Swelling After the surgery is something every total knee replacement patient will go through. The swelling that takes place is the body’s way of starting the healing process.
Maintaining the swelling also known as edema, to acceptable levels, however, can be tough for some patients depending on multiple factors. Do you retain fluid, to begin with? How active are you around the house? How compliant are you with post surgical instructions to begin with?
Are you keeping your leg elevated as instructed? Are you applying ice on the knee throughout the day during the acute stages? Applying Ice to the knee can go on 4-6 weeks after surgery again this depends on the patient’s activity level and overall compliance during the rehab process.
I also advise patients to wear their compression stockings if they have them. These are generally issued at the hospital after surgery, however, the information on the application and when to wear them can be inconsistent depending on who you talk to or, what the last recommendation was at the continuing education class they recently attended.
Compression stockings do a good job in keeping the swelling from getting out of hand in the first place if you have a pair or just one then use it.
If you are going to be up and about at home for instance and you will or, if you live by yourself it will pay dividends to have them handy to avoid many a restless night or, chronic pain and increased edema the following day. After 22 years of working with total joint replacement patients, these garments can be mighty important.
Use the ice or cold packs as much as possible during the day and immediately after your exercise sessions, again I have heard every reason why patients do not use them and I have had a patient or two who never used cryotherapy on the knee or knees, to begin with as well.
I also highly recommend a cold pack that completely encompasses the knee from top to bottom and the sides. Most orthopedic doctors also sell cold pack units from their office however if they do not you can get fantastic cold packs from amazon.com
Chattanooga colpacs are some of the best in the business, in fact, I have used them on my knee replacement as well.
there are several tricks to keeping the swelling at bay and under control but it’s important to be proactive and not reactive in this process.
Do not wait until it becomes a problem, be aware of it and follow the instructions you get from your physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon. Remember though everyone will be different when it comes to the amount of swelling they encounter in the first place.