Life After a Knee Replacement

                You’ve decided that the pain and stiffness in your knee has gotten bad enough to consider a total joint replacement, but you’re concerned about the recovery and what life will be like after surgery. Most patients are pleasantly surprised at how quickly they recover and are able to return to their normal activities.

Recovery and rehabilitation will be different for each person. We will encourage you to begin using your new knee shortly after your operation. Although it may be challenging at times, doing this will speed your recovery and help you get the most out of your new knee.

Most patients will experience some temporary pain in the replaced joint because the surrounding muscles are weak from inactivity, the body is adjusting to the new joint, and the tissues are healing. This pain is typically mild and resolves in a few months. Ice, elevation and medications are all used to alleviate these symptoms.

Exercise and physical therapy are an extremely important part of the recovery process. You will be provided with specific exercises to help restore movement and strengthen the joint. Like anything else, you’ll get out of it what you put into it! Following the advice of your therapist and physician will ensure you stay on the path to a speedy recovery.

Within just a few months, most patients are able to get back to the things they love doing like swimming, riding their bicycle, golfing or playing tennis. High impact exercises like jogging are not recommended as they will tend to wear out the new knee faster, but they are possible.

Deciding to have a knee replacement is a tough decision, and one that should be discussed with a physician. With over two and a half decades of experience, Dr. Westphal is able to answer any questions that you may have. Contact us today with questions or to schedule an appointment. At Westphal Orthopedics, our priority is you!

5 Things You Should Know About Knee Osteoarthritis

1. Osteoarthritis is the result of deteriorating cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that acts as a lubricant between your joints. Healthy cartilage in the knee will allow the bones to glide over each other. When the cartilage becomes damaged as a result of osteoarthritis, the bones will rub together causing pain, decreased range of motion, swelling, and discomfort.


2. Symptoms develop gradually over time. Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear on the knee that can be caused by sports, work and other activities of daily living. Early symptoms are commonly described as pain and tenderness that will eventually be accompanied by stiffness. These symptoms gradually get worse over time and can begin to really affect activities such as climbing stairs or getting up and down from a chair.


3. Osteoarthritis can be prevented. Weight control and exercise are two of the best ways to prevent osteoarthritis in the knee. Data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that women who are overweight were 4 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis and overweight men were 5 times more likely. Being overweight can rapidly speed up degeneration of cartilage particularly in weight-bearing joints such as the knee. Exercise can help prevent premature cartilage wear by strengthening the muscles around the joint and reducing strain on the knee. 


4. More than 20 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis. This number is expected to increase rapidly over the next 5 years according to the Center for Disease Control. Arthritis is also the number one cause of disability in America.


5. There is hope! At Westphal Orthopedics we have developed the Joint Center which is focused on relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Dr. Westphal has over 25 years of experience in orthopedic surgery and has successfully replaced more than 2,000 joints for his patients. Treatments include physical therapy, activity modification, joint supplements, injections and many more. At the Joint Center, we will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan to get you back to your active lifestyle. Call us today to schedule your new patient consultation!