Immediately After Your Surgery
In the hospital we will make sure that your pain is under control and that you get initial instructions from your physio prior to discharge. Below are some commonly asked questions about what to do before you see me at 6 weeks.
Common Questions and Answers
What should I do with my incision when I go home?
Most of the time I use a dry bandage to cover the incision. The bandage is there to make sure the staples do not catch on your clothes and it will also catch the occasional bit of oozing from your wound. It is not nesseccary to keep the bandage on if your wound is dry. You can leave it open to air especially if you are wearing shorts.
When can I resume driving?
The evidence on when to drive after a joint replacement is conflicting and the most common theme is that you need to be relatively pain free and able to move you leg quickly from the gas to the brake to be safe.
When should I stop my pain medications?
Narcotic medications (ie hydromorphone) should be stopped first. Gradually decrease and then discontinue them when you are able to. Extra medications can be returned to the pharmacy.
What excercises should I do after my surgery?
In the first 6 weeks it is VERY important to follow the instructions that the physiotherapist gave you post-operatively (most specifically the range of motion excercises). By the six week mark I would like you to have full extension AND at least 100 degrees of knee flexion.
When should I use a cane?
Initially most people will start with a walker. You may transition to a cane when you are stable enough that you will not fall and hurt yourself.
What else can I do for my pain, swelling and stiffness?
Heat can be good for rehab especially if you are feeling stiff (ie. in the morning).
Questions about blood thinners?
Usually after a knee replacement you are put on blood thinners for 2 weeks to decrease the risk of blood clots. Rivaroxaban and ASA are the two common blood thinners I use (not usually at the same time however). If you have excessive bruising or bleeding from the wound please contact my office as I will likely need to decrease or discontinue your blood thinner. Also note that Rivaroxaban (aka Xeralto) has exceptional drug status in Saskatchewan so the government should cover the majority of the cost after a knee replacement.
Where can I get Cold Therapy or Game Ready Machines
Cold therapy (ie cryocuff) or similar machines will circulate iced water over the area of concern. These machines are available many places in the city however if you are having difficulty locating a place to rent or purchase you can call Mike at SOSMC (https://www.sportsmedcenter.ca/contact).
If my knee clicks does that mean it is broken?
Clicking in the knee is very common and can have many causes. When the metal and plastic contact eachother it can create a click and this is normal for most knee replacements. Clicking can also come from scar tissue and as your muscles get stronger, your knee will track better and this clicking should go away. Sometimes clicking comes from the patella (kneecap). Most often the clicking from your kneecap does not cause any issues.
Should I wear compression stockings?
Compression stockings can be a great way to manage swelling in your legs. Perscription stocking work well but can be expensive and hard to put on so often over the counter stockings will work best. The higher up the leg they reach the more they will manage your swelling, and of course, if you have your feet up you can take them off! You have to just be careful that the stockings dont irritate the incision as it is healing.