Post-Operative Swelling

Have you undergone surgery such as a total knee replacement? Or perhaps broke a bone in your ankle or wrist, which required placement of screws/plates/rods into the body to fix it? These types of procedures are quite invasive, and result in a large shock to the body!


Your body must overcome not only being cut open and stitched back together, but it must adapt to the placement of these new and foreign objects inside of it. Your body’s way of trying to overcome this shock is by sending blood flow to the area in an attempt to heal the wound. This results in swelling.


One of the most common complaints after a surgery such as the ones listed above, is persistent swelling. Therefore, one of the most common questions after surgery is “how long is this swelling going to last?!”.


While frustrating, it is normal for swelling to last up to 6 months following your procedure. There are ways, however, for you to speed up your recovery and reduce the swelling in your joints. Try…

  • Elevating your limb
    • Utilize gravity to help bring blood back towards your heart where it can be redistributed throughout the body
  • Wearing compression socks
    • Be wary of too much compression. Socks come in light, medium and heavy pressures. Start light!


Nothing is more important than getting moving to help relieve a swollen joint! Your muscles act as a pump to push blood out of an area, therefore, movement and exercising your muscles are key!


Not sure how to get started? See a Physical Therapist here at ProMet PT for help. We will guide you in proper care of your body and get you on the road to recovery!


Katherine Gili, DPT


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