Best Gifts to Celebrate Recovery from a Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery is one of the most common procedures in orthopedics.
It is a procedure in which the diseased or affected knee is replaced with metal or plastic-metal components.
To understand why this is done, we need to understand how the knee works.
Knee replacement surgeries
There is no specific age for the candidates considered for knee surgery, as there are many reasons to get this type of surgical procedure.
This procedure can be divided into two types, a total knee replacement (TKR), where both sides of your knee are replaced, and a partial knee replacement (PKR), where only one side of the knee is replaced.
Although knee surgery may be considered at any age, research shows that TKR is more common in adults between the ages of 60 to 85, while PKR is more common in people between the ages of 55-64. No matter the age that the person gets the surgery, we must help the patient keep a good attitude and celebrate that the surgery and the pain are over.
As a quick background lesson, there are many reasons to consider knee replacement surgery, such as gout, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, trauma, meniscus tear, ligament tears and cartilage defects.
However, the most common reason in the United States for knee replacement is osteoarthritis.
Regardless of the cause, all the above-mentioned diseases and disorders cause similar signs and symptoms.
One of the many symptoms that knee replacement candidates will complain about is progressive increasing stiffness and pain, limiting their daily activities.
Once all conservative treatments have been exhausted, these patients are offered the option of surgery.
Who doesn’t want to celebrate being pain-free?
After being admitted to the hospital on the day of the operation, the surgeon will discuss the procedure with the patient, answer any questions, and do a complete pre-op assessment evaluation to confirm that all labs are normal, and the patient is ready for surgery.
The entire pre-operative process may cause anxiety, intimidate the patient, or even frustrate them. This is another reason why the post-operative period should be as smooth and stress-free as possible. There are many ways to successfully do this.
After surgery, the patient will likely be hospitalized for about five to seven days depending on the patient, their health status, and how complex the surgery was. During their hospital stay, a patient will practice exercises with a physical therapist.
These exercises will help with blood flow to the lower extremities and will help prevent swelling and blood clots from forming. A good relaxing idea is to give a good massage right after the physical therapy session.
A massage will help relax the muscles surrounding the surgery and will also relax the patient. The patient will have to use crutches or a walker until specified by the healthcare provider.
This type of equipment will most likely be used for a couple of weeks, so why not surprise the patient with a personalized walker or cane?
Making it more personal will increase the patient’s need to use it more and not consider it embarrassing (some elderly patients do not like using equipment to help them walk). Candidates for this surgery need a good support system during the recovery period.
Patients will have a weakness, especially in the muscle surrounding the hip area. Both the caregiver and the patient should be on the lookout for any signs of post-operative infections, drainage from the incision site, excessive bleeding, chills, and increasing tenderness, redness, swelling, and pain in the knee.
The doctor should be called immediately if any of the above symptoms are noted. On a more positive and fun note, there are many ways to balance all the tedious hospital stuff with a more celebratory approach towards recovery.
The following are some great ideas of things to do with the patient, family and friends during their hospital stay.
Knee replacement kit
This kit is ideal for patients recovering from knee surgery.
Most kits include a mobility tool for moving, dressing, putting socks on, long foam handles and long sponge handles. Not only will this kit be helpful, but it will surely be a topic of conversation. Amazon and eBay offer many different options.
Memory foam pillow
The hospital will provide the patient with a wedge-shaped pillow for resting the knee. Make the patient more comfortable by gifting them a memory foam pillow.
Customized coffee mug
The internet has all types of gifts, and a great one is customizing a coffee mug with the message “I survived knee surgery!” for all those coffee lovers.
Operation, the board game
Now this gift will definitely bring some laughs in the hospital room. Why this game? The game is about removing organs and parts from the body, making it an entertaining and fun game to play during the stay.
Customized teddy bear
If the surgery is on children, a customized teddy bear is great and will bring comfort to the patient.
Balloons and flower set
Every woman and child likes flowers and balloons every once in a while. Make them feel special with some flowers, balloons, and a special card with a lovely message.
