Biomet is now Zimmer Biomet


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Information for Patients & Caregivers

Managing Discomfort

Managing Discomfort
• Ensure the patient takes pain medicine at least 30 minutes before physical therapy

• Encourage the patient to gradually wean themself from prescription medication. Follow the surgeon's recommendations for taking over-the-counter medication in place of prescription medication

• Have patient change position every 45 minutes throughout the day

• Use ice for pain control. Applying ice to the affected joint will decrease discomfort, but do not use for more than 20 minutes at a time each hour. Use ice before and after the patient exercises according to their prescribed program. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a kitchen towel makes an ideal ice pack. Mark the bag of peas and return them to the freezer (to be used as an ice pack later).

Body Changes
• The patient's appetite may be poor. Make sure they drink plenty of fluids to keep them from getting dehydrated. Their desire for solid food should return

• Joint replacement patients may have difficulty sleeping, which is normal. Do not let the patient sleep or nap too much during the day

• The patient's energy level will be decreased for the first month

• Pain medication that contains narcotics promotes constipation. Follow the surgeon's recommendations for using stool softeners or laxatives such as milk of magnesia if necessary

Blood Thinners
Blood thinners may be given to help avoid blood clots in the patient's legs. Always follow the surgeon's recommendations regarding blood thinners.

The patient may be asked to wear special stockings. These stockings are used to help compress the veins in their legs. This helps to keep swelling down and reduces the chance for blood clots

• If swelling in the operated leg is uncomfortable, help the patient elevate the leg for short periods throughout the day. It is best when the patient lies down and raises the leg above heart level

• Notify the doctor if the patient notices increased pain or swelling in either leg.