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Kinetic: mobilizing after surgery

If you've had surgery on your knee, of course you want to recover as quickly as possible. An important part of this is to regain mobility. This means being allowed and able to take support on the leg and having control over what the leg does. To get this done, it is important to start physical therapy immediately after knee surgery.

As you may know (or have experienced), the knee becomes swollen after surgery. We often say that there is fluid (hydrops) in the knee. In reality, it is a reaction of the mucous membrane of the knee causing excess fluid to accumulate in the knee. It may feel unpleasant that the knee is thick because it can cause an oppressive feeling, or the feeling that you are restricted in movement. However, the thickening of the knee has a tremendously useful function. The presence of fluid in the knee and the postoperative heat that comes with it attracts certain cells that are important during the process of connective tissue repair. It also attracts cells that are responsible for clearing away tissue such as that from the wound. So it's not a bad thing that the knee gets swollen after surgery. However, we want to make sure that this swelling goes down and remains stable, preferably within a short period of time. This is because it means that we have been able to bring the knee into a calm state. One in which we can rehabilitate properly.

The draining of fluid in the knee is done by a well-dosed alternation of movement and rest. We therefore always advise you to really rest a lot after surgery and put your leg up. In addition, we would like you to perform various exercises. These are intended to reduce the loss of muscle mass, to help drain fluids and to stimulate blood circulation in the leg. The idea behind this is that during exercise, the pumping function of the blood and lymph vessels is activated so we can thus stimulate the removal of unnecessary fluid. The removal of fluid causes less pressure around the joint which makes it easier to move. This in turn helps in the proper execution of exercises so you can more quickly regain mobility over the joint. Being able to move better prevents the joint from stiffening. 

Regardless of whether we have had surgery or not, our bodies are made to function as efficiently as possible. This means with as little resistance as possible and as little energy as possible. This means that the body uses what we call the 'use it or lose it' principle. A principle in which we see that tissue of which no function is required anymore is cleared away. Just think of the decrease in muscle mass in a leg that you can no longer strain, or the stiffening of a joint that is less used in movement. The longer someone is subject to inactivity and thus decline in function, the more work needs to be done to undo it. To limit the decline in function we coach you intensively and from the first moment after your operation! Together we will make sure that muscle strength and muscle mass will be maintained and regained as much as possible, and we will pay attention to a good freedom of movement for the joint. We can do the latter by using a device known as Kinetic, Artromot or CPM (continuous passive motion). This is a device that can mobilize the leg (hip/knee) in a motorized way. It is a method that is very safe because there is little pressure on the knee and we can adjust to the degree of how far we want to mobilize.

In addition, many people can relax better in the Artromot and the speed of movement is also more constant than when mobilizing by hand. We call the mobilization in the Artromot a form of unloaded mobilization (so there is no pressure in or on the joint). The Artromot allows us to start improving mobility immediately after surgery in a well-dosed and responsible manner. In addition, it gives the therapist the space to deal with all kinds of other important issues such as explaining the rehabilitation process. 


For more questions or physical therapy after surgery mail to [email protected] or call 013-3020191 we are happy to make an appointment.

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