Its been said by many orthopedic surgeons that ” The Surgery was the easy part, now the difficult part will be the physical rehabilitation”. And the most powerful thing about that is you are in complete control of your overall success or not.
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I have treated total knee replacement patients close to 23 years now, and I have seen just about everything there is when it comes to their physical rehabilitation.
I can generally tell at this point within 45-60 seconds of talking with the patient on my first visit and observing their body language who will ultimately succeed and who will struggle.
There are many factors that will determine your success after knee surgery but one of the biggest factors after total knee replacement will be if you have the mental resolve or mental toughness, in other words, to push through the pain barrier to obtain your maximal potential when it comes to knee mobility.
Now today in 2017 the surgery has become minimally invasive in many instances and the cutting and underlying tissue damage have been minimized somewhat helping to decrease the overall amount of pain and, you the patient will be provided with the proper dosage of pain medication before going home to help dull some of the pain and discomfort along with the use of ice.
Notice I did not say completely alleviate the pain and discomfort but help take the edge off.
You will be expected now after having this elective procedure to put your best foot forward and have the focus of a championship athlete to cooperate with your physical rehabilitation professional and do what it takes right now to get the most out of each session.
Ultimately it will depend on how you can take your mind off the surgical pain when flexing and straightening your knee and see and feel in your mind what your ultimate goal is, that is to have a fully functional pain-free knee at the end of six to eight weeks.
If you are the anxious type, for instance, you will struggle unless you get your mind under control. I have seen more knee manipulations have to be performed on patients and clients like this because they were not able to control their thoughts and pay the price now to succeed.
Remember this, the body will follow the brain but the brain will follow the mind!
There is no doing something halfway or half stepping here when it comes to physical rehabilitation and you need to understand that it will take maximal effort from you, not someone else to get your knee to have its full mobility so that you walk correctly and get back to a normal full functioning life without continual chronic knee pain.
We as rehab professionals, your surgeon, and the home health nurses are here to help you get through the surgery in the least amount of pain and discomfort. But if someone has sold you on the fact there is no pain after surgery then you have been sold a bad bill of goods.
Listening to everyone else’s adventures with their knee replacement will be all over the map, do not compare what they went through with what you will go through after surgery.
Bottom line is this, your strength levels will come back easy, everyone can do that, your walking will come back as well, how smooth it is will depend on your knees mobility.
You need to plan right now that you will have to be resolute and absolutely determined you will push through some pain now to live a better life in just a matter of weeks and for the rest of your life.
Don’t be that guy or girl that has to go back to the hospital for a knee manipulation because you are getting poor results with your knee measurements when it comes to bending it and straightening it.
I have found if you have to go in for the one manipulation, most people will repeat the same behavior pattern again once they either get home or go to outpatient rehabilitation.
Do it right the first time and learn to push through the pain!
If you have a comment before undergoing total knee replacement surgery or questions about pain control please either leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com
Richard Haynes PTA, CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC