Every January, it’s not unusual for people to take stock of the last year and make note of what was accomplished and what wasn’t. This sometimes lays the groundwork for a “to-do” list for the following year: hit the gym, clean out a closet, plan a vacation – you know the routine.
The beginning of the year may also be when people start planning for medical procedures that they may have put off due to a hectic schedule or other reasons. You may be bouncing around in your head such questions as: Should I plan to get my knee replaced this year? Can I afford to take the time off work?
The good news is that research from Case Western Reserve University shows that personal motivation may be the biggest factor in determining the length of time it takes a patient to return to work following a total knee replacement.
Here’s what the study found:
• The median time to return to work was about nine weeks. Patients who reported a sense of urgency about returning to work returned in about half the time taken by other employees.
• Other factors associated with a faster return to work included being female, self-employment and higher mental health scores.
“Although the physical demands of a patient's job have a moderate influence on the patient's ability to return to work following a primary total knee arthroplasty, the patient's characteristics, particularly motivation, play a more important role,” the study author said.
Of course, every patient and situation is different, and you should discuss your situation with your physician. But if lost time is holding you back from a procedure your doctor has advised, know that returning to work can depend more on the patient than on the type of job.
Here’s to a happy, healthy year of feeling better and doing more of what you love!