Post knee replacement surgery case study

Jean came to see me four weeks after she had a full left knee replacement. The range of movement was slowly returning, however, the knee still ached at night and both ankles felt weak and painful. Quite typically after an operation on one joint being off your feet and generally feeling weaker, other joint areas will almost as a by-product become painful.

We used lots of non-weight bearing exercises to flex and extend the knees in the pool before moving across to the treadmill. In the treadmill, with the level of water high to give maximum buoyancy, Jean was able to walk quite normally unaided. This in itself gave her a huge boast of confidence.

By using the buoyancy of the water, Jean was able to perform natural everyday movements, which not only strengthens the muscles but also stimulates ‘muscle memory’ speeding up the return to normal movement. We further enhanced this by working on strength around the hips and ankles, as well as working on balance. Within three months of the operation she was jogging in the treadmill! On returning to the Orthopaedic Department six months after the knee replacement the consultant was amazed and delighted at her progress.