Physiotherapy still important after Total Knee Replacement
In some cases where the knee osteoarthritis or knee OA is severe and the patient is healthy, Total Knee Replacement or TKR may the most viable solution to your knee pains. So the question arise, “does that mean I can now avoid needing physiotherapy?”. This is a particularly important question as often after a successful TKR, pain is almost or completely gone. Without any or little pain, physiotherapy now seems redundant and a chore. The short answer is YES especially if you want to avoid TKR revision surgery and to avoid other aches and pains arising from the underlying issues that causes the knee OA in the first place. (see Osteoarthritis of the Knee)
The New Knee Joint Doesn’t Last Forever
The first thing patients need to realise it that replacement knee joints will wear out in some 10 to 20 years. If you are in your 40s, you may be looking at another knee surgery in your 60s, when you may not be as healthy as you are now. Surgery at 60s may be a lot more worrying for most people than when they were younger.
In a systematic review published in 2011, revision rates ofabout 6% after five years and 12% after ten years are to be expect (see Revision rates after total joint replacement)
Also, if the underlying causes of the knee OA in the first place such as obesity and bio-mechanical gait issues that are not corrected will speed up the wear and tear of the replacement joint.
Other conditions that came together with the knee pain won’t go away
Other conditions like low back pain that were the result of poor bio-mechanics won’t go away with your new knee joint. With less pain in your knees, you may know be able to walk better such as walking with your weight evenly balanced between both legs where previously you favoured one leg over the other. But it is also likely that it is not as balanced as it should be (which led to your knee OAs in the first place.
Physiotherapy and TKRs go hand-in-hand. Your physiotherapist can help you correct your underlying conditions keeping the need for TKR revision further at bay even if you feel great at the moment.