What is it:
After total knee replacement surgery, some people develop joint stiffness, which is also called a joint contracture. Contractures cause the envelope of the knee (called the capsule) to stiffen and become rigid so the patient can no longer move their knee the way they used to. After stretching and other exercises, only a surgery can try and divide or remove the contracture.
Any decrease in the normal range of motion is designated a contracture. Contractures may be anticipated side effects of necessary treatment, such as a knee contracture after plaster a total knee replacement. -Contractures probably begin forming within eight hours, as illustrated by the morning stiffness after a night’s sleep, but this can be reversed by a single range-of-motion exercise.
In a review of the literature, the authors state that stiffness occurs in roughly 6% of cases, making it the most common knee replacement surgery complication.
Manipulation of the knee by the surgeon under anesthesia is generally successful when used within the first three months after surgery. After this period, more aggressive surgical options should be considered since manipulation can result in fracture or soft-tissue damage.
Jesse Elliott, DPT, Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy with Siskiyou PT
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