Second, be prepared when you get home. It would be beneficial to request help from a friend or family member to get around your home for the first 1-2 weeks or longer once you are out of the hospital. If there is no one available to help, you may consider staying at a skilled nursing facility. Activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as using a restroom, cooking, cleaning, walking longer distances, or even moving around in bed could be very taxing after a major replacement surgery. Not to mention you may feel out of sorts depending on what type of pain meds your doctor prescribes and how your body responds to those will often times make you “foggy” and fatigued.
Third, ice, elevate (when possible), and control the pain with medications. These methods are the best way to keep the pain under control. Icing and elevating helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. A good rule to follow when elevating is to keep the affected limb above heart level. This is how excess fluids will flow toward the lymphatic system and be reabsorbed by the body. Make sure you are icing and elevating on a regular basis, before things get swollen and painful as well as taking your pain medications on a schedule. Your medications will help to decrease the pain by blocking the pain message from getting to your brain, as well as reduce the body’s reaction to pain.
Fourth, keep moving and stay as loose as possible. Maybe you have already been to a physical therapist for this particular problem. Often time’s surgeons will prescribe therapy before surgery in order to try to prolong the need for replacement. The stronger and more flexible you are before surgery, the easier recovery is in most cases. After surgery, regaining motion, flexibility and strength is your greatest priority so that you can get back to a normal life. Your physical therapist, working together with your surgeon, will help to come up with a program that you should follow in the weeks and months after surgery.
Fifth, make sure you are taking in the right nutrients, enough liquids and getting plenty of rest. It is important to work with your body to help it to heal especially in the first 6-12 weeks. This means eating adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables and foods that contain essential vitamins and minerals so that your body has plenty of the right tools to put things back together. Within the first 12 weeks is when your body is doing the most significant amount of dissolving and rebuilding tissues, cartilage and bone. And believe it or not this tearing down and rebuilding requires a great deal of energy. Getting enough rest is essential.