Recovering from a knee injury can be frustrating for many people. Especially when mobility is impaired, as is the case with knee injuries. Another source of frustration is the recovery schedule. The timeline can be a long process. For athletes who need and want to get back on the field of play, this can be very frustrating. For each day, people just want life to get back to some normalcy and a speedy recovery and return of mobility can bring normalcy back to life.
This begs the question … How do we facilitate a quick or accelerated recovery from knee surgery?
To answer this question, it is important to understand common knee injuries, what steps to take to recover quickly, the normal or typical time it takes to recover, and how the use of cryotherapy and compression can facilitate a speedy recovery.
Common knee injuries:
ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. The ACL is a band of connective tissue that connects the tibia to the femur through the middle of the knee joint. The ACL is an important ligament that provides stability to twist or plantar. This type of knee injury can occur without contact and by planting or pivoting the foot in a certain way. Athletes suffering from this type of knee injury often require reconstructive surgery due to the importance of the ACL in stabilizing the knee.
MCL stands for Medial Collateral Ligament. Like the anterior cruciate ligament, this knee ligament provides stability to the knee. This ligament runs along the inner side of the knee joint. Unlike the ACL, an MCL injury often occurs when there is physical contact or a blow to the knee.
The knee meniscus is a cartilaginous tissue that cushions the knee joint and cushions the friction between the tibia and the femur. The knee joint has two menisci. A torn meniscus can come from an impact or from a rotation at specific angles.
It is possible to have all three knee injuries in one accident. Having all three is more common in athletes.
Whether you experience all three injuries at once or just one of the injuries mentioned, the recovery process is similar for each injury.
Knee surgery recovery
After knee surgery, you will want to get back on your feet as quickly as possible. To do this, it is important to follow the advice and recommendations of your doctor. Feel free to talk to your doctor about the following.
In order for our bodies to heal, we need to rest. Even after you begin to regain your rate of movement after surgery, it is important to rest your surgically repaired knee. Your doctor and physical therapist will give you advice on how active you should be during the recovery process. Not only is rest important during waking hours, but getting enough sleep at night will only help in the recovery process.
The word cryotherapy comes from two Greek words. “Cryo”, which means cold and “Therapy”, which means to heal. Cryotherapy is the application of cold temperatures to an injury to reduce inflammation, swelling, pain, and the accumulation of excess fluid (edema). Applying cold temperatures to injuries or damaged tissue will slow down cellular metabolism, resulting in a decrease in oxygen demand that normal damaged tissue would need.
It is common to have an excessive accumulation of fluids in and around knee surgery. This can slow down the healing process. Compression can prevent this excess fluid from building up and at the same time reduce inflammation. Active compression is when compression is applied intermittently like a pump. This type of compression is more beneficial than static compression. Active compression facilitates the flow of oxygenated blood to damaged tissue and prevents edema. This result is a faster healing timeline for your knee.
Good nutrition and getting enough sleep will allow your body to use the energy it needs to heal itself. Make sure to do this, this may not hurt, but it will only help your body.
In conclusion, recovery from knee surgery can be a long process. To shorten that process, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions, which may include rest, cryotherapy, compression, and a healthy life.