Your knee has four main ligaments, one on each of the outer sides and another two inside the knee behind your knee cap. A knee reconstruction usually requires a tissue graft (usually a tendon) to help keep the knee working as a hinge joint.
How long can rehabilitation take?
Rehabilitation after knee surgery takes a full 12 months, but these months are broken up into stages of weeks. This is because it is essential that there is graduated increase in movement (slow progression), and that this is closely monitored by your physiotherapist. This means they can constantly update/change your program depending on you, your body, your lifestyle and how well your body is healing.
What is involved in the early stages?
The first 12 weeks of rehabilitation after a knee reconstruction are crucial, and greatly impact how quickly you heal. You can expect to be given some exercises to complete 2-3 times per day, and there will be brand new (seemingly over-the-top) techniques to do everything – from getting in and out of bed, up and down stairs through to using the bathroom. Swelling and pain will also be an important factor to consider, using rest, ice and compression to help the fluids drain away will be important. Finally, working on re-developing the muscles around the area, the quadriceps (thigh muscle) will need to work on contracting to straighten the leg. Towards the end of the first 12 weeks, most people are able to jog and complete some basic resistance training.
What about later down the track?
This is often the part where some people believe their physiotherapist visits are less crucial, however they couldn’t be more wrong. The pain and swelling would’ve subsided, and usually this means people will try to “get back on their feet” and think their rehabilitation is over. This is often where re-injury or other injuries occur through lack of strength or over-use and over-compensation on surrounding areas. By continuing the rehabilitation practices your physiotherapist has given, you will continue to effectively strengthen the knee and it’s surrounding areas to prevent re-injury and any new ones arising.
Rehabilitation after a knee reconstruction is crucial from day one!
The end of year is a popular time for many to have major surgery to fall in line with the bulk of their leave from work each year. Trust Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy to work with you, and for you, to get you back on your feet when it counts the most, especially when it comes to complete reconstructions. Please don’t hesitate to contact the practice if we can assist you on your rehab journey on 02) 4721 7798, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by booking your next appointment online here.