Having a knee replacement means getting around is going to be a challenge for a little while. Here are some things to keep in mind before your surgery date.
- Don’t drive when on narcotics for pain – This one seems obvious after the fact, but when preparing for surgery a lot of people don’t think about the fact that they’ll be on medication afterward. While there are many types of medications you could be prescribed by your doctor a lot of them tend to be very strong and use opioids. This can cause drowsiness and slow reaction times. Plan ahead and stock up on things you need. Or if you must, take taxis like Lyft or ask people to run errands for you.
- Don’t get up at night without a nightlight on – Even if you’ve made the trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night a million times before things change after knee surgery. You may be groggy from medications and your body may not be as flexible or maneuverable for awhile. Tripping or banging into something may damage your healing body, so make sure that you have a plugin nightlight in your room and in any hallways or rooms you may find yourself traveling at night. This includes stairs. Seeing obstacles ahead of time will save you pain later.
- Do elevate your leg and use ice – Swelling is part of the healing process but too much isn’t good. As such, you’ll probably be instructed to elevate one or both legs while you’re sitting or lying down. This can be done by propping them up on pillows and cushions in bed, or on an ottoman or footstool while seated. Icing is also recommended to keep swelling to a manageable level. It’s important to take breaks from the cold or make sure the pack or ice cubes don’t come into direct contact with your skin.
- Do eat a healthy diet – While you’ve certainly earned some treats for going through surgery, the majority of your diet should be healthier to help with the healing process. A lot of pain medications also recommend taking the pills on a full stomach or with food to prevent nausea. Smaller snacks and meals are advisable to keep you from feeling overly full and can be prepared ahead of time. It’s also important to avoid foods with a lot of salt in them, as salty foods can lead to swelling and bloating.