Inside Surgery: Recovering From Knee Replacement - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Inside Surgery: Recovering From Knee Replacement

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Recovery time after surgery is just as important as the actual procedure. Doctors recommend every joint replacement patient have a coach, and Mark Hoff''s coach is his wife Mary. 

"Mainly it's just taking care of him once he gets home," says Mary. "Making sure he follows the rules, does his exercises, which I think is a main part of recovery."

Along with home exercises, physical therapists highly recommend rehab. The main goal is to allow the patient to bend the knee at least 90 degrees-enough to do those essential daily activities, like walking, climbing stairs and getting in and out of a car. 

"We've got to get the knee straight," says Sanford physical therapist Brandon Dirk. "Getting the knee straight will help so that they start walking normally. If they don't straighten all the way, that's when they get a little bit of a limp."

Rehab isn't always fun or comfortable, and physical therapists say even the most gung-ho patients are hurting during the first few days. 

"It's tough because they're trying to get their motion back. They have some swelling," says Dirk. "They're working on managing pain and the swelling, and early on they don't see the results right away."

But physical therapists say that each person is different, and results take time so having some patience is key. 

"We get to six weeks down the road and they're thinking 'Hey, when can I do my next one.'"

And what is Hoff most ready for? 

"The increase in my everyday activity," he says. 

The entire rehab process usually takes several months. But patients like Hoff say it's worth it because in the end he knows he'll be feeling younger by tomorrow.
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