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You may be wondering when is the best time of year to have knee replacement surgery. Many patients ask this question when considering TKR and the consensus is that the spring and early fall are the best seasons.
You’ll want to wear as little clothing as possible during your recovery because it makes cleaning the wound and moving around easier. Snow and ice, as well as extreme heat, will make it difficult to get outside to exercise and drive to therapy.
If you are still working, you’ll need to consider your work schedule so you can take time off for your surgery and recovery.
Reasons The Time Of Year Matters For TKR
Having your TKR during warm weather (not hot weather) allows you to wear less clothing (shorts, T-Shirt, socks). As you can imagine, it will be tough to change clothes when you’re in pain and layers make it harder.
Find clothes that are easier to get in and out of after surgery. Fewer clothes will also make it easier to use the bathroom and sleep.
Sleeping is hard enough in the weeks after surgery, so it’s better if you don’t need warm pajamas and heavy bedding (check out my article on sleeping after knee replacement).
Adjusting The Air Conditioner or Heater
A moderate temperature will make it unnecessary to use the heater or AC while you are recovering in the house. Warm weather also allows you to get outside easier during your recovery for walks and trips to the therapist.
You will have no worries about snow and ice.
If you are a senior citizen, you may have noticed that it takes longer to loosen up and get going in cold weather. When the weather is warm inside and outside it is much easier for seniors to engage in activity including in-house therapy 3 times a day.
You also may be experiencing some degree of arthritis in your knee or other joints that causes discomfort in cold weather. If you are a younger person contemplating TKR, this may not be a concern for you.
Once your in-home therapy is complete you will be getting into a vehicle to go to your offsite therapy. Ice and snow can make getting in and out of the car difficult not to mention driving in the same conditions.
Bundling up with multiple layers of clothing and then having to remove clothing when you arrive at your therapy can be a pain.
If you are still working, you may have to decide or consult with your boss for the best time for you to be off. If you are working from home it may be easier for you to schedule your surgery.
Teachers may need to schedule their surgery during summer break or during a two-week recess. Seasonal workers may have a choice to have surgery when they are off work.
Some doctors are so busy that you will need to schedule your surgery 2 to 3 months ahead. Once you choose the best time for you, make your appointment for surgery as early as possible.
You may have a break at Christmas or another holiday but your doctor may be planning a vacation during that time himself.
Consider Your Caregiver
You may have decided on the best time for you to have TKR surgery but you need to consider your caregiver’s schedule as well. You will need a caregiver for at least the first few weeks after surgery.
If they are working or if they have commitments they will need to free themselves up during the time you choose. You also need to be sure that you have a driver to and from offsite therapy if you are unable to drive yourself.
From the Author
“I choose to have my TKR in late spring and I have been happy with my decision. I originally made the decision to have the surgery in November but I decided rehabilitation during cold weather was not an optimal time.
Scheduling the surgery a few months in the future gave me time to finish up projects around the house and to take a trip to see family prior to surgery.
Even though I live in a fairly warm climate, the weather can be rainy and cold at times during the winter months. We do not have AC but we do use the heater at times for 3 months in the winter.
The end of May was the perfect time for me. The weather is warm enough to wear shorts all day. As I mentioned before, the fewer clothes you need to put on and take off the better.
Shorts are also easier to exercise in and I didn’t have to worry about pants rubbing on the staples and the incision. This was also a good time to take my rehab walks outside with minimal clothing.
If I had to do it over again I would go with the same time frame, late spring. Early fall would be my second choice.”
The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.
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