These days, more and more people are getting knee surgery. If you are experiencing chronic knee pain, and regular prescriptions aren’t helping, then your doctor may suggest surgery at some point. The type of knee surgery you have is contingent upon the condition of your knee or the type of injury you have. Although surgery is typically used to treat some form of mechanical problem like a torn ligament or torn cartilage from an injury, another major cause of knee surgery or knee replacement is Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, where over a period of time eats away and wears down the cartilage. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t just affect older people. It can develop at any age. Regardless of whether your knee pain is due to an injury, ligament issue, genetics, arthritis or maybe something else, if you end up having surgery to fix the damage, it’s extremely important that you prepare properly for it. If you want to know how to prepare for knee surgery, keep reading.
Before we get into preparation tips, we wanted to provide you with a few stats to show just how common knee surgery has become over the years. To date, more than 4.5 million Americans have had a total knee replacement, constituting 4.7% of the 50 year and older population. Of those, 63% were woman and 37% men. For women, the rates of knee surgeries per 10,000 people, between the ages of 45 and 64 increased by 157%. For men, the rates of knee surgeries per 10,000 people, between the ages of 45 and 64 increased by 144%. Regionally, 16.6% of knee surgeries were in the NorthEast, another 28.6% in the Midwest, 37.8% in the South, and the remaining 17% in the West.
The rates of surgeries alone are not the only thing increasing. Nine out of ten patients say they have experienced dramatic pain relief as a result of their surgery. In fact, 95% of patients were completely satisfied with their procedure.
How To Prepare For Knee Surgery
If you have an upcoming knee surgery on your calendar, you need to start preparing now and plan things early. Before you even set the date for your surgery, start thinking about how it will impact your life. The first few weeks after the surgery can be stressful, so if you prepare in advance, you can make things go much smoother. Here are some important tips/suggestions on what to do:
- Ask questions – Ask your doctor as many questions as you can think of. Ask them how long the surgery will take, what anesthesia you will use, what rehab is best for you, how long you are not going to be working, etc. You want to write down any questions you think of along the way and then take notes when you get the answers. In fact, you might benefit from bringing a notepad with you so that you can write down the answers just in case you forget.
- Exercise – You want to get into shape as much as you can before the surgery. The more physically fit you are, the better your recovery time will be. Ask your doctor what exercises are best before your surgery and for your particular situation. Improving your upper body strength, for example, makes it easier for you to use a walker or crutches during recovery.
- Get rid of bad habits – If you smoke, try to quit or at least cut down beforehand. Smoking will inhibit the healing and recovery process. If you are a little bit overweight, try to lose a few pounds if possible. Even a few extra pounds shed is a few pounds your healing knee does not have to support. Obesity and smoking increase the chances of complications, so try to stop them as much as possible.
- Start practicing your physical therapy – Figure out what physical therapy exercises you will need to do and start them now. If you know you will be on crutches, by a pair now and start practising walking around with them.
- Write down medical information – Write down your emergency contact, insurance information, health conditions, and any medicines or supplements you take. People are going to ask a lot of questions about this the closer you get to the surgery and even during the physiotherapy session afterwards.
- Phone a friend – You will need help when you recover. If you live by yourself, contact a friend or relative and ask them to stay with you for a while. Or if that’s not possible, ask them to check in on you once a day to see if you need anything. Also make sure you have someone available to bring you to and from the hospital on the day of the surgery.
- Invest in a cold compression therapy wrap – In our opinion, a cold compression therapy wrap (such as the one below) is crucial for post-knee surgery recovery. Many studies have shown that the combination of ice and compression can relieve pain and speed up the healing process. Again, make sure your doctor approves the use of such a device before you decide to buy one. For additional information, refer to the following post: The Importance of Cold Compression Therapy For Knee Pain.
- Stock up – Load up on packaged foods or freezer meals that you can keep on hand. The less cooking you have to do will make your recovery that much easier.
- Buy a post op knee brace – Depending on the nature of your knee surgery, you may need to invest in a post op knee brace for added support, to ease pain, and to speed up recovery. Just make sure you check with your health care practitioner before buying and using one, to make sure it is needed and will help your situation.
- Adjust your home – Make sure your home is easier to navigate. Clear your hallways and put away all loose rugs. Consider safety rails for your bathroom, as well as a sturdy chair to leave near tub/shower in order to sit down to wash. Consider getting a toilet seat rise (with arms installed) if you think you’ll have difficulties sitting down. Move things that you use on a daily basis (coffee machine, condiments, etc.) within arms’ reach of where you plan on resting most of the time.
