Therapy after a total knee replacement can be intimidating, but rest assured that the physical therapists at Specialized Physical Therapy make it their goal to create a relaxed and effective experience for you to get you moving again.
Knee osteoarthritis and pain are contributing factors that contribute to having a total knee replacement. After a total knee replacement, pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and bruising are common symptoms. However, redness, swelling, tenderness and/or pain throughout the calf when walking or to the touch are serious symptoms that warrant immediate medical attention.
The most common cause for a total knee replacement is osteoarthritis. A total knee joint replacement consists of replacement of the surfaces of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) with metal or plastic components. A spacer is placed between these pieces to allow for smooth gliding. In some cases, the surgeon will place a plastic button on the underside of the patella (knee cap) so it will glide smoothly as well.
Your physical therapist will first take a history of your symptoms, including questions to understand your pain pattern, history of symptoms, how your symptoms affect your function throughout the day, and your goals. Next, your therapist will perform a thorough examination of your knee mobility, strength, muscle flexibility, scar healing and skin integrity, and ability to perform functional activities (such as walking or climbing up/down stairs). Your physical therapist will also ask to look at your casual and work shoes to assess its support for your foot. Performing a comprehensive evaluation will help the therapist to understand the cause of the symptoms and how to treat it.
Treatment and Exercises
After careful examination, your physical therapist will create a personalized program to create a program aimed to reach your goals after your total knee replacement. The program will involve manual therapy and exercises to safely improve the flexibility and mobility of your knee, improve strength of the surrounding muscles, reduce pain, and teach you ways to manage the symptoms so you can get back to doing what you love.
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