This patient’s story about her knee surgery physical therapy is true and published with consent. In some cases names and personal details have been made-up to protect the privacy of patients.
Knee Replacement Surgery
We know knee pain can become unbearable. And we agree that sometimes knee surgery is the best option. As much as we emphasize using physical therapy to avoid knee surgery, back surgery, shoulder surgery and all other unnecessary surgeries, when a surgery becomes necessary, physical therapy can be critical to a fast and healthy recovery.
This patient had a total knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty. Knee replacement surgery is typically recommended when severe knee pain and stiffness is keeping a patient from being able to do simple movements, like getting in and out of chairs, walking and climbing stairs. If these symptoms have not improved with physical therapy and other non-surgical options, a patient and their doctor may determine knee replacement surgery is the best option.
Conventional Physical Therapy / Knee Surgery Rehab
As part of the recovery of your knee replacement surgery you will be prescribed postoperative physical therapy or rehab. You will have physical therapists that work for the hospital or surgery center walk you through some rehab exercises and movements to rehab your knee. After 4 - 6 weeks of the physical therapy sessions prescribed by your knee replacement doctor, your strength should be restored and the pain that was once experienced with basic movements should be greatly reduced, if not eliminated.
What Do You Do If Your Conventional Physical Therapy Wasn't Enough?
In this patient success story we hear from Darlene, a local Berea woman in her late 60's. Darlene has no tolerance for being told she'll have to slow down in life and she completely expects to put in the hard work to stay active and self-reliant. Darlene did all the pre-operative exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee months before going into surgery and was expecting a fast knee surgery recovery.
She was told that six weeks of physical therapy will restore most of the movement and she could expect to bend her new knee to 120 degrees, complete basic daily activities without the assistance of a cane and get back to low impact exercises like swimming and walking. Darlene was diligent in her exercises and PT appointments but after completing the full eight weeks of conventional physical therapy she could tell that her recovery was not on track.
Better Results Than Conventional PT for Knee Surgery
Darlene walked into Breaking Through still using her cane after her conventional physical therapy should have progressed far beyond that point. Patient Quote:
I had just completed the normal routine of physical therapy for a knee replacement. When I ended that I still knew that I had goals and things I needed to work on to make my knee functional. Coming here was the best option I could have ever found. It made a huge difference in how I'm able to function, how my knee was able to move, things I'm able to do in my daily life that I was not able to do before. And I believe it is all due to the experience I've had here.
After working with Darlene, Dr. Evan was pleased when she revealed that she had reached her two main goals, to walk the dog on their three to four mile walks and to sleep through the night without knee pain. Great job, Darlene! And thanks for sharing your story.