What is it?
Total Knee Replacement is one of the most involved experiences that a knee patient will go through both physically and emotionally in their life. It can take a long time to get through from pre-surgery, to surgery and full function. The procedure requires a tremendous amount of work on the part of the patient and the clinician.
We begin our program approximately 3 to 4 weeks prior to the surgical date, with an explanation of goals and to answer any questions patients have. Our therapists will use appropriate modalities for each patient with the goals of decreasing inflammation and increasing muscle reeducation of the quadriceps as well as the involved hip and lower leg musculature, which have been compromised during the knee joint degeneration. We also treat the other leg as well as the trunk and upper body to prepare. The process of degeneration has resulted in the patient changing the way they move, walk, and get through their daily activities. Poor movement patterns that have been established as a response to the pain associated with the involved knee can carry over after surgery, even though surgery was done perfect, which is why we work on these areas before the surgery.
Gait and balance activities will be performed pre-surgically to assist the patient in returning to a normal gait after surgery. We expose the patients to the activities and exercises they will be performing after the surgery. We perform techniques such as mobilization of the patella and massage to the knee. We instruct them in how to control the swelling. One of the most important aspects is that we can answer all the questions and hopefully lessen some of the fear about undergoing the procedure.
The patient and the clinical staff act as a team. The prehab process makes the patient feel better, and normally improves gait. After completing the prehab program and surgery, almost all of our patients have used the term “confident” to describe their mindset. They felt confident going into surgery and there were no surprises. They knew they could handle the challenge of a Total Knee Replacement.