Recovery after knee surgery has come a long way in past decades. In addition to new surgical techniques, new recovery technologies can help you to return to normal activity more comfortably and as quickly as possible. While it’s not possible to completely avoid all pain, discomfort, and inconvenience, new technologies have made knee surgery recovery less of a hassle .
If you are planning a knee surgery or are currently in the recovery process, consider these five technologies to help you heal more quickly:
1. Cryotherapy Systems
Applying cold to help reduce pain and swelling is not a new concept—ice packs have been around for decades. However, combining therapeutic cold with active compression can provide even more benefits, such as:
- Pain relief with reduced or no medication
- Deeper-penetrating and longer-lasting cold
- Easy-to-use systems that keep you dry
- Prevention of excess swelling with active pumping
- Slower cellular metabolism for less tissue damage
- Increased circulation of blood and nutrients
Cryotherapy systems are safe enough to use on your own, so you can rent one for home use while you recover.
2. Contrast Therapy Systems
Rapidly alternating between therapeutic heat and cold can also aid the recovery process. Historically, this was done to support knee surgery recovery by submerging the leg in hot and cold baths. This is obviously not convenient for anybody, even when doing it in a clinical setting. It can also be uncomfortable because you get wet, and you have to move between two baths in order to get treatment.
Contrast therapy devices eliminate the inconvenience and discomfort by delivering heat and cold through adjustable body-conforming wraps. Therapeutic heat is applied to help increase blood flow, stimulate healing, and reduce pain and stiffness. This is quickly alternated with therapeutic cold to provide the cryotherapy benefits described above and to help prevent any swelling that might be triggered by heat therapy.
3. Active Compression Systems
Active compression systems are designed to improve blood flow and remove excess fluids from the affected area. As tissues heal during knee surgery recovery, they need oxygen and nutrients to repair themselves. Improving circulation helps promote healing by bringing freshly oxygenated blood to the area and removing cellular waste. Active compression mimics the body’s natural pumping action to promote circulation and help prevent excess swelling.
4. Bionic Knee Braces
Doctors typically recommend the use of a brace to support the knee joint after surgery. Designed to reduce stress on the knee joint while increasing strength in the surrounding muscles, bionic knee braces work by storing and releasing energy as you bend and straighten your leg. Because they are adjustable, they can help you build strength over time. In the early days of recovery, you can get more movement assistance, and as you build strength, you can reduce the amount of support the brace provides.
5. Recovery Apps— Coming Soon...
While still in clinical trials, scientists are testing mobile app technology that is designed to help knee surgery patients recover faster. The system, which combines a wearable activity tracker with a mobile app, is intended to:
- Improve compliance with rehabilitation exercises
- Provide physical therapy exercise demonstration videos
- Guide patients through pre-surgery checklists
- Deliver notifications and reminders through texts, audio files, and videos
Healthcare professionals can monitor progress remotely and adapt recommendations based on the information they receive. While they can’t replace one-on-one interactions with doctors, these types of digital healthcare solutions may help patients recover faster after knee surgery.
Supporting recovery after knee surgery, means getting you back to doing what you love as quickly as possible. If you would like to learn more about ways to bounce back from knee surgery more quickly, download our free e-book, The Game Ready Guide to Knee Surgery Recovery.