Being almost two years out from my last knee surgery, I still get lots of comments and emails asking me for more tips and tricks during the recovery process. While it has been almost two years, I remember that recovery like it was yesterday. Post knee surgery is no joke. I’m not going to try and sugar coat it. However, once you get over the slight hump, and you incorporate some of these recovery tips and tricks, things get a little easier!
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Post Knee Surgery Recovery tips for Sleeping
One of the best things you can do when you are recovering from surgery is get enough sleep. I’m not a medical doctor, so take this with a grain of salt, but I feel that a tired body doesn’t heal as well as a well rested body. With that said, these are my post knee surgery sleeping tips.
- Purchase the knee elevation pillow. It is worth every penny (and then some). I tried using regular pillows to do the same thing and I barely slept. The pillow linked above is amazing!
- If your bedroom is not on the first floor, sleep on a recliner or couch on the first floor. Navigating the stairs in the beginning is not only scary on crutches, but it completely exhausts you. If you are sleeping on the couch, lay so you have the knee elevation pillow against the back of the couch.
- Ice, ice, and ice again. The hospital sent me home with the COOLMAN Cold Therapy System. If your hospital does not, I highly recommend this. Simply put some water in the unit with frozen water bottles and you have a continuous stream of cold water through the part that goes around your knee. It truly helps keep the swelling down and there is nothing better than waking up and having the swelling down! Less swelling = less pain!
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Showering Tips Post Knee Surgery Recovery
I’m not going to lie, showering in the begging of my recovery was pretty tricky. However, I thankfully had my husbands help to figure it all out and make sure I was safe while doing it. Here are my tips for showering after knee surgery.
- Shower wipes. Sounds gross and believe me, when my husband brought them home, I was disgusted, but getting up the stairs to the shower was so hard in the very beginning, that I gave them a try. These are similar to the bathing wipes he got me. They worked very well and I actually felt clean.
- Sponge baths in the half bath. Simply use a wash cloth, a bar of soap, and water and you can give yourself a pretty decent sponge bath in your half bathroom.
- My husband picked up this shampoo tray so he could help me wash my hair. It worked out pretty well using it in the kitchen sink and using the sprayer. I don’t know about you, but having clean hair always made me feel better!
- For those times that we didn’t wash my hair, I made sure to get a good dry shampoo. I tried a bunch, but my absolute favorite is the Living Proof. A little bit goes a long way and it lasts for quite awhile!
- When I finally did shower upstairs in the actual shower, a shower stool was an absolute must. We wrapped my leg really well with plastic wrap and secured it with tape. The helped to keep the incision dry and I used the hand held shower to do my shower.
Riding in a Car Tips
I bet you didn’t think you needed tips about riding as a passenger in the car! Since I had my right knee done, I couldn’t drive for a LONG time. My husband chauffeured me around everywhere. As a result of the knee surgery I had (MACI with MPFL Reconstruction), bending my knee was not something I could do much of, or at least keep it bent for a period of time. Especially since I was in the ginormous brace for so long. So I rode in the backseat for a long time with my leg up on the seat next to me. I kept a bed pillow in the backseat for me to prop my leg on. It helped make it so my knee wasn’t bouncing around as we drove. When I could finally open the brace up to a semi-bending position, I attempted the front passenger seat. Make sure you put the seat as far back as it goes. When you are getting in, you will need to sort of lift yourself up and back to give your knee enough swing room to get into the car.
Miscellaneous Post Knee Surgery Recovery Tips
I would like to leave you with a few miscellaneous tips that didn’t really fit in the categories above or had enough tips to really have it’s only category. These tips are things I would recommend for anyone having surgery.
- Pain medication. TAKE IT! Set up a schedule and stay on it. Especially in the very beginning. I opted for a nerve block and when that nerve block wore off (about a day or two later), I was in the worst pain. We had skipped a pain pill because I was feeling good. Don’t do that. Take them on a schedule and above all, if you are having too much pain, call the nurses line. They are wonderful and so helpful.
- Constipation. Yep…it can happen and it is the number one reason (according to my nurse) why people don’t take their pain medication. This little trick is something I learned when I had my kids 16 years ago. I had to have them via c-section so I was on pain medication after. Simply take a Colace stool softener pill every single day you take pain medication. It helps!
- Binge watch all the shows! Some of my favorite that I watched while recovering were Little House on the Prairie (Amazon Prime), Criminal Minds (Netflix), You (Netflix), The Crown (Netflix), Dead to Me (Netflix), How to Get Away with Murder (Netflix), and Scandal (Netflix).
- Read, read, and read some more! A few years ago, my husband bought me a Kindle Paperwhite and it was the best gift ever. With your Amazon Prime membership you get a free book every month. If you have a library card to your local library, you can use their digital library system. I also have a Kindle Unlimited (check out the Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans here) membership.
I hope This Helps
It’s my hope that all or some of these post knee surgery recovery tips and tricks help! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me!! I am not a doctor, but I am happy to give you my experience!!