The muscles and joints in your lower extremities are important for daily living, but many people take this for granted until they experience pain or swelling. A swollen knee is not only uncomfortable, it can also prevent you from going up and down stairs and limit your desire or ability to walk. This can be very disruptive to daily life and should be addressed as soon as possible to help prevent further damage and allow you to quickly get back to normal. Knee swelling can be caused by a range of factors including:
What to Expect During Amputation RehabilitationRecovering from an amputation is much like recovering from any other type of surgery, with a few unique aspects. You can expect to go through the following stages of recovery:
- Infection prevention - Antibiotics are administered immediately after amputation surgery to prevent infection. The surgical site is also regularly cleaned and dressings are changed periodically. Compressive bandages are typically used to keep swelling down, increase blood pressure at the amputation site, and help speed up the healing process.
- Pain management - Pain medications are typically administered immediately after surgery and tapered off as healing progresses. Cold therapy can also be used to help control pain and reduce the amount of medication required.
- Prosthetic fitting - In many cases, several different prosthetic fittings are required throughout the healing process because the size and shape of the residual limb change over time. The first fitting can be as soon as a few weeks after surgery. As swelling subsides and the limb takes on a more permanent shape, the prosthetic socket is tailored to fit as comfortably as possible.
- Physical therapy - An important part of amputation rehabilitation is physical therapy. Certain stretches are encouraged to promote healthy circulation, and strength-building exercises help ease the transition to a prosthetic limb.
- Life as an amputee - Although prosthetic limbs can dramatically improve quality of life, they can also cause pain and swelling, especially if they are used frequently. An important part of life as an amputee is creating healthy habits that will help reduce pain and improve general well-being. Healthy nutrition, regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and methods for controlling pain and swelling will all contribute to a smooth transition.
Cold compression therapy can be used during various stages in the amputation rehabilitation process. Immediately after surgery, active compression and cryotherapy help reduce swelling at the amputation site, making the healing process faster and decreasing the amount of time required before the first prosthetic fitting.
As the residual limb continues to heal, cold compression wraps can be used to help maintain its desired shape, and to reduce the pain that often comes following surgery. Even when the residual limb is completely healed, cold compression therapy can help reduce the pain and swelling that comes with regular prosthetic use, particularly for lower limb amputees that must put a lot of pressure on the prosthetic.
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Amputation rehabilitation is an ongoing process that is different for every individual. However, there are some common steps in the recovery process that every patient can expect to encounter. The emotional response to an amputation will vary, but the physical response is easier to prepare for, especially if you know more about what to expect in advance.
If you’re one of the two million people in the U.S. living with the loss of a limb, you know how important physical rehabilitation is for those seeking to recover after an amputation. Therapy helps amputees learn how to adjust and recover as much of their functional life as possible. The good news is that surgical techniques, rehabilitation methods and prosthetic designs have improved greatly, and so most amputees are able to function at high levels.