We hope that you never have to go through it, but if you do, at least you’ll know how to prepare for knee surgery. One important thing to do is to always talk to your doctor. He/she may recommend other things to do ahead of time depending on your situation, so always consult them. If you are thinking about knee surgery, then take a look at our ice knee wrap before you leave. We believe that it will help. Also, if you’ve been through knee surgery before, we’d love to get some feedback from you on how it went and if you have other suggestions on how to get ready for it. Until next time!
Disclaimer – We are not doctors here at SimplyJnJ and we are not qualified to provide medical advice. The information above on how to prepare for knee surgery was posted for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice.
20 thoughts on “Tips on How To Prepare For Knee Surgery”
From someone who has gone through surgery a few times… get rid of all clutter! And when you think you are done, get rid of more! 🙂 Make sure nothing is in the hallfways, bathroom, kitchen counters, etc. It will make your recovery a lot easier.
Thanks for the suggestion Jennie!
These are some pretty good points, I hadn’t even thought about how being physically fit could help you recover faster. Although, it make sense that the healthy muscle would be able to heal itself after the surgery much faster. The only problem I can think of is that it might be difficult for some people to just start before a surgery, but if you’re already physically fit then that is great.
Thanks for the comment Callum, and sorry for not responding sooner. Yes, for sure it might be difficult if the surgery is last minute. The tip was more for people who have a lot of lead time before their surgery. Cheers.
I like that you mention trying to quit smoking beforehand. My dad is looking to get knee surgery from a professional but needs tips. I’ll be sure to talk to him about cutting down on smoking before surgery.
Thanks for the comment Kyle. Cheers.
Thanks for this update. I have been suffering with my knee injury going on 2 years. First Ortho had me do extensive PT, second Ortho had me continue the extensive PT, cortisone shot, MRI, and prescribed many various knee braces then recommended that I get the Scope done post specialist appointment. Post appointment, third Ortho put me back to PT then had second cortisone injection shots. However, although the second Ortho wanted me to get Sendvisk (forgive spelling), we tried all this because I had the option to do the knee surgery or take the conservative approach/method. I painfully regretted not going the surgery route. Two week ago while going to seat down on my couch, my leg gave out again then heard a small cracked noise at the location then I almost fell towards the couch. This pain is unbearable at times where it is extremely difficult to walk but it comes and goes. I cannot walk as fast as I used to and still unable to walk regular nor wear heels. Now, at my next appointment, I will request new XRay to see if I should just go the surgery or scope route. This read was informative. Thanks for sharing.
Hi – Thank you for the comments and for sharing your story and I’m really sorry to hear that you hurt yourself again. One of our readers recently mentioned to me that they tried SynVisc because they were still in pain after OATS surgery a few years ago. They said that it worked well to relieve the pain, but had to get a new injection around the 6 month mark. It definitely helped them to stay mobile. Anyways, I really hope you get some answers at your next appointment. Take care.
I think that what you had to say here in regards to preparing for a knee surgery was really interesting. Just as you said, you should ask your doctors as many questions as you can so that you can be more rest assured. A friend of mine is thinking about having this operation done, and I think that they would really benefit from asking about the anesthesia. Thanks again!
Thank you for the feedback Michael. Much appreciated! Cheers.
Thank you for stating that you should ask questions before your knee surgery. My dad might be getting his knee replaced soon. I will definitely pass along all of your great tips and information to my dad so that he can successfully prepare for his surgery.
Thanks for leaving a comment Sophia. I hope your dad’s surgery goes well and that he has a speedy recovery. Take care.
March 3, 2020
Good suggestions! I had a left knee replacement in the Fall of 2017 and have scheduled my right knee replacement next month.
The only suggestion I want to mention, is having a plan, if you can’t go home the next day. Be sure to check with your insurance company if you “might” need a rehab facility. Find out if that service is covered. I went to go to a rehab facility because I wanted to be able to walk up stairs when I returned home. I also felt that I would receive more intense therapy, at a rehab facility with daily therapy, than I would at home. I live in a tri-level home with lots of stairs. At that time, my insurance covered my week-long stay.
Hi Deb – Thank for you the great suggestions! That’s great information and I think it will come in handy for our readers. Much appreciated.
Hello thank for the tips before you undergo knee surgery. I have knee pain for 3 year now and I plan to have knee replacement this year if God wishes. Thanks very much advices.
Hi Alice – Thank you for the feedback. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been in pain for so long. Hopefully you will get some relief eventually with the replacement. Take care. Dan.
thanks for sharing this very important information regarding knee surgery. God willing, I’m considering having this done in a couple of months. So, the info is very good. thanks for sharing.
No problem at all William and thank you for leaving a comment. If you end up getting the surgery, I hope everything goes well and wish you a speedy recovery!
Thank you for your hints re: knee replacement. I am having mine right knee replaced in October 2021 and am very nervous about it! Thank you again and God bless!
No problem at all Frances. I’m glad you found the information useful. Good luck with your surgery next year!