have surgery during the winter months so they can return to outdoor activities in the spring / summer while other have more time in the summer to plan for significant down time. In either scenario, Rock Valley Physical Therapy works with you and your treatment plan to meet your goals.

We tell patients that it is also important to create a plan to stay up on exercises after scheduled physical therapy is completed.  This commitment will support strong outcomes and return patients to the quality of living they expect.

At Rock Valley Physical Therapy, the patient is at the center of our efforts and your success is our greatest achievement. 

Kevin Kelly is located in our Geneseo, IL office. To make an appointment with Kevin, call our office at 309-944-6447.

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