As we get older, we become more vulnerable to conditions like arthritis as well as injuries that can lead to serious joint and muscle problems. Surgery is a common solution to these physical impairments. For example, more than 75,000 hip fractures occur in the UK each year, many of which result in hospitalisation and surgery, according to the NHS. Similarly, the number of people who have knee surgery across the country can reach 70,000 annually.
It's important that you know how to recover from surgery if you have to have a joint replacement or another form of surgery. After an operation, talk to your doctors about any concerns you have about the recovery process and if there are any key activities to avoid. The National Joint Registry says to notify your general physician once you return home so that they can be on call in case an emergency arises as you recover.
While the recovery instructions provided after surgery may vary depending on the specific procedure, there are general rules that apply for most surgeries. If you're getting ready for an operation or considering having one done, remember these five tips to ensure you're allowing yourself to heal properly when the time comes.
1. Eat healthily
As your body works to recover from your procedure, it's going to need vitamins and minerals to heal properly. The Royal College of Surgeons says that eating well is crucial to ensure that your body has the nutrients it requires. Getting enough fibre is particularly important following surgery.
2. Surround yourself with support
In addition to being physically straining, the recovery process can also be challenging on an emotional level. Surround yourself with loved ones who can not only assist you with tasks that you're temporarily unable to handle on your own, but provide you with moral support if things start to get difficult. If you're living at a care home with a full-time carer, explain which activities are giving you the most trouble so that they know when to step in with extra support.
3. Exercise if possible
When you don't move or stretch the impacted joint after surgery, this could prevent a full recovery. While it's important to stay active, the National Joint Registry says that you should stick to the light exercises suggested by your physiotherapist and always check before increasing intensity. If approved by your doctor, it can benefit you mentally and physically to go for a short walk each day, gradually increasing the distance.
"Never cross your legs following a procedure."
4. Know which movements and activities to avoid
While there are certain tasks to make sure you do while recovering from your surgery, there are also activities to avoid. The National Joint Registry says that you should never cross your legs following a procedure, as this can have a negative impact on your joints as they try to heal. A general rule of thumb to follow is to avoid lying on your side during the first six weeks after surgery. Never kneel, bend over or lift your knee higher than your hip either.
5. Stop smoking
If you smoke, stopping - even just for the period of your recovery - will have numerous benefits for your heart and lungs. This will keep your body healthy and strong as you heal. Quitting the habit can greatly increase the speed at which you recover, as your breathing and circulation will improve as well.
At Gracewell, carers at our respite care homes offer full-time support and attention to residents who require special assistance while recovering from surgery. To learn more about how we can help or to find a location near you, contact us today.