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What is a knee replacement?

A knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a procedure completed by an orthopaedic surgeon to relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints.The procedure involves cutting away damaged bone and cartilage from the bones and replacing them with an artificial joint.
A knee replacement can be “full” or “partial”, depending on how much of the knee needs to be replaced.

How can physiotherapy help after a knee replacement?

Orthopedic surgeons commonly prescribe physiotherapy to begin immediately after a knee replacement. Physiotherapy and therapeutic exercise after a knee replacement has been shown to help patients heal quickly and efficiently. The main benefits of physiotherapy after a knee replacement are:

  1. Increased knee mobility: It is common to only be able to bent the knee slightly after surgery. Physiotherapist will help you to regain full straightening and bending capacity of the knee.
  2. Increase muscle strength: Since a joint replacement is often only offered when advanced arthritis is present, the muscles surrounding the operated joint were most likely in suboptimal condition before surgery. Physiotherapists focus not only on restoring the muscle strength around the joint to its pre-surgery level, but also to a level of function that it may not have had for year.
  3. Reduce the risk of scar tissue formation: Scar tissue can build up after surgery, causing the knee to become stuff and immobile. Physiotherapists will give you specific exercises in order to reduce the risk of developing this scar tissue.
  4. Reduce pain after surgery: The weeks following a knee replacement can be shockingly painful for the patient. Physiotherapists are well versed on the healing process and can educate you on different ways to manage the acute pain that follows the surgery.
  5. Monitor the knee: As with all surgeries, there are risks to having a total knee replacement. These risks can remain long after the surgery is completed. Physiotherapists are trained to monitor for infection and blood clot formation, and to look for “red flags” that may warrant immediate attention.