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The next five months

The next five months
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At twelve weeks most patients are extremely active, says Dr Krauss. Within the first six months, most people feel fully recovered. Within two to three months, many patients report feeling better than they did before surgery. Dr Bergin adds that once the surgical incision is fully healed, patients should be encouraged to progress as aggressively as possible with rehabilitation. That said, doctors recommend holding off on high impact activities like running and doing squats.

Long-term recovery

Long-term recovery
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Depending on how you feel, you should be able to return to all normal activities within six to 12 months, according to Dr Krauss. Barring infection in the incision or other complications, says Dr Bergin, patients should be as aggressive as possible with rehabilitation in order to get back their range of motion and strength. “The long-term outcome depends on their motivation and ability to continue to strengthen the knee and muscles around the knee for the first year after surgery,” says Dr Peretz.

What are the best-case scenario results?

What are the best-case scenario results?
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Knee replacement is one of the most satisfying surgeries in orthopaedics, says Dr Karkare. The best-case scenario involves a functional joint that remains pain-free for upwards of 30 years, according to sports medicine specialist and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Timothy Bollom. Dr Hodrick likes to see his patients ‘forget’ they’ve had the surgery. Dr Krauss says that many of his patients have returned to very active lifestyles, including playing racquetball and engaging in extreme hiking. For the more sedentary patients, it’s enough to go back to whatever they were doing before, be it shopping, dancing, or walking.

When and why do some knee replacements fail?

When and why do some knee replacements fail?
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The most common reason for early failure is an infection, says Dr Tiberi. Other causes include instability, loosening and wear and tear. Most later failures are the result of persistent pain or mechanical symptoms (the joint locks or gives out), according to Dr Bergin. “These factors are difficult to analyse because there are really no good studies to help us decide why a patient still has pain or dysfunction,” she says.

How long before you know if it was a success?

How long before you know if it was a success?
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Most patients will know that their surgery was a success in the first two to three months after surgery, but sometimes it takes longer to recognise a failed replacement, according to Dr Armin Tehrany, “When a patient feels increasing pain and/or decreasing function at least six months after surgery, the initial surgeon should be seen for evaluation.”

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How to avoid knee replacement

How to avoid knee replacement
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For some, knee replacements are inevitable due to genetic predisposition to arthritis. “It isn’t possible to prevent arthritis or slow down the progression,” says Dr Tiberi. But you can help prevent an arthritic knee from being so painful that you require surgery, he says, by maintaining a healthy body weight and an active lifestyle. Try low impact exercise to keep leg muscles strong. In addition, studies indicate there may be hope for using stem cells to treat knee pain in the future, according to Dr Tehrany.

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Source: RD.com

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