The time has come to finally say goodbye to knee pain. You have met with an orthopedic surgeon, learned about all of your potential treatment options, and now you are prepared to make that pain and discomfort go away. At Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, we want to provide you with all the information you need to have the best knee surgery experience possible.
After the surgery, there is a short recovery time. Once the knee heals, you are ready to be active and move around better than you did before. Before heading to the hospital for the surgery, it is important to get things in order. A few steps to follow to help you prepare before surgery include:
Know Your Schedule
The first step is to know your schedule. There are always a lot of loose ends to tie up the week before surgery. Take the time to call your surgeon or doctor and set up your physical therapy sessions and all other appointments as early as possible. This helps you to not forget about them and saves some stress trying to schedule at the last minute.
Not only is it important to schedule these appointments early, but you must stay organized. There will be a lot of therapy sessions, so get a calendar to write them all down. Keep the calendar nearby to reference appointments as necessary.
Find Someone to Help
It’s a good idea to find someone to help out for a week or more after the surgery is over. In fact, you will need 24-hour support for that first week, if not longer. Determine who is willing to help, and for what hours, ahead of time. This gives you ample opportunity to discuss the care and attention you will need during those first few weeks. You can choose one or two family members or hire a professional to help.
There are many tasks you will find difficult after surgery. Getting your own meals, getting dressed, and driving around should be done by your helper. Having a good helper will make this easier and can reduce the risk of causing further injury to the knee during recovery. You will get back to moving on your own soon enough: let someone step in and help for a little bit.
Prepare Your Space
You must prepare your space before the surgery. There needs to be plenty of room to move around and plenty of space for you to recover. You do not want to clean up the house or prepare spots to rest after the surgery. It is best if you can prepare a room with easy access to the bathroom and other important rooms in the home. Avoid stairs if possible. You may need to sleep somewhere other than your normal bedroom to meet these requirements.
Minimal movement is important during the recovery time. This is why you should enlist the support of someone to help. It is also why you may need to sleep in the spare bedroom or on the couch for a few weeks. This helps to keep you away from stairs and limits how much you need to move around the house.
Items Needed for Recovery
Each patient will want different items present during their recovery time. You can choose the items that mean the most to you. However, a few items that can be useful include:
- Entertainment like movies, books, and magazines
- Blankets to keep warm
- Medications needed after surgery
- Instructions for taking medications
- A walker or crutches if necessary
- Phone with its charger
- Pillows to keep the knee up
- Ice packs for icing that knee
- Moving throw rugs and other items to avoid trips and falls
Ask your orthopedic surgeon for suggestions on other ways to prepare your recovery spot before surgery.
Organize All the Paperwork
Before the appointment, you need to put all of your paperwork in one place. Do this as early as possible so you don’t have to find it all the morning of the procedure. You can ask your orthopedic surgeon what paperwork you need specifically, but a few items you should pull out include:
- Proper identification
- List of healthcare providers and medications
- Past records of surgeries
- Emergency contact information
- Insurance information
Make the Arrangements
It is important to make the right arrangements before surgery. Since patients are not able to drive for at least a few weeks after the surgery, it’s important to think ahead. If you have someone to help, they can make this easier by picking you up, getting groceries, and fetching anything you need. This will take away some of the stress.
If you need to be on your own for any part of the recovery, stock up on the essentials. Find someone to pick you up after surgery since you can’t drive away from the hospital on your own when the surgery is done. If you can’t find anyone to help, or there are times when you will be alone, then think about what else you would need for a week or two, including groceries, toiletries, and regular prescriptions. Then head to the store to pick these up before the surgery.
After the surgery, you will have other appointments with your surgeon and physical therapist. Find someone who can drive you to and from these appointments for the first few weeks.
Try to be active before your surgery. If you are uncertain about what kinds of activities to do, you can discuss this with your surgeon. Being active helps to strengthen your muscles and can make recovering easier. Being active also reduces the amount of stress that you feel leading up to the procedure.
You will not be able to move much immediately after the surgery is done. You can follow your orthopedic surgeons’ recommendations on how often and what types of exercises you should do, but it is beneficial to be active and strengthen the muscles before the surgery, too.
Those Who Aren’t Active
If you have not had a chance to be active before the knee surgery, there is no better time than the present to get started. This does not mean you need to run a full marathon right out of the gate. Something simple is enough, and anything is better than nothing when it comes to physically preparing for your knee surgery.
Take it slow with a few walks around the block. Even a few miles is doable for most beginners. There are lots of workout programs online that you can try for free to get up and moving. All movement is good and can help make recovery time after surgery that much easier.
For Those Who Are Active
Your workouts have helped strengthen your muscles. For some, the biggest issue is to learn how to sit still and relax after the knee surgery. After the surgery, you will need to learn how to relax. Before the surgery, though, go ahead and continue on with your regular exercise routine.
Do not push too hard, though. It may be tempting to try and push some new goals during this time leading up to the surgery. You do not want to risk further injury to the ligaments of the knees during your workouts. Follow your regular routine without pushing it too hard in the weeks leading up to your procedure.
Pay Attention to the Knees
When starting any workout routine, whether you are advanced or a beginner, listen to the knee pain. You will get the knee fixed soon, but try to pick exercises that are gentle on the knee and will not cause further damage. Light walking, swimming, yoga, and other similar exercises can be good options. Each person is unique, and you have to listen to what your body tells you when making exercise choices.
Ask For Guidelines from Your Orthopedic Surgeon
If you are looking for other good ideas on which workouts would be the best for you then talk to your orthopedic surgeon. They understand your case and can provide tips and suggestions to strengthen those muscles and make recovery a little bit easier.
Stop Those Bad Habits
Consider stopping any bad habits you have before knee surgery. These bad habits will make recovery time harder. Quitting these bad habits not only leads to you feeling healthier but can decrease the time of recovery after your surgery. If you continue with these habits, they could slow down recovery and cause complications.
One habit to kick out during this preparation time is smoking. If you use any tobacco products it is time to cut down or stop completely. Smoking may slow down your recovery and often makes the wounds of knee surgery take longer to heal. It can even raise your chances of infection and complications during and after surgery.
While talking with your surgeon, it is a good idea to ask questions. And the more specific those questions, the more you know about the procedure you are getting. Ask about how long the surgery will take, whether you need to stay at the hospital, what pain medications are recommended, and even what kind of anesthesia you will need.
A few other questions you may want to ask about your surgery include:
- How long the surgery takes
- How long recovery takes
- How much therapy will you need
- If there are any concerns they have about the surgery
Your doctor is used to performing this surgery and having lots of questions from their patients. You can never ask too many questions to be prepared.
Take Time to Relax
There are a million things to get done before your knee surgery. Figuring out how to balance it all can be overwhelming. Taking the time to relax and breathe is important as well. Preparing for knee surgery is not something you necessarily planned on doing in your life, but stressing too much can make the situation worse.
Being organized and following the steps above will make it a lot easier. Taking the time to relax and do things that you enjoy will be an even better option. Whether that includes turning off your phone for a bit, reading a book, or doing something else, always add at least a little time each day for relaxation. These relaxation techniques help get your mind off the surgery while reducing the amount of stress you feel.
Getting Your Surgery
Getting knee surgery done is a common procedure, but many patients are not certain what to expect. Finding a team of skilled professionals can help put your mind at ease so you can focus on recovering and getting better. Contact us at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ to schedule your consultation and get prepared for your knee surgery today.