Hear about Evon Schones' philosophy on total joint replacement recovery in the video above.
New knee, pain free — but not without work
When it comes to a knee replacement, Evon Schones understands the pain before surgery and the relief that can come after it.
Evon hurt both of her knees playing sports as a teenager. Because of the damage, doctors rebuilt her right knee a couple of years after the injury, and operated on her left knee seven years ago.
Today, Evon is walking, jumping and kneeling pain-free as she leads various weekly fitness classes at Good Samaritan Society locations in Greeley, Colorado. But those activities in her job as wellness coordinator weren’t always so enjoyable.
Some people have had traumatic injuries, some people it’s just wear and tear, but it always comes down to arthritis — that bone on bone. When that happens, it’s difficult to lead your life the way you want to." — Evon Schones, wellness coordinator, Good Samaritan Society – Communities of Greeley
When Evon decided to become a personal trainer, she knew she needed to be in top shape to best guide her clients. So she recently opted for surgery to fix her knee pain once and for all.
Having a knee replacement, she says, has taken away limitations she felt before the surgery.
“I was doing everything I am now but with pain, and now I’m pain free,” says Evon. “Some of the movements in tai chi were not possible at all before the surgery because of the slow movement through some of the painful positions. Now, no pain at all.”
While knee replacement surgery can help your quality of life, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
In fact, Evon recommends avoiding surgery if possible, and instead focusing on the things you can do to minimize knee pain and damage.
Hear Evon’s tips for changes you can make to avoid surgery in the video below.
If the damage to your knees is severe and surgery is inevitable, know that it will take time to recover. Some people feel fully recovered in less than two weeks, but others may take longer.
Drawing from her firsthand experience as both a patient and a personal trainer, Evon says there are some things you can do ahead of time to help your surgery and recovery go as smoothly as possible.
She advises not shying away from exercises prior to your surgery — the more you keep your muscles and joints in shape, the easier it’ll be for your body to recover.
Push your body to be stronger
“I scheduled the surgery six weeks out, and during that six weeks I spent as much time as I could doing heavy lunges and heavy squats, building those leg muscles and bones as much as I could, and that really helped me recover quickly,” Evon says.
Knowing your limitations, but pushing your body to be as strong as it can be, will help you prepare for surgery.
“You can still do squats, you can still do modified lunges,” Evon says. “You can get in the swimming pool and extend and bend — use that water resistance, that’ll help keep those muscles strong.”
What you eat is important, too. “Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet full of protein, and full of calcium,” she says.
Following knee replacement surgery, Evon offers these tips for a speedy recovery:
- Don’t wait to feel the pain to take pain medicine. Surgery is a big deal. If you fall behind the pain, you’re not going to be able to do the physical therapy and the exercises you need to recover. Stay on top of your pain medicine, and take it regularly.
- Do your physical therapy, especially the range of motion exercises. If you don’t, those muscles will stiffen up and you won’t be able to straighten them. Work on being able to get your leg straight, and able to bend it again.
- Keep using your muscles to prevent atrophy. Your muscles will get smaller and smaller if you don’t use them. Bend them and straighten them, over and over. Don’t stop exercising those muscles.
- Wear support stockings. Once the inflammation starts building, it can hurt as much as the surgery, so keep those support stockings on.
- Elevate and ice your leg to help reduce any inflammation and swelling.
Hear why Evon thinks physical therapy is so important after surgery in the video above.
Planning a surgery you’ll need rehab for?
Good Samaritan Society locations nationwide have exceptional post-acute therapy programs available to help.