Tips & Techniques

Tips Before Knee Surgery

Lauren Goebel 
June 19, 2024
Tips Before Knee Surgery

Preparing for a Smooth Recovery

Getting ready for knee surgery can feel overwhelming, but proper preparation can make a big difference in your recovery. Here are some essential tips to help you get ready:

Practical Preparations

  • Get a Second Pair of Crutches: Keep one pair upstairs and one downstairs to avoid extra trips.
  • Learn to Use Crutches or Assistive Devices: Practice before surgery to become comfortable and confident.
  • Notify Employers and Schools: Provide notes in advance to arrange necessary accommodations.

Bathroom Essentials

Prepare your bathroom for your post-surgery needs. Use plastic wrap to keep your knee dry when showering and invest in a shower chair for a safer and easier showering experience.

Pre-Surgery Hygiene

The night before surgery, use Hibiclens to clean your knee thoroughly. Avoid shaving to prevent cuts and potential infections, ensuring your skin is intact and ready for the procedure.

Healthy Habits

Stock up on healthy foods and cut back on sugars to aid recovery. Ensure your house is filled with nutritious options that support healing. Avoid sleeping with a pillow under your knee, as it's important to focus on gaining straightening back first, which is difficult if you sleep with your knee bent.

Post-Surgery Aids

  • CPM Machine: Check if you need a Continuous Passive Motion machine to help your knee move right away.
  • Game Ready System: See if a Game Ready ice and compression system is necessary for managing pain and swelling.
  • Ace Bandage: Keep an ace bandage handy for swelling reduction—it will be your best friend!

Post-Surgery Care

Keeping your incisions clean is crucial. Be aware of the signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus, odor, a raised scar, or fever. Anesthesia can cause constipation, so have some laxatives on hand and stay on top of it. Limit the use of pain medications like opioids to a few days to avoid side effects and feelings of sickness, and always take your meds with food to prevent stomach issues.

If anesthesia tends to make you nauseous, ask for an anti-nausea patch before surgery or call your doctor for medication if needed. Make sure you have other pain medications like Tylenol or naproxen ready for use after stopping opioids to manage pain effectively. Understand that the nerve block used during surgery may cause your leg to feel weird, heavy, or numb—this is normal and sensations will return with time.

By following these tips and preparing ahead of time, you can set yourself up for a smoother recovery and get back to your activities sooner. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.

Meet the Author
Lauren Goebel joined the Smith Physical Therapy + team in early 2024. Lauren went to Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin where she received her bachelors in athletic training, minor in psychology in 2019, and doctorate of physical therapy in 2022. Lauren specializes in sports medicine, dry needling, and LSVT BIG therapy for patients with Parkinson's Disease. She has a passion for treating athletes after having played collegiate tennis and coaching youth, high school, and college tennis. She has worked with a variety of sports ranging from elementary, middle school, highschool, and D1 + D2 collegiate sports. She can help decrease your injury risk or get you back to the court, field, stage, or gym. Not only does Lauren love treating athletes, she enjoys treating any orthopedic condition. She has experience with aquatic therapy, TMJ, Parkinson's Disease, chronic conditions, and managing headaches. Lauren has been in and out of PT herself with various sports injuries, allowing her to connect with her patients. “I can empathize with each patient that walks in the door since I have been in their shoes. I know how hard an injury is physically, mentally, and emotionally. My injuries have given me a greater insight into helping my patients in order to individualize their treatment plan and be on their team”. In her free time, Lauren is a proud dog mom and loves talking about her two pups -Kona and Trixie. You can find her watching Greys Anatomy, baking cookies, playing tennis/pickleball, at the gym, shopping around TJ Maxx, and obsessing over anything Disney.
You were made to move!