Hi everyone, so you have now had your total knee replacement. It is 6 weeks on and all went well. You were walking within the first day with a frame, you managed to get 100 degrees flexion of the knee in the first 3 days. Now you are at 115 degrees which makes it easier to get in and out of the car and work on the stationary bicycle. The surgical scar has healed well and the general pain from the surgery has been minimal. You have been doing your exercises most days although you occasionally forget particularly as you have been doing so well. Then a week later you start to experience some pain in the front of the knee especially going up and down stairs and after sitting for a while. Your knee has also started to click when you move it.
Is the knee replacement becoming loose? Maybe the surgery hasn’t worked. I should not be getting pain after going through all that surgery and I was doing so well. These are the common thoughts you can experience when this happens, and it is a common problem. It can also happen after other types of knee surgery such as an arthroscopy or meniscal repair.
This is a phenomenon called patello-femoral pain. It is pain you experience because the kneecap is not tracking properly because of weakness of the quadriceps muscle.
Knee pain and swelling will stop the quads working properly, subsequently weakening the quads which effects the directional pull on the kneecap (patella). When the kneecap is not tracking properly it will irritate the soft tissue beneath it, resulting in the patella-femoral pain.
This is often the secondary knee pain people can experience after knee surgery. The pain is very preventable and can be treated with appropriate knee and hip strengthening exercises. Therefore, it is so very important to be consistent with your exercise program- even after 6 weeks when everything is going well!
So, what can you do to prevent this happening?
- First and foremost, you must continue with an exercise program aimed at strengthening your quads.
- Strengthen your core stability and the muscles around the hip
- Short term taping of the knee can help to assist the tracking of the patella.
Here are a few exercises you can do to help:
- Standing with feet hip-width apart and arms out in front, bend at the hips and knees lowering your buttocks into a half squat.
- Return to standing.
- Repeat x10
- From standing, step forward bending the front knee to a 45-degree angle by lowering your hips into a half-lunge position.
- Step back to standing.
- Repeat x10
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your buttock muscles and lift your hips high off the floor.
- Repeat x 10
Hope this helps, Deb