The physical therapy providers at Advance Physical Therapy can help you after your orthopaedic knee surgery. We will communicate directly with your surgeon to understand the type of surgical procedure performed and obtain guidelines and post-surgical protocols for your rehabilitation progression. Our providers follow the most current concepts in orthopaedic surgical knee rehabilitation.
After knee surgery, the muscles on the front of the thigh can become weak. This can be due to swelling in and around the knee joint. In the below picture, the right knee shows quadriceps muscle inhibition compared to the non-surgical left knee. This patient is 2 weeks after surgery.
Relearning how to put weight on the surgical leg is a first step towards recovery after knee orthopaedic surgery. After surgery, patients may need to wear a protective brace and use crutches for 3-6 weeks until the muscles and tissues have healed enough to tolerate use with walking, stair climbing and other weight bearing activities. In the below picture, the patient is practicing weight bearing in a seated position wearing their brace.
Unless restricted by the surgeon, early weight bearing using 2 crutches and wearing a brace helps to limit muscle disuse throughout the hips and legs. Without the brace and both crutches, the surgical limb could not support the weight of the body during daily activities.
Practicing how to climb stairs or navigate a curb is an early rehabilitation activity practiced in physical therapy. The patient uses both crutches and wears the brace to help ensure protection of the healing knee. When going up stairs, the patient learns to use the non-operative leg to push up with. When going down stairs, the patient lowers down with the surgical knee first, followed by the non-surgical knee.
Written by Matthew Harwood, PT, DPT OCS. Physical therapist at Advance Physical Therapy.