Using a Cane to Recover from Knee Surgery
Posted by ALEX TORRES
Ready to Learn how a Cane can Assist with Knee Surgery Recovery? Keep Reading!
Although knee surgery isn't fun, it is often the best and only solution for chronic knee pain. Afterward, coming up with a game plan for rehabilitating your knee, and then making the commitment to adhere to the plan, become the first steps in your recovery. In addition to a good physical therapist, a cane will prove to be a valuable companion during this time. Using a cane during recovery from knee surgery recovery can offer support, balance, and stability.
Slowly and carefully at first, movement is an essential part of the plan. As the old saying goes, "You have to walk before you run". In fact, walking, the easiest form of movement, is likely to be among the initial recommendations your physical therapist will make. All you need to bring along are your determination and a little patience.
Using a Cane During Physical Therapy
Working with you regularly, a physical therapist can help to restore your ability to walk normally and without pain or with proper pain management. Part drill sergeant and part cheerleader, your physical therapist becomes a close ally in your recovery. Before you know it, you'll be back to all your old activities and maybe even taking on a few new ones. Perhaps dance lessons or long sprint walks are in your future!
Even before leaving the hospital, you will begin a daily regimen of walking longer and longer distances each day. The goal is to be able to walk a minimum of 25 feet with an assisted device such as a quad cane by the time you are discharged from the hospital. Add step climbing, and you'll be on your way home in no time. At that point, a cane may well become your new best friend. Providing the balance that you need as you begin walking, a walking cane serves to prevent you from falling in this delicate time. Whether you select a self-standing cane, with a large cane tip for more support, or a more ergonomically designed derby handle, a cane will relieve some of the pressure on your new knee as you initiate walking once again.
Moreover, while the extraordinary durability and lighter weight of carbon fiber canes make them a great choice among materials for cane design. Adding an extra-large, pivoting rubber cane tip also may prove to be helpful as a stabilizing factor when you first begin. What's most important is that you select a cane that is comfortable for you. One that suits your style and that you enjoy using. With the assortment of colors and patterns in canes, as well as the array of handles, selecting a cane can be a fun experience. You might even select several different styles, coordinating them with your wardrobe now that you'll be able to go out more often.
To further emphasize, the self-standing cane tip is also worth considering. Not only does it offer you greater mobility and maneuverability, but it also flexes as you walk, making it easier on your wrist and hand. An additional benefit of the tripod is that it enables you to perform tasks that require the use of your hands as the cane is freestanding when not in use. Light gardening, fishing or even easy household chores, can be easier with a tripod at this point in your recovery.
How to Use a Cane After Knee Surgery
Using a cane after knee surgery can provide added balance and stability throughout your recovery period. It may also prevent falls or setbacks. However, you need to learn how to use a cane properly after your surgery to get the most benefit from it.
Here's how to walk with your cane after knee surgery. First, always place the cane in the hand opposite the knee you had surgery on. This knee is your "weak" side and you want the cane on the strong side for balance and support, and so your strong leg bears all the weight. Move the cane along with your weak leg as you take a step. Place it down with your weak leg foot as you step. Stabilize yourself by placing weight on the cane, and taking some of the weight off your knee as you step forward with the strong leg.
When walking up or downstairs always make use of the handrails for added assistance. So, place the cane in the hand opposite the railing.
To go upstairs, step up with your strong leg first while grasping the rail and cane in the other hand opposite the rail. Keep the cane on the step with your weak leg (leg you had knee surgery on), then use the strong leg to bring your weak leg up to the next step. Place the cane beside the weak leg and repeat the process.
To go downstairs, place the cane on the stair below you. Then step down with your weak leg first and follow by placing your strong leg beside it on the lower stair. Your strong leg needs to bear the weight as you step down. Learn more about walking up and downstairs with a cane.
Keep the Physical Therapy Going - Don't Give up
If you dream of a future where you won't need a walking cane, except perhaps as a fashion statement, it's imperative that you remain dedicated to your physical therapy regiment. Once you have begun walking, exercises are next in your rehabilitation plan. Guiding you in building the muscles that surround and support your knee, your physical therapist will add knee-strengthening exercises to your daily routine over the following few weeks. These exercises become central to your recovery, particularly as they focus on your hamstrings and quadriceps. With this much of a workout, your legs may look better than ever.
Lying on your back, for instance, straight leg lifts, raising and lowering each leg individually; thigh squeezes, pressing your thighs toward the floor; and lying kicks, placing a towel or large can under your knee and raising your leg without losing contact with the object, all help to build your quadriceps. Likewise, from the same position, heel slides, bending the knee and keeping your foot flat on the floor while moving it toward your body, augment your hamstrings.
Rounding out your exercise routine, knee bending and stretching from a seated position expand your range of motion while ankle pumps, rotating your ankles in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, increase your blood flow. Prevention of the dangerous blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the major advantage of the ankle pumps.
Maintaining that daily exercise regimen becomes key to your recovery. Stick with it, and although you still may not be ready for the dance floor yet, you should be able to drive again about six weeks after surgery. Of course, your doctor is the go-to person for approving that.
Then, just when all of that walking and following your exercise plan begins to feel monotonous, bicycling, golfing and swimming can rescue you from boredom. Enjoyable sports even when you're not rehabilitating your knee, these low-impact activities are also excellent ways to broaden your exercise routine after several weeks. If you enjoy hiking, ensure you have a proper hiking stick to help keep your balance to prevent falls too!
While it may take up to a year to be fully recovered from knee surgery, you will definitely be on the road to more mobility and range of motion after three months. You will be able to do more activities, maybe even dance, without pain. That's a goal worth working toward. Buy a walking cane today and take the first step to a more mobile life after knee surgery!