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How Long Do You Do Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement

Pain Or Swelling After Exercise

How long after knee replacement do you start physical therapy?

You may experience knee pain or swelling after exercise or activity. You can relieve this by elevating your leg and applying ice wrapped in a towel.

Exercise and activity should consistently improve your strength and mobility. If you have any questions or problems, contact your orthopaedic surgeon or physical therapist.

Walk As Soon As Possible

Recovery from joint replacement surgery isnt always easy, but getting back on your feet as soon as the doctor says its okay can help you recover. Walking helps prevent complications like blood clots, improves circulation, and keeps your joints limber. You dont have to wait until you return home after surgery. Most patients can start walking while still in the hospital. Walking helps deliver important nutrients to your knee to help you heal and recover. You can expect to use a walker for the first couple of weeks. Most patients can walk on their own roughly four to eight weeks after knee replacement.

Knee Manipulation Procedure What To Expect

If you have recently undergone a knee replacement surgery and your regular postoperative physical therapy exercises do not seem to increase your range of motion, your doctor might recommend you knee manipulation surgery.

Knee manipulation is performed under general or epidural anesthesia. Prior to joint manipulation and ice pack is applied to the affected knee to prepare the tissues for the procedure for approximately 5 minutes. After that your doctor will perform the actual knee manipulation by forcing your knee to bend or flex and break up the scar tissue around the joint preventing the proper movement.

The actual knee manipulation takes very little time, but the recovery, on the other hand, includes grueling aggressive and rather painful physical therapy to increase flexibility and range of motion in your knee. Its absolutely crucial for you to stick to the knee exercise regimen to gain at least 110 degree knee bend to perform your daily activities like walking, doing steps and getting up from a sitting position.

Knee manipulation might help restore the flexibility of your knee joints if you commit to stringent physical therapy exercise program and follow all your doctors orders.

You may also consider additionally to try alternative treatment such as visceral manipulation procedure.

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When Can I Stop Using A Cane After Knee Replacement

Within two weeks of surgery, some patients may walk without any device in the morning, but become tired in the afternoon and need the device again. The same concept applies to changing surfaces , inclines, or steps. It may be easier to walk in the house on a firm and predictable surface without a cane or walker, but going outside on uneven and unpredictable ground would be safer with an assistive device.

On the other hand, walking without a limp while using a walker will be necessary before moving on to walking with a cane or no assistive device at all. Tossing the walker or cane to the closet too soon can cause delayed recovery and possibly not regain a normal gait pattern.

Almost every PT has had a strong-opinionated patient that chose to walk without a walker or cane before the therapist was in agreement and had less successful outcomes in terms of their walking abilities. It is highly recommended that an assistive device is used for as long as needed to achieve the required strength, flexibility, and gait pattern.

This process requires patience and understanding from the patient that every surgery and recovery is different. This means that even though someone they know was walking without a walker after surgery before they are that they are not necessarily behind.

Increase Strength With Physical Therapy Exercises

Importance of Physical Therapy Following A Knee Replacement

After surgery, its normal to have some weakness in your leg muscles. Therapeutic exercises will help you get back to your old self. Most patients will start with simple, easy exercises that are done sitting or lying down. Later, you can expect to progress to more strenuous exercises that involve standing, putting weight on your leg or even climbing steps.

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Heres What Can Happen If You Dont Do Physical Therapy After Having Knee Surgery

Next to the procedure itself, the recovery process from knee surgery is one of the most important parts of your treatment journey. Any procedure requires some degree of tissue disruption and an incision, both of which require healing. Additionally, patients who have been hobbled with knee pain for a long period of time often need to relearn basic knee function. This is especially true if a more extensive procedure such as a knee replacement has been performed.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation are very important to this process, and not following through with your program can increase the risk of negative outcomes.

Weve prepared the following helpful guide to share just how important physical therapy after knee surgery is. We encourage you to reach out if you have any questions or want to learn more as you read this over.

How Can I Speed Up My Healing After Surgery

Ten Tips to Speed up Post-Op RecoveryReduce salt. No Gatorade. Increase protein. Decrease Sugar. Eat small amounts many times throughout the day. Wine works as a diuretic, so consuming a glass of wine 2-3 weeks post-operatively may be helpful for post-surgical swelling. Consume a quality probiotic. Walk.

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Total Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery

Patients are encouraged to begin ambulation the same day as their knee replacement surgery, with the aid of a walker or other orthopedic device. A patient typically stays in the hospital for 1 to 2 days, and longer if needed. Some may be able to go home the same day of their surgery if their medical team feels it is safe to do so. Patients who require extra attention or do not have home support may be transferred from the hospital to a rehabilitation center, but every effort is made to help the patient return to their home environment with additional support.

Anterior view of a knee that has undergone a total knee replacement.

How Do You Know If You Need Knee Replacement Surgery

How Long Do You Have to Regain Motion After Knee Replacement?

Each patient is unique, which is why it is essential to schedule an examination and testing with an experienced sports medicine doctor. Our team will determine a diagnosis before deciding if you need to schedule a date for surgery. The preference is always to use minimally-invasive treatments first before surgery is necessary.

But there are times when surgery is required. Whether the minimally-invasive treatments arent working, or youve had a severe injury, you might need to schedule surgery to achieve the recovery you desire.

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Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement: Can Rehab Happen At Home

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Chances are good that at some point you or someone you know will have hip replacement surgery.