The “Color your way through knee replacement surgery recovery: a cartoon coloring book” book
Again, this is one of the many fun things to order from the internet as a gift. It includes pictures that closely align with the anatomical realities of knee surgery.
Recovery at home
Back home, the caregiver should provide the patient with a comfortable environment that will minimize any falls, and arrange furniture as needed for the crutches or walker that the patient will be using during this time.
Before celebrating, we must remember that family and friends should consider the following when making the home safer for the patient: if the patient lives in a two-story home, have a temporary room prepared with all the necessities in the first floor. Safety bars should be installed in the bath or shower walls, stairs should be secured with handrails, and cushions and a footstool should be provided to elevate the leg,. Also, make sure to remove cords or rugs that could serve as a fall-risk for a patient, and consider installing a toilet seat riser with arms if the patient has a low toilet.
Overall, we want to prepare a space that is adequate and safe for the patient to recover in.
In most cases, patients will experience pain relief, a better quality of life and better mobility.
To make the ride back home even more interesting and fun, putting up a sign that says “Welcome Back” in front of the house is a great idea. Also, why not top it off by gifting them a reclining chair?
There are many types of recliners, so be sure to get one that matches with the patient’s likes and recovery requirements. Most importantly, gift a recliner that is comfortable.
The recovery period can be a pleasant process, if all the safety precautions are taken into consideration.
There are many ways to celebrate knee replacement surgeries.
If physical therapy and all medication have been given and completed as instructed, patients should be back to their usual activities in about six to seven weeks.
Activities to do during the recovery period
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), it is recommended that patients exercise for up to 30 minutes two to three times a day during the early stages of recovery.
Also, daily walks are a must and are an activity that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Great exercises for the patient and the entire family to do together are aerobic exercises, swimming, gentle dance classes, cycling, yoga, light weightlifting, golf, rowing and bowling.
Not only are these activities that will help with recovery, but they are activities that can strengthen family relationships and bring them closer together.
These are all activities that strengthen the knee joint and maintain the body active and healthy.
Now, we must also be cautious of the things the patient shouldn’t do.
There are certain activities that are off-limits to knee surgery patients and can only be done when they are fully recovered such as driving.
Driving will be possible around four to five weeks after the surgery, and only if the patient has enough control over their muscles to operate the pedals of the vehicle.
Other exercises that shouldn’t be done until fully recovered is running, tennis, skiing, and any sport that involves jumping or lifting heavy objects.
Almost all people who go through knee replacement surgeries have less pain and a better quality of life.
Keeping an active lifestyle and healthy body weight will help reduce wear and tear on the artificial replacement, making it last longer. It is important to check on progress and not miss any appointments.
Over the past years, there has been an increased interest in the investigation in knee replacement procedures and the options available for patients.
Technological advances of today are aimed at preserving the original tissues and avoid major invasive reconstruction surgery.
This means there is more time for fun with a smaller recovery period.
In conclusion, family members and friends should be there for their loved ones and make sure that all the needs are met.
Having a good relationship and open communication will help the post-operative recovery period be a more smooth and delightful time for the patient. Patients that have a good and optimistic attitude are more likely to have a better recovery.
- Greengard, Samuel, and Kristeen Cherney. “Staying Active: Sports and Activities You Can Do After a Total Knee Replacement.” Healthline, 26 May 2017, www.healthline.com/health/total-knee-replacement-surgery/sports-activities-after#strengthand-flexibility.
- “Health: Making Knees New Again.” John Hopkins Medicine, John Hopkins University, 2020, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/making-knees-new-again.
- “Knee Replacement.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Foundation, 24 Oct. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/knee-replacement/about/pac-20385276.
- Ryan, Jen. “Creative Ways to Occupy Yourself after Orthopedic Surgery.” The Mighty, 6 July 2017, themighty.com/2017/07/how-to-stay-occupied-after-surgery/.
- Vermeijden, Harmen, et al. “The Multiple Ligament-Injured Knee: When Is Primary Repair an Option?” The Knee Journal, vol. 27, no. 1, Jan. 2020, pp. 173–182., doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.knee.2019.11.013.