Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Physical Therapy (PT)is primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential through examination, evaluation, diagnosis and physical intervention carried out by the Physical Therapists (Wikipedia).

After TKR, most of us are subjected to physical therapy to help with the improvement in range of motion and strengthening of the muscles. PT can be a very painful experience and if we worked too hard, our knees become more stiff and swollen afterwards. And this will cause  delay in recovery as experienced by many TKRers.  I feel that PT is necessary but it should be done gently and at our own pace as the wounds from the surgery needs healing, not beating up.

In my home country, outpatient rehab is not very popular. I was taught to do some PT exercises at the hospital and was advised to continue doing them at home after I was discharged. I was so glad that I did not pushed myself too hard when I did the PT at home. I did it gently twice a day, sometimes once and sometimes, I had even forgotten to do it. I believed that because of this, I did not suffer from prolonged swelling and stiffness due to the swelling.  In fact, my rate of recovery was quite fast. It was only when my knees felt better and stronger, then I started to exercise more intensively and my range of motion improved gradually.

Massage is described as the manipulating of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well being (Wikipedia).

Besides PT, I believe that we should consider doing massage as well. I understand that massage after TKR helps to speed up recovery. It helps to move the fluid and get the scar tissue moving, reduce pain and increase range of motion. I also understand from one expert in muscles that after TKR, we should massage the entire thigh area, front and back. This helps to reduce stiffness at the knees and improve range of motion.

In general, massage is good for us.  I enjoyed doing body massage all along as I would feel very relaxed and re-energised afterwards. Some people like traditional massage that uses lots of strength when applying pressure which can be very painful. I prefer the more relaxing massage because its very therapeutic for me.

Among some of the benefits of massage are:-

· Improve blood circulation
· Promote tissue regeneration and reduce scar tissue
· Reduce anxiety, tension and fatigue
· Produce endorphins, a natural feel good drug
· Enhance immune system
· Reduce body aches and pain
· Reduce stiffness and improve range of motion
· Improve sleep quality 

Going for regular massage can be quite costly. But we can minimise it by massaging ourselves particularly on areas that we can easily reach.  I do this every night while watching TV, so it has become a routine.  Occasionally, I will go for massage by a professional massage therapist.  There are many techniques of massage but there is no evidence of which one is the most effective.  You can google to check out various techniques of massage and how it is applied.  Try out some of them and see which one works for you.

Here's something to share with you. I discovered a website and video by Heather Wibbels, a Licensed Massage Therapist which is interesting and may be beneficial.

Click this link below to go to her website.

Click this link below to watch her video on scar and adhesion massage to loosen tissue and help range in motion which we can do ourselves.


Click this link which is contributed by a BoneSmart Forum member in relation to lymphatic drainage for faster recovery after surgery.


Click this link below to watch a massage on the thigh area.



  1. Hi Elsie! I'm so glad I found your blog. You've posted a lot of great information for OA and TKR patients.

    I had staged bilateral TKRs almost a year ago at age 38 and have had some struggles with continuing pain, despite gaining a return of great range of motion and strength. I was a bit knock-kneed and had a bad Q-angle prior to surgery, which meant that even after surgery the lateral muscular forces were too tight causing patellar maltracking resulting in pain.

    Just recently my physical therapist started using something called the Graston Technique. It's a massage to help release the tight muscles, in addition to focusing on strengthening the inner thighs and such to achieve balanced muscles to help the patella to track properly. Here's a website about the Graston Technique: http://www.grastontechnique.com/ It may be of help to others recovering from TKR.

    Wishing you continued good health and healing!

  2. Hi, thank you for your feedback and the link to graston technique which will definitely benefit others with the same problem.

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