Bone surgery

Information about exercises for knee replacement

The people we interviewed were given a booklet of exercises to do at home by the physiotherapist. Exercising was one of the most important things for participants during recovery, and the booklet contained diagrams of the different exercises to do at various stages. Many people, though, would have liked to have been shown how to do the exercises by the physiotherapist before leaving hospital, and to have a TEPI video or a DVD showing how the exercises should be done that they could watch at home. Seeing the exercises being done would have helped them know exactly how to do them and if they were doing them correctly. Having had what they felt was a major operation, it was important to recover as well as possible.
Lesley felt that watching the exercises at home on video would have been helpful. She was shown some exercises she could move onto at the follow-up appointment but felt she should have been told about these earlier. A few others were told at follow-up that using an exercise bike would help at this stage and they wished they’d been told that sooner.
Some people felt that an exercise DVD or website would have motivated them more. Seeing someone doing the exercises would have been encouraging and, according to Janice, not so lonely.
Helene also felt it was unclear how to do all the exercises in the booklet just by looking at the diagrams.
Geoff would have liked exercises on video showing how to walk down the stairs when people first come home.
Keith paid for private physiotherapy so he could have advice on exercising and reassurance. Several other people also felt that physiotherapy would have been helpful shortly after surgery (see ‘Views and experiences of healthcare from people who had a knee replacement’).
Lesley wondered if there were any exercises people could do to help with kneeling. Being able to kneel again was important to several people, especially Peter, a plumber, who needed to be able to kneel for his job. He wondered if he’d be able to kneel once he’d fully recovered and whether he should have his other knee replaced.
Jennifer, who’d had both knees replaced, said that kneeling had been a problem since she’d had her first operation. Although she rarely needed to kneel now, it had been difficult when her grandchildren were young and she’d wanted to play with them. Penelope also couldn’t kneel after her first knee operation and wasn’t expecting to after the second. However, at 65 she was happy she could walk without pain and do all the normal daily activities. Phillip and Geoff, who’d had both knees replaced, said they could kneel again on the knee that had been operated on first, and expected this to be the case with the second knee too. Lesley also said she could kneel again after her knee had healed completely.
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Some people mentioned that their knee had been feeling numb since the operation and they would have liked to know if this was permanent. Lesley would have liked to have known about the numbness before surgery, and Janice said that she’d ask at the follow-up appointment because none of the health professionals had mentioned it.

Last reviewed August 2018.

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