Knee surgery: The reality of rehab
Knee surgery is only one part of the journey, rehab requires patience and persistence. The reality of how long it takes to recover can catch people by surprise.
He had a bad reaction to the pain medication, and wound up in the intensive care unit (ICU) with his leg bent for a few days. As a result, he found it hard to straighten his knee after surgery, setting him back in his recovery.
Ron says strengthening work, before the second surgery made the world of difference in his recovery.
“If that work can be done before the surgery, then the muscles seem to activate and control the area better after surgery,” he says. “That means you can get moving more quickly, start walking well and get back to the things that are important to you in your life much quicker after surgery.”
“I really think it’s very important, because after you come out from the normal rehab after the operation, you don’t really fire up,” he says. “You need somewhere to go to help you along with your exercises, just to be a bit more supported.”
Ron says after just over a year of rehab, he’s 90 per cent recovered, but 100 per cent better than he was before having any surgery.
Kabir Sengupta, a 29-year-old marketing consultant, ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) playing mixed netball.
He thought he would ice it off and it would improve, but after five weeks he was still hobbling around. An MRI confirmed the news he wasn’t prepared for. A ruptured ACL - one of the major ligaments in the knee, connecting the femur to the tibia.
One minute he was playing sport, the next he was embarking on a 12-month journey, first the surgery, then a rigorous rehabilitation program.
He decided there was no point being upset about it. Instead, he treated his rehab as the most important thing in his life.
In the first week after surgery, he was doing 20 minutes of rehab at home, three times a day. As he got stronger it was once a day.
For Kabir it was important he trusted his physio and surgeon, and felt comfortable asking questions so he knew exactly what to expect.
“One of the things that helped me is knowing I wasn’t in control of this situation so I had to trust my physio and my surgeon,” he says. “Having that strong bond between the three entities (myself, the physio and the surgeon) was really good and it was the reason I was so successful with the rehab.”
He recommends anyone else going through knee surgery make the rehabilitation their number one focus.
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