A knee replacement is a surgical procedure where your orthopedic surgeon replaces your painful knee with an artificial knee. Your surgeon may elect to perform a partial or a total knee replacement depending on the severity of your knee’s breakdown. Patients who receive knee replacements are typically middle- to older-aged individuals who suffer from chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Your physician will typically recommend physical therapy prior to surgery to see if a well designed PT program can help to eliminate pain and improve function without surgery.
If physical therapy does not reduce your symptoms, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a knee replacement due to the wear and tear being too significant to be improved with physical therapy. The goal of this surgery is to reduce pain and improve function.
After surgery, Physical Therapy is important to restore strength, mobility, and function. Your physical therapist will assess joint mobility, muscle mobility, and scar tissue mobility to improve your range of motion. Patients benefit from exercises to strengthen weak muscles in the knee and hip that may have been responsible for the excessive wear and tear on your knee. Although you have a new pain-free knee, you may continue to walk with a limp due to the bad habits you picked up before surgery. Your physical therapist will work with you to improve your walking so that your poor mechanics don’t cause pain in other parts of your body.
Your physical therapist will develop a treatment plan that will include stretches and strengthening exercises in order to restore function and get you back to your hobbies.