Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Exercise and the knees

Another thing Marie of Booktoots's Weblog posted was Don’t Stop Exercising After A TKR. I'm still going through physical therapy, and may go through it for another 2-3 months. I should be able to walk around the building next door maybe around 3 months if not sooner with the assistance of a cane. I can see her point in saying that we shouldn't stop exercising. Walking is probably the best thing to do after this and even way afterwards. I had arthroscopies some years ago, and was a delivery driver around that time. That meant a lot of walking and using steps. That probably helped me out in getting back to walking quickly.

My doing water walking and using the hot tub at the local rec center before the second surgery most likely did a great job in my being able to walk further than I did the first time and head on home. After the first surgery, I couldn't even go far out of the hospital room and went on to a rehab facility for 3 weeks.

Either way, one thing that's been recommended by doctors and therapists is a heating pad. Wrap it around your thigh in a way that even the knee joint will get the benefit of warmth. Use a medium heat setting for about 30 minutes, then start doing stretches and other exercises. Using a hot tub or similar can have the same benefits. Electric blankets may sound like a good idea, but they most likely won't do as good a job as the pads. The ones measuring 12 x 24 are an excellent size. I use the medium setting for 20-30 minutes. This would be the second setting in a 3- or 4- setting control. Any higher and burns may occur in the surgical area.

I'm still not quite there in terms of pedaling a bike. I tried at therapy, but wasn't able to do the full cycle on a stationary. I'll try again, this time adjusting the seat higher.

Related post - Post-Knee Surgery Exercises.

I'm using a leg press during therapy, using 60 pounds, doing 3 sets of 15 repetitions. Check with your therapist if you're allowed to do this and what to use.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stairs and the knees

Booktoots's Weblog had an interesting posting on A Possible Stairs Maneuver for TKR Folk. Stairs are a concern for those with knee issues including post-surgery recovery. We know that the knees, hips, and ankles/feet are the most-used joints when using the stairs. It's a major help if the stairwell has railings. Some of us may never be able to take the steps two or three at a time.

What do you do with the wall if there is one on one side and the railing is on the other? Sure, we'll use it to steady ourselves, but after a bit of time, all that touching adds up to become black handmarks and streaks. A good scrubbing with a cleaning agent works wonders.

Marie's post mentioned an email from someone who was going down the steps backwards, but she wasn't able to do so. For some of us with knee replacements, it's a most logical method since our new knees may not be able to go downstairs the normal way at first. I've been using this method since my knee issues started. After I returned from a wedding my sister said that she was impressed by the way I "flew down the steps backwards."

There are hazards to this. Being familiar with your own steps works. If you miss a step, three things can happen. You'll hit the next stop down and nothing will happen, it will hurt, or fall painfully down the remainder of the steps. An alternative would be sidestepping down, a slow method. Work with a therapist on this to develop methods that will work for you.