WHAT DO I DO?
I will see you back in the office typically 7 – 10 days postop. Please call to make an appointment as early as is convenient. The most important thing is to simply take it easy and recover from the surgery. You will given plenty of pain medication. Take it as needed. Everyone’s requirements are different. Remember it is easier to keep pain away than to get rid of it once it sets in. You’ll also typically be given a couple days of prophylactic antibiotics. Just take them until they are gone. Ice is always appropriate and should be used liberally even after the initial 48 hours. Ice packs or cold therapy machines are important to use to keep the joint inflammation and pain down postop. They should be used several times a day even beyond the first 48 hours.
You can take the dressings down after a couple of days. There will be some small pieces of tape ( Steri-strips) over the incision. Just leave these alone. If there is still any drainage, gauze pads from the drug store can be used to keep it off clothes and sheets. The wound needs to be kept dry the first week after surgery.
I’ll typically tell you if there are any specific restrictions in activity postop ( limited weightbearing , limited shoulder movements). Crutches should be used until you can walk without a limp. Limping is never good and can cause other problems. A shoulder sling, if used, is usually for comfort only and one can take it off as tolerated. How active you can be depends on pain and swelling. If these increase, you are doing too much. If these are okay, you can do a little more.
Exercises used the first week are usually to regain joint motion ( pendulum exercises and walking up the wall for shoulders, and straightening and bending for the knee). Strengthening activities start later. Please ask if there are any questions about do’s and don’ts.
Take care! There’s always a period of time between when you can drive and you should drive. Think about liability issues if you did have an accident. Time to find out who your friends are.
I typically recommend you take a week off if you can. I have many patients who get their surgery done on Thursday or Friday and go back to work on Monday or Tuesday. They often aren’t 100%, but its doable if activities can be controlled.