Total Knee Replacement Recovery – Surgery Series with Kelly Starrett, DPT

Part 2: Setting Up Your Environment

In the first surgery series, Dr. Kelly Starrett, DPT addressed his short-term goals for immediately after his total knee replacement surgery:

  1. Having a plan to manage the pain
  2. Keeping the brain-to-muscle connection intact

He plans on accomplishing these goals using a combination of treatments including the H-Wave OTC, smart cuffs, compression and elevation.  H-Wave will help address the pain, but more importantly will keep the brain-to-muscle connection strong by inducing non-fatiguing muscle contractions to increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage in safe, non-threatening way.

In this “Part 2” video, Kelly goes over some basic strategies for how to set up your environment so it’s ready for you to engage the joints and maintain the brain-to-knee joint connection, in order to optimize your total knee replacement recovery.  

After any major orthopedic surgery, most patients are referred to rehab or physical therapy or something similar because it’s necessary to try and move as much as possible post-surgery to keep that brain-to-muscle and brain-to-joint connection strong. 

One thing that happens after any surgery is that your joints and the surrounding systems can be downregulated or interrupted, especially when there’s swelling in the tissues.  So Kelly asks, “how can I get input into the system?” when maybe P.T. isn’t readily available due to current circumstances.

Kelly Starrett already has a good strategy for handling the swelling post-surgery. Its combination therapy of H-Wave OTC, compression, elevation, and Norma Tec boots to name a few – all of which encourage movement and blood flow into the system; which is the basis for total knee replacement recovery.

But Kelly asks, “how else can I upregulate the feeling and/or awareness of my position to my brain.” Some examples that come to mind are low level balance drills like they use in physical therapy.

Kelly notes two specific ways to mimic these types of balance exercises in your home:

  1. Using the Slack Block by Slack Bow
  2. Using a homemade balance beam, or one like The Foot Collective provides

Setting up your environment so that you can do low-level balance exercises like the ones he shows in the video below is a great way to continuously get input into your brain, and keep your brain as plugged in as possible to the position of your body.

Dr. Starrett notes that the most important thing to remember is not to think of doing these kinds of movements once a day and then call it “done.”  You’re going to get the best input if you can do these exercises throughout the day, even at shorter intervals. The goal being to get as much input into the system throughout the day, not just at one time.  Watch the full video to learn more: