Surgery of any kind requires a solid recovery program, and this is especially true after surgery on a major joint — one that you're used to using a good deal. Whether we reconstruct an ACL in your knee or repair a rotator cuff in your shoulder, there are some across-the-board recovery tips that will help get you back in the game more quickly.
As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, Dr. Schell of William Schell, MD, understands very well that you’re undergoing surgery to be able to continue your active lifestyle.
While we can do our part to get you to that goal, it’s equally important that you play yours during your recovery. Here’s how.
We know this seems obvious, but we really want you to take the time to understand the postoperative instructions we give you. Of course, we review them thoroughly with you before we send you home, but review them once a day to ensure that you’re following them to the letter.
These instructions are based on years of experience helping our patients to get back to an active lifestyle. Our goal is to get you there, safely and quickly, and our postop instructions are your first steps.
From cleaning the incision sites to activity levels during the first days and weeks after surgery, you’ll find that our instructions are quite complete. If there’s something you don’t see on our list, we’re just a phone call away.
Physical therapy (PT) is paramount
It’s hard to overstate the importance of PT after orthopedic surgery. We work directly with your therapist and supply them with the exercises we feel will get you back into playing shape quickly and soundly.
Aside from making your PT appointments, be sure to follow their at-home exercise instructions.
Recognizing a problem
During the early days of recovery, it’s important to recognize when there might be a problem and to act quickly (make an appointment with us!).
First, we want you to be vigilant about checking the incision sites and cleaning them. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, and pain, among others, and if you experience any of these, contact us straight away.
As well, if you’re feeling any symptoms, such as discomfort or swelling, that you believe are above and beyond the normal side effects of surgery, please let us know.
We understand that you’ve already weathered a long haul with your damaged joint, and you want nothing more than to put the whole experience in the rear view mirror. We ask that you practice a lot of patience during your recovery and resist the urge to work ahead of schedule.
There are no extra credit scores for working ahead, and you can do far more damage than good.
Don’t let fear rule
On the opposite end of the patience issue is the tendency to baby the joint. It’s important to get the joint (and you) as active as possible so that you heal well. We provide you with a list of activities that you should enjoy, and we add to this list as your joint heals and strengthens.
With some commitment, work, and patience on your part, you’ll be back in playing shape in no time.
If you have more questions about healing after orthopedic surgery, please contact our New York City office on Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side.