Knee surgery is considered one of the most successful surgeries. With the help of surgical expertise and the latest technology the success rate of knee surgeries has increased to 90% in the last 10 years. Most patients return to normal physical activities like walking without a cane, climbing stairs, etc. However, to date, numerous patients believe that undergoing knee surgery during winter is not safe as the recovery rate is slow and various complications can arise. We reached out to Dr Himanshu Gupta, MS. MCh Orth Specialized in Joint Replacement, Arthroscopy, and Sports Injury from AmiCare Hospital who shared some of the winter pre- and post-op precautions patients can take when undergoing knee surgery.
Precautions to Take Before Undergoing Knee Surgery
Consult your Surgeon
“Once you have decided to undergo knee surgery, it is important to consult your appointed surgeon as he/she will help you analyse the potential risks, benefits and other required information,” suggests Dr Gupta. A surgeon will recommend specific dos and don'ts based on the severity of the knee condition and also give you an approximate timeline for your recovery.
Create a suitable environment
Before you undergo knee surgery, it is important to have a minimal home set-up which will help you recover smoothly during post-surgery. Here are some suggestions by Dr Gupta:
- Ensure all your hallways, stairways and other rooms are free of clusters and tripping hazards.
- During winters, ensure that handrails are installed as per your requirement and that heating systems are perfectly installed and upgraded.
- Additionally, make sure that the areas that are used by patients frequently have bright and proper lighting.
Keep yourself physically active
Doing some light to medium exercises pre-surgery will increase the strength of your muscles. This will improve your endurance and keep your knee joints moving. Dr Gupta suggests doing exercises like light stretching and walking that can be very helpful to prepare you for the post-surgery life.
Precautions to Take Post-Knee Surgery
Engaging yourself in physical therapy can be very effective during post-recovery knee surgery period. Based on your medical condition, the physical therapist will give you some light exercises like leg extensions, straight leg raises, quad sets and many more. Many professionals also suggest a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine for four hours each day, it is known to be very effective and beneficial. If you have been prescribed outdoor physical therapy then make sure that you are wearing proper winter gear as it will help maintain a level of activity for optimal recovery.
Watch your sleeping pattern & position
According to Dr Gupta, “After undergoing knee surgery getting an ample amount of rest is extremely important to recover faster. Patients often find it difficult to sleep straight on the back post-surgery as it causes muscle tension, soreness or pain in the lower spine. However, you can use contoured leg elevation pillows, which will help you relax your legs and calves and make your sleep much more comforting.”
Summing up, undergoing knee surgery during winter has its own set of benefits and challenges therefore, it is always important to plan. However, taking the above pre and post-op precautions can help patients optimise their recovery and make the most of the winter season. These precautions will not only help you recover physically but will also create a positive mindset during your healing journey.