Recovering at Your Own Rate

No two surgeries are the same. Just because your friend could run 4 weeks after knee surgery doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to do the same thing. Neither does it mean that your surgery has failed. You and your friend are experiencing a different course of healing and very possibly a slightly different procedure was done.

One of the most common reports we hear at RHC is that the pain after surgery is in the same place it was beforehand, with a follow-up question asking whether that means the surgery didn’t work. We assure our patients that it should hurt where the work was done.

Understanding the Post-Operative Healing Process

From the start it is valuable to long-term recovery if the patient clearly understands the healing process, what is normal and usual in the phases of recovery, and that there are patterns to pain and motion after surgery. This alleviates patients’ fears and helps them mentally relax about their recovery.

Depending on the surgery performed many have specific protocols that follow the timeline of ligament, tendon or muscle healing. Each of these tissues has a time frame that needs to be adhered to so that the repair is not injured. With almost all, the range of motion is the most important initial goal, and then strength will follow. With certain surgeries, certain positions or ranges of motion need to be respected, but we generally have only 3-4 months to gain full range of motion before scar tissue adhesions become trouble, with strength always following.