Post-surgical numbness is a common complication after lower leg surgery. Numbness after surgery is usually temporary, lasting between two and six weeks.
The numbness usually goes away on its own. If not, you can apply ice packs to the area to reduce the swelling and reduce the numbness. You can also apply a topical anesthetic to the area to numb it.
Numbness after surgery is more likely to occur if you wear a knee brace or a cast for a long period of time after surgery. Numbness is also more likely to occur if you have diabetes, blood pressure problems, or other risk factors for numbness.
If you have numbness after surgery, you should see a doctor to make sure it’s not something more serious.
Itching after surgery
Itching is a common side effect after surgery. It may be caused by:
- Scar tissue
Itching may be especially likely in the first few days after surgery. It may be more noticeable when you first wake up after surgery or if you pull at the skin.
If you have pain or swelling in the area, it’s a good idea to apply ice packs to the area. You can also try using a topical anesthetic.
Itching may go away on its own, but it may take several weeks. You can apply ice packs to the area to reduce the swelling.
The pain, swelling, and itching can be uncomfortable, but they usually improve with time.
If they don’t go away, you should see your doctor.
Achiness after surgery
Achiness is also a common side effect after surgery. It’s usually temporary and goes away on its own.
Pain and discomfort in the affected area may be caused by:
- Pain from the surgery
If you have pain and discomfort after surgery, you can apply ice packs to the area to reduce the swelling. You can also try using a topical anesthetic.
If you have pain for more than a few days, you should also see a doctor to check for an infection.
You can try to manage the pain with over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Wound healing after surgery
After surgery, your skin will be covered with a layer of soft tissue. This is called the subcutaneous fat. It helps the wound heal.
When it comes time to remove the wound, the tissue will be pulled back, or debrided. It will also be stretched and pulled. This will make the wound look more like a scar.
The wound will be red and swollen for a few days. It’ll be redder as it heals. You may also notice a yellow or green discharge. This is the first sign of infection.
If you notice any of the following after surgery, it’s a good idea to get medical attention:
- A yellow or green discharge
- A foul smell
- Pus or drainage
This can be a sign of:
- Blood clots
- Poor wound healing
The infection may need to be treated with antibiotics. The drainage may need to be treated with more frequent dressings.
If you notice any of these symptoms after surgery, you should see your doctor.
Chronic pain after surgery
Pain after surgery is usually temporary. It may last for several weeks to several months.
The pain will be more severe if you had surgery on your knee. It may be a symptom of a more serious problem. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it may be a symptom of a more serious problem, too.
The pain may be:
- Mild to moderate
Chronic pain after surgery may be caused by:
- Nerve damage
- A lack of blood flow to the affected area
It’s important to get medical help if you have severe pain after surgery. You may be experiencing a condition called post-surgical pain syndrome (PSS). This is a condition that can be life-threatening.
Tilt table test
Tilt table tests are done to see if you can move your knee normally. These tests are done at the same time you have an MRI or x-ray. This is to make sure there are no problems with the nerves or bones around your knee.
You can’t test your knee if you’re in a cast, or you won’t be able to do the test if you’re in a cast.
During the tilt table test, your doctor will put you on a tilt table. They’ll have you hold your leg up to 90 degrees and then lower it slowly.
Your doctor will watch you to see if you can move your leg normally. You may feel some pressure around the knee.
If you can’t move your knee normally, it’s likely that there’s a problem with the nerves or bones around your knee. This could be a sign of a more serious problem.
This test is used to help determine if you need surgery, which could result in more extensive surgery. It can also show if you need a new knee implant.
Surgery after surgery
Surgery is an option for many people who have chronic knee pain. It’s also an option for people who have had knee replacement surgery.
Your surgeon will talk to you about the risks and benefits of surgery. You may also need to be referred to a pain management specialist.
What’s the outlook for someone with chronic knee pain?
Most people with chronic knee pain will have it for a long time. Most people will get surgery to correct the problem.
Once you’ve had surgery, you may have chronic pain for the rest of your life. You may also need other types of treatment. These may include:
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is a type of treatment that can help you improve the strength and range of motion in your knee.
- Knee brace: A knee brace can help you manage pain.
- Knee surgery: Surgery can improve the pain and range of motion.
Most people will still have chronic knee pain for the rest of their lives.
If you want to prevent chronic pain, you can try to do the following:
- Get regular exercise.
- Practice good posture.
- Practice good sleeping habits.
- Monitor your weight.
- Manage your weight if you’re overweight.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Drink fluids to stay hydrated.
- Avoid smoking.
- Take your medication as prescribed.
How can I manage the pain?
You can treat knee pain at home. Try to keep your knee as still as possible. This will help relieve pain and swelling.
You may want to try the following:
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Take aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil).
You can also try the following to relieve pain:
- Ice: Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables to your knee.
- Compression: Wrap the knee in a compression bandage. You may need a second one if your skin is very dry.
- Heat: Apply a heat pack or hot water bottle to the affected area.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers. Your doctor may also prescribe a different type of medication.
Take care when using these medications. Never take more than the recommended dose.
You should also avoid driving until you can do it safely.
What is the outlook for people with chronic knee pain?
Most people with chronic knee pain will get surgery. Once you’ve had surgery, you may have chronic pain for the rest of your life. You may also need other types of treatments. These may include:
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is a type of treatment that can help you improve the strength and range of motion in your knee joint.
- Knee surgery: Surgery can improve the pain and range of motion in your knee.
Most people will still have chronic knee pain for the rest of their lives. If you want to prevent chronic pain, you can try to do the following:
- Get regular exercise
- Practice good posture
- Practice good sleeping habits
- Monitor your weight
- Manage your weight if you’re overweight
- Eat a balanced diet
- Drink fluids to stay hydrated
- Avoid smoking
- Take your medication as prescribed
When to see a doctor?
If you’re experiencing severe pain or have any of the following, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor:
- You have severe pain that doesn’t improve with at-home treatments.
- You have a fever or a rash.
- You have swelling in your legs or feet.
- You are unable to move your legs.
- You have trouble talking or walking.
- You have trouble breathing.
Take your pain medication as prescribed. If you’re able to, try to get as much rest as possible.
You should also see your doctor if you notice new symptoms. These can signal a more serious condition.
You should also see your doctor if you believe that you’re experiencing a serious medical emergency. This includes:
- New or worsening symptoms that you can’t manage at home
- Sudden onset of severe pain
- Sudden appearance of a rash
Chronic knee pain can last for a long time. It can be a symptom of an underlying medical problem.
Chronic knee pain can also be caused by:
It can be hard to tell the difference between these conditions. It’s important to see your doctor if you think you have chronic knee pain. Getting a proper diagnosis is key to successfully treating your pain. It’s also important to get a diagnosis
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