Having a knee replacement can be an intimidating but exciting time. You are likely looking forward to less pain and better functionality after surgery. During the pre-surgery phase, there are things you can do to make your recovery better.
Have A Thorough Dental Checkup
It may sound unusual to visit the dentist in advance of a knee replacement surgery, but there is some correlation between dental problems and the risk of infection after surgery. When you are certain a knee replacement is in your future, visit your dentist for a thorough checkup and cleaning. If there are any dental procedures that need to be addressed, you should have them done immediately so they can heal before your knee replacement. Some dental concerns, such as gum disease, extractions, and placement of implants are major dental issues that could promote bacterial growth. Ask your dentist directly about which, if any, dental concerns could be a problem after your knee replacement so they can prioritize your dental needs.
Do Meal Prep
You may want to have some meal ideas or prepared meals that are easy to reheat after you come home. Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help reduce weight gain during the rehabilitative stages after your knee replacement, preserve muscle mass, and aid in healing. Depending on how far away you are from surgery, you may want to find recipes that freeze well and can be placed in the microwave once you return home. If your surgery is within a few days, it might be helpful to stock up on items, such as frozen vegetables, rotisserie chicken, and other foods that do not require significant cooking and will safely stay in your refrigerator. As part of considering your dietary needs, you may need to supplement your diet with nutritional shakes or vitamins to ensure you have adequate nourishment to heal properly and maintain your health.
Even if you have trouble standing or walking, there are ways to build strength in other areas that may help your recovery and rehabilitation go smoothly. Resistance band workouts are ideal because they are lightweight, portable, and many exercises can be done while seated. Work on strengthening your arms and shoulders because you will need support when walking on your replacement joint. During physical therapy, you likely will use your hands and arms to hold onto railings and you may even need the assistance of a cane or walker until you have completely healed. If your other knee is not significantly painful, you should also perform exercises to strengthen those leg muscles. Since one leg will need to bear more weight and aid in stabilization, having stronger muscles will reduce your risk of falling or injuring your healthy knee.
Preparing for your knee replacement includes making strides to reduce surgery risks and improve your outcome. The healthier you are pre-operatively, the more likely you will have as successful recovery and quicker, uncomplicated healing.