Studies show that most patients recover as well at home after knee surgery as they do at a rehabilitation facility. Many people return to their houses a few days after their procedure. Simple changes around the house can reduce the risk of further damage to your knee before surgery and make your home more comfortable when you return.
Move Some Items
Relocate your bedroom to the first floor if it is on another level. Consider moving a laundry room as well if it is currently on the second floor or in a basement. If relocation of the laundry room is not possible, ask for help from a friend or relative for a few weeks to avoid the danger of navigating the stairs with a laundry basket.
Move the most often used items in the kitchen to the countertop or to a cupboard that allows you to reach them without the need to bend or stretch. Use wheeled islands or carts to move ingredients and kitchen tools from one side of the room to the other in one trip.
Remove all area rugs and mats because the edges present a fall hazard. Create a wide hazard-free path through the home. Remove any clutter or decorative items that could get in your way, like a small ottoman or a plant stand.
Buy Some Tools
Helpful gadgets exist to make life easier for people with knee, mobility, and arthritis issues. Leg extenders raise furniture so it is accessible to the user without a deep knee bend.
Reach extenders allow you to grasp items you would normally need to bend or stretch to reach. Look for an extender that adjusts the grip for assorted sizes of items, as well as one with a magnetic tip. Get a sock puller and extended grip nail clippers to make it easier to reach your feet. A shoehorn with a long handle enables you to easily slip on shoes without help.
Use nightlights with timers or sensors so they come on automatically when the home gets dark. The nightlights produce a soft ambient light that prevents falls. Automatic lights will save you from searching for a light switch at night and from bending to turn on switched nightlights.
Prepare the Bathroom
Install tub or shower rails and a handrail beside the toilet. Buy an armless swivel seat for the shower or tub. If you only take baths, place a bench next to the tub so you can slide in and out and avoid the climb over the side. Use non-skid mats in the bath. Use a body brush to wash your lower legs and feet so you do not need to strain to do so. Install an elevated toilet seat.
Stock the Kitchen
Remember to stock healthy food. Diet is especially important if the surgery is due to osteoarthritis. Foods with Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins A, K, and C are anti-inflammatories. Antioxidants help to boost the immune system, and Vitamin E may reduce the damage osteoarthritis causes. Talk to a nutritionist for a recommended diet plan.
A healthy diet also helps to better manage your weight. Excess weight greatly affects the knees. Every pound of excess weight can place an added four pounds of pressure on the knee. Weight management through diet helps if your knee surgery was due to an athletic injury. Sidelined athletes can gain weight from their sudden drop in physical activity.
Knee pain can immobilize once-active people. Surgery may become the only option if other rehabilitation efforts fail. The advancements in surgical techniques make it easier than ever for people to relieve pain and return to their active life. At The Noyes Knee Institute, we want to help you find the solution for your knee problems. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.