Orthopaedics: The Charles J August Joint Replacement Center

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Joint Replacement   |   Knee   |   Hip   |   Shoulder
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Recovery at Home

Your new knee at home

As you continue to recover at home, our knee guidebook is a great resource to keep you on the track toward recovery.  You’ll find information regarding caring for your incision and recognizing signs of infection and blood clots. The guidebook also provides exercise goals, daily living instructions and safety tips.

Some patients going home will begin therapy at an outpatient physical therapy facility - otherwise home health services will be arranged for you. At Unity Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation our therapists will create a plan just for your recovery, using traditional techniques combined with the latest technology. We accept most insurance, and prior to participating in these programs you’ll need a prescription from your physician.

We offer several convenient locations - so it’s easy to work therapy visits into your schedule.

Going Home Directly

You will receive written discharge instructions concerning medications, physical therapy, activity, etc. We will arrange for equipment. Some patients going home will begin therapy at an outpatient PT facility, otherwise home health services will be arranged for you.

Caring For Yourself at Home

When you go home, there are a variety of things you need to know for your safety, your recovery, and your comfort.

Be Comfortable
  • Take your pain medicine at least 30 minutes before physical therapy.
  • Gradually wean yourself from prescription medication to a non-prescription pain reliever. You may take two Extra-strength Tylenol® Analgesic in place of your prescription medication up to four times per day.
  • Change your position every 45 minutes.
  • Use ice for pain control. Be sure to bring your ice wrap and four gel bags home from the hospital with you. Applying ice to your affected joint will decrease discomfort, but do not use for more than 30 minutes each hour. You can use it before and after your exercise program.
Try Not to Nap Too Much

While you are recovering, try not to nap during the day so that you will sleep better at night.

Body Changes

Your appetite may be poor.

While you are recovering, try not to nap during the day so that you will sleep better at night. Knee Replacement Recovery
  • You may have difficulty sleeping, which is normal. Do not sleep or nap too much during the day.
  • Your energy level will be decreased for at least the first month.
  • Pain medication that contains narcotics promotes constipation.
  • Use stool softeners or laxatives, if necessary.

Blood Clots and Anticoagulants

You will be given a blood thinner to help avoid blood clots in your legs. You will need to take it for three to six weeks depending on your individual situation. Be sure to take as directed by your surgeon. The amount you take may change depending on how much your blood thins. Therefore, it will be necessary to do blood tests once or twice weekly to determine this.

Recognizing & Preventing Potential Complications Infection

Knee Replacement Preventing Infections
Signs of Infection
  • Increased swelling and redness at incision site
  • Change in color, amount, odor of drainage
  • Increased pain in knee
  • Fever greater than 100.5 degrees
Prevention of Infection
  • Take prophylactic antibiotics when having dental work or other potentially contaminating procedures.
  • Notify your physician and dentist that you have a joint replacement.

Around the House

Saving energy and protecting your joints

  • Do NOT get down on your knees to scrub floors. Use a mop and long-handled brushes.
  • Plan ahead! Gather all your cooking supplies at one time. Then, sit to prepare your meal.
  • Place frequently used cooking supplies and utensils where they can be reached without too much bending or stretching.
  • To provide a better working height, use a high stool, or put cushions on your chair when preparing meals.
  • Do NOT get down on your knees to scrub the bathtub.
  • Use a mop or other long-handled brushes.
Safety and Avoiding Falls
  • Pick up throw rugs and tack down loose carpeting. Cover slippery surfaces with carpets that are firmly anchored to the floor or that have non-skid backs.
  • Be aware of all floor hazards such as pets, small objects, or uneven surfaces.
  • Provide good lighting throughout. Install nightlights in the bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
  • Keep extension cords and telephone cords out of pathways. Do NOT run wires under rugs, this is a fire hazard.
  • Do NOT wear open-toe slippers or shoes without backs. They do not provide adequate support and can lead to slips and falls.
  • Sit in chairs with arms. It makes it easier to get up.
  • Rise slowly from either a sitting or lying position to avoid getting light-headed.
  • Do not lift heavy objects for the first three months and then only with your surgeon's permission.
Do’s and Don'ts for the Rest of Your Life

Whether you have reached all the recommended goals in three months or not, you need to have a regular exercise program to maintain the fitness and the health of the muscles around the joints. With both your orthopaedic and primary care physicians' permission, you should be on a regular exercise program three to four times per week lasting 20-30 minutes. Impact activities such as running and singles tennis may put too much load on the joint and are not recommended. High-risk activities such as downhill skiing are likewise discouraged because of the risk of fractures around the prosthesis and damage to the prosthesis itself. Infections are always a potential problem and you may need antibiotics for prevention.

What to Do in General
  • Take antibiotics one hour before you have dental work or other invasive procedures.
  • Although the risks are very low for post-operative infections, it is important to realize that the risk remains. A prosthetic joint could possibly attract the bacteria from an infection located in another part of your body. If you should develop a fever of more than 100.5 degrees or sustain an injury such as a deep cut or puncture wound, you should clean it as best you can, put a sterile dressing or an adhesive bandage on it and notify your doctor. The closer the injury is to your prosthesis, the greater the concern. Occasionally, antibiotics may be needed. Superficial scratches may be treated with topical antibiotic ointment. Notify your doctor if the area is painful or reddened.
  • When traveling, stop and change positions hourly to prevent your joint from tightening.
  • See your surgeon yearly unless otherwise recommended.

Unity Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

Unity at Ridgeway
2655 Ridgeway Avenue, Suite 320
Rochester, NY 14626
Phone (585) 368-6600
Fax (585) 368 6601
Aquatic therapy is available at this location.

Kings Park
100 Kings Highway
Rochester, NY 14621
Phone (585) 467-1070
Fax (585) 467-2447

Unity at Brockport
6668 Fourth Section Road
Brockport, NY 14420
Phone (585) 368-6860
Fax (585) 368-6861

The Pieters Family Life Center
1025 Commons Way
Rochester, NY 14623
Phone (585) 487-3500
Fax (585) 487-3527
Aquatic therapy is available at this location.

Our team earned The Joint commission's Gold Seal of Approval.
Unity Health The Charles J August Joint Replacement Center
1555 Long Pond Road   |   Rochester, NY 14626
(585) 368-4545