Recovering While in the Hospital
Patients will be required to perform certain exercises before being released from the hospital, for their own safety and well-being. This may require physical therapy.
After undergoing total knee replacement, your joint must be stable enough so that you can straighten and bend your leg. The average hospital stay for this surgery is 3-7 days.
If you’ve gotten your hip replaced, you will be given pain medication, physical therapy, and encouraged to take deep breaths and/or use a spirometer to prevent pneumonia. It may be required that you are able to walk with a walker before returning home. Surgical stitches will most likely be removed after about 2 weeks.
Depending on what type of surgery you’ve undergone will determine recovery time and processes. Some rehabilitation or physical therapy may be necessary as well as prescribed pain medication and immobilization.
Shoulder surgery may involve immobilization through a sling or cast. There will be exercises that you’ll be shown that will help you regain movement and strength back in your shoulder. In surgeries such as rotator cuff surgery, you’ll need to be shown what movements are safe to perform in your condition.
Caring After Wounds & Scars
- If incisions are closed with sutures and wrapped with a dressing, the sutures will likely be removed within a couple of weeks post surgery. You should be provided with instructions on how to change dressings prior to release from the hospital.
- For those weeks preceding suture removal, however, the wound are should stay dry, so you my not bathe or clean the joint until after removal.
Pain Management & Relief
- Some pain and discomfort is common after surgery, but it is important to perform your physical therapy activities in spite of any soreness you experience.
- Pain medication will be prescribed so that discomfort is minimized.
- Medications will be dependent on the surgical treatment received, but all medication should be accompanied by written instructions.
- It’s important to get rest and so for weeks or months after surgery, you will need to have diminished activity.
- Physical therapy regimens take place soon after surgery in order to motivate and facilitate recovery and build strength.
- It is important to not try to do too much too soon, however so that you do not suffer injury.
- Physical therapists will instruct you on what activities are best to perform.
Complications are not common, though it’s good to be aware of warning signs.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms:
- Fever over 101 °F
- Bleeding that does not stop with applied pressure
- Pain that does not go away or pain in a different area
- Numbness in hands and fingers or they are darker in color or cool to the touch
- A yellow discharge from any of the wounds
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
- Swelling and redness of the joint
Follow-up appointments after your release from the hospital are paramount. Physical examinations and x-rays will assist doctors in analyzing your condition and assessing your progress.