Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Vitamins and Supplements for Joint Health and Knee Replacement Success
Take a Healthy Approach
After knee replacement surgery, it’s important to be especially vigilant about maintaining joint health. Vitamins and supplement scan play a positive role in helping you heal, though it’s important to check with your doctor about the pros and cons of any particular substance.
Click “next” to learn more about vitamins and supplements that can help.
Avoid Vitamin K After Surgery
Immediately after surgery and while taking blood thinners, it’s best to avoid foods high in vitamin K, which contributes to blood clotting. This includes: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, green beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, soybeans, kale, cabbage, and onions.
Boost Your Immune System
Your doctor may suggest that you supplement your diet with vitamin C and zinc. These two substances can help boost your immune system and ward off viruses and infections.
Consider Non-Herbal Supplements
Several other non-herbal supplements and substances may also aid in healing, including fighting infection and rebuilding tissue. These include: coenzyme Q10, essential fatty acids, free-form amino acids, L-lysine, L-cysteine, L-glutamine, MSM, and pycnogenol. Each has its own benefits, though it’s important to research claims about products. Also note that these substances are generally part of a good, balanced diet—in other words, if you eat well, you may not need to take any dietary supplements.
Vitamin D Promotes Bone Health
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health because it helps to increase bone density. You can obtain vitamin D in three ways: through foods such as fish, mushrooms, and dairy products; by receiving five to 30 minutes of sun exposure during peak daylight hours; and by taking a supplement.
Vitamin E Helps Your Wound Healing
Some research shows that vitamin E—particularly vitamin E oil—can aid in wound healing and decrease scar formation. Some experts recommend applying the oil to your closed wound three times per day after your doctor removes your stitches.
Your Doctor May Prescribe Iron
Your surgeon will likely prescribe iron following surgery. This is to replenish iron in your blood that was lost during the operation. Expect to take the supplements for about four weeks. Iron helps your blood’s clotting mechanism and helps you avoid anemia.
Consult with Your Doctor
Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administation (FDA) does not have the same stringent rules for supplements (especially herbs) as it does for drugs. The potency of different brands will vary, there is no oversight over what is organic, and many supplement manufacturers have been known to make claims that have not been proven.
You and your doctor should discuss possible supplements while mapping out an overall strategy for helping your knee heal and stay healthy. You should always disclose all the substances that you are taking to your doctor, to verify that there is no risk of an interaction. Learn more about medications and drugs here.
Useful herbal supplements may include green tea, rosehips, chickweed, witch hazel, willow bark, echinacea, and bromelain. Many of these are said to reduce inflammation and swelling or fight infections and promote wound healing. However, there’s no conclusive evidence that these substances provide any benefit.