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Q: My 86 year old mother fell and broke her hip and knee. Both were repaired. She was given a total knee replacement.

Doctors tell her she should be able to walk on a walker. Right now she seems to be unable to even stand up. She said she is afraid of falling again. Her muscle tone seems lacking because she has spent a lot of time in bed over her hospital stay.

What techniques can I use to help her regain her ability to walk using her walker? What is the timeline that we should expect to encounter during her recovery?

Mercy Rehab: Without having our medical and therapy professionals evaluate your mother formally, we are not able to offer medical advice. But we can provide some general information about the recovery process after a hip and knee injury. It’s important to consult with your mother’s healthcare team for accurate advice and information specific to her condition.

The recovery timeline can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of her injury, overall health, and individual circumstances. Here are some general techniques and milestones to consider:

  1. Post-surgery recovery: Beginning the day after surgery, your mother will likely spend some time in the hospital for initial recovery and monitoring. The healthcare team will manage her pain, administer necessary medications, and monitor her progress. They will also provide instructions for post-surgical care and mobility in the weeks after surgery. Note: Mercy Rehab excels at post-surgery rehab from knee replacement!
  2. Physical therapy: Physical therapy plays a crucial role in regaining mobility and strength after joint replacement surgery. The healthcare team will likely recommend a physical therapy program tailored to your mother’s specific needs. Physical therapists will guide her through exercises to improve range of motion, muscle strength, and balance. The frequency and duration of therapy sessions may vary, but they are typically scheduled multiple times a week initially. Note: Yep, Mercy Rehab offers great physical therapy in the Belleville area as well.
  3. Gradual weight-bearing: Depending on the surgical procedure and the surgeon’s instructions, your mother’s healthcare team will advise on when and how much weight she can bear on her repaired leg. Exercises such as straight leg raises can help build up not only leg strength but also core strength. Initially, she may be restricted from putting weight on the leg to allow for proper healing. As she progresses, she will gradually increase weight-bearing with the guidance of her healthcare team and physical therapist.
  4. Using a walker: The healthcare team will assess your mother’s ability to use a walker safely. Several times a day the team should provide guidance on how to use the walker correctly, adjust it to her height, and ensure proper positioning. The physical therapist will work with her to practice standing up, walking with the walker, and gradually increasing the distance and duration of walking.
  5. Muscle strengthening: Bed rest and immobility can lead to muscle weakness and loss of tone. Physical therapy will focus on exercises to strengthen the muscles around the hip and knee joints. These exercises will help improve stability, balance, and overall strength.
  6. Fear of falling: It’s common for individuals who have experienced a fall and injury to develop a fear of falling again. Addressing this fear is crucial for your mother’s recovery. The healthcare team and a mental health professional, if necessary, can help provide strategies to manage anxiety and improve confidence in walking and mobility.

The recovery timeline can vary significantly among individuals. It is best to consult with your mother’s healthcare team to get a more accurate understanding of her specific recovery timeline, milestones, and any potential complications to watch out for. They will be able to provide the most appropriate guidance and support throughout her rehabilitation process.

Contact Us At Mercy Rehabilitation and Care Center

If you are someone you know is interested in potential admission to Mercy Rehab, you can get the process started in the following ways:

  • If your mother is in the hospital, ask the hospital social worker to send a medical referral to Mercy Rehab.
  • If your loved one is at home, contact the physician and request that medical records be sent to Mercy Rehab.
  • If your mom is in another facility, ask that facility to send a medical referral to Mercy Rehab.
  • You are always welcome to stop by for a tour and ask additional questions regarding the admissions process.
  • Simply call us at: 618-236-1391
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