Postoperative pain, swelling, and bruising are normal in the recovery process following a knee surgery. We understand that all surgeries are complicated and require a lot of home nursing care and recuperative therapy. The responsibilities of caregiving can be a stressful and demanding task. However, there are ways to manage the pain and ease your parent’s recovery.
Tips to make your parent’s recovery at home easier:
After knee replacement surgery, do not pivot or twist on the involved leg for at least six weeks. Also during this time, when lying in bed, keep the involved knee as straight as possible. Kneeling and squatting also should be avoided soon after knee joint replacement surgery.
Encourage your parents to take short walks often. Use a walker or crutches as the doctor directed.
Ensure your parents do not carry anything when they are walking around as they may need their hands to help balance.
Wear shoes that fit well and have nonskid soles. DO NOT WEAR HIGH HEELS.
Do exercises taught by the physical therapist. The doctor and physical therapist will help your parents decide when they no longer need crutches, a cane, or a walker.
Try not to sit for MORE THAN 45 MINUTES at one time. Get up and move around after every 45 minutes.
Special compression stockings may be worn. These stockings improve blood flow and reduce the risk of getting blood clots.
When your parents are in bed, encourage them to move their ankles up and down. These are called “ankle pumps”.
Put handrails in the bathtub or shower and next to the toilet. Place a slip-proof mat in the bathtub or shower
Stair climbing should be kept to a minimum. Make the necessary arrangements so that your parents will only have to go up and down the steps once or twice a day.
A firm, straight-back chair is extremely helpful in adhering to these joint precautions. Recliners should not be used.
To help avoid falls, all throw rugs should be removed from the floor and rooms should be kept free of unnecessary debris.
Your parent’s bed should be low enough for their feet to touch the floor when they sit on the edge of the bed. Their bed should also be high enough so that their hips are higher than their knees when they sit on the edge. A hospital bed is not needed.
Place a chair with a firm back in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and other rooms your parents will use. This way, they can stay seated while doing their daily tasks.
Remove loose wired, cords, or rugs from all areas. Fix any uneven flooring in doorways. Use good lighting.
Pain management tips
Bruising: Reduce inflammation and bruising by elevating your parent’s leg on a pillow in bed for an hour or two every afternoon or evening.
Swelling: Reduce swelling by doing post-operative exercises and by elevating your parent’s leg on a pillow in bed for one to two hours each afternoon. Swelling can last for three to six months after surgery, so it’s a good idea to invest in an ice pack. Ice packs are very effective for reducing swelling and inflammation in the knee joint and surrounding tissue. It’s generally recommended that to use an ice pack three to four times a day for about 20 minutes.
Aches: Your parents will most likely wear compression stockings while they are in the hospital and subsequently sleeping with it on for up to six weeks. These will reduce the risk of developing a blood clot and may help reduce achiness in the leg.
Other treatment: Topical creams and patches applied to the knee can also help reduce pain and make it easier for your parent’s to sleep at night. These usually include active ingredients like capsaicin (also found in chilli peppers), menthol, or salicylates. These ingredients are well known to ease the pain when they’re applied to the skin.
Want more details on what type of home renovations is most suitable for your ageing parent who just had a knee replacement surgery? Call SilverAlly at 626-515-00 for a free consultation.