I can say that with some confidence because its a common operation thats becoming more common all the time. An estimated 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in this country, and that number is expected to nearly double by 2030. The most common reason is osteoarthritis, the age-related wear-and-tear type of arthritis that can be difficult to treat with medications or other non-surgical approaches.

If youve had a hip replacement yourself, you may have experienced some things that surprised you. For example:

  • Despite having major surgery on the largest joint in the body, you probably stood up and started walking on it within a day or two.
  • You probably were only in the hospital for a few days.
  • The improvement in the arthritic pain is usually noticeable right away.
  • Despite all that, after discharge from the hospital, the physical therapy visits seemed to go on forever.

What Is A Typical Protocol For Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery

On your first physical therapy visit following surgery, the physical therapist takes the opportunity to become familiar with your condition in order to determine the exact type of rehab you need.

They will do a full evaluation including:

  • A questionnaire with information to find out how your knee has been feeling since your surgery, such as level of pain and progression of swelling
  • A posture evaluation to check the alignment of your:
  • Low back
  • Massage

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Advanced Exercises And Activities

Once you have regained independence for short distances and a few steps, you may increase your activity. The pain of your knee problems before surgery and the pain and swelling after surgery have weakened your knee. A full recovery will take many months. The following exercises and activities will help you recover fully.

Why Are Eyes Taped During Surgery

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To prevent your eye becoming dry, small pieces of sticking tape are used to keep the eyelids fully closed during a general anaesthetic. These protects the cornea and keeps it moist. However, bruising of the eyelid can occur when the tape is removed, especially if you have thin skin and bruise easily.

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When Is Knee Surgery Required

If you are experiencing symptoms such as

  • Long-lasting inflammation or swelling that does not improve with rest or anti-inflammatory medications
  • Moderate to severe pain while at rest, day or night or
  • Severe pain that limits your daily activities

it may be time to talk with your doctor about knee surgery.

Sports With High Impact Or Quickly Changing Directions

While recovering from knee replacement surgery, avoid participating in contact sports or sports that may lead to a sudden twisting or jerking of the knee. Some examples include:

  • soccer

. Its important to work with your orthopedic surgeon after surgery to build the best program possible.

Here are some examples of exercises that surgeons recommend at different stages of recovery.

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How Long Should You Do Physio After Knee Replacement

You likely will need in-home physical therapy several days per week for 4-6 weeks. A third way is to do your PT at an outpatient rehab clinic. Some people have even the knee surgery itself as an outpatient, without an overnight stay. Your doctor will decide the best option for you based on your age and health.

Rehab After A Knee Replacement

How long will I have to do my physical therapy exercises after a total knee replacement?

One of the most important aspects of a total knee replacement is rehabilitation. A proper course of rehabilitation is essential in order to gain full benefit of the surgery. Patients will usually spend three to five days in the hospital after undergoing surgery. Most patients will usually start rehabilitation while in the hospital. After leaving the hospital, patients will either undergo outpatient therapy while living at home or in-patient therapy at a rehabilitation center.

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Why Is My Knee So Tight After Knee Replacement Surgery

Arthrofibrosis is also known as stiff knee syndrome. The condition sometimes occurs in a knee joint that has recently been injured. It can also occur after surgery on the knee, such as a knee replacement. Over time, scar tissue builds up inside the knee, causing the knee joint to shrink and tighten.

Precautions After Knee Replacement

Post-total knee replacement surgery, you will have to take some precautions. Here are some of the answers What Not to Do after Knee Replacement Surgery

  • Dont cross your legs
  • Dont kneel and place anything behind your knees
  • A pillow or any item for that matter should not be placed behind the knees
  • If elevation and/or support is needed under the operative leg, it is to be placed under the heel
  • You will also be asked not to torque or twist on your new knee
  • You also have to avoid running, trekking and playing contact sports like football, cricket, etc.

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Dangers Of Doing Certain Exercises Too Soon

Performing movements or exercises that are too intense can increase the chances of loosening or fracturing the bones around the implant.

Pushing too much can also lead to increased pain and swelling around the knee, slowing down the rehabilitation process and making it more difficult to exercise.

Symptoms of pushing too hard during the recovery program might include:

  • increased pain
  • swelling of the knee or lower leg
  • warmth around your knee

If you experience any of these symptoms, its best to back off of the activity and ice your knee for 15 to 20 minutes.

If the symptom persists, call your healthcare provider.

Returning To Normal Activities

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Approximately six weeks after surgery, your doctor may give you permission to drive. You will need to move your legs easily to do this, which is why your daily exercises are so important. After you are able to drive the next step is returning to work. Your doctor and physical therapist will help you determine when you should return to work. This will be dependent on the type of work you do and the demands of your job. If your job requires heavy lifting or other manual labor you should discuss this with your doctor and physical therapist.

Remember that certain leisure and sport activities could damage your artificial knee over time. The more vigorous and strenuous the activity, the higher the risk of either damaging the new artificial joint or loosening it. Certain activities can also cause excessive wear of your new artificial knee. This is why if you wish to engage in skiing, martial arts, high impact aerobics, racquet sports, soccer, basketball and other similar sports, you should discuss your intentions with your doctor. Lower stress activities such as hiking, golfing, swimming and biking are usually okay.

Remember that your rehabilitative therapy is a vital party of your recovery. Your hard work during this stage will keep your recovery on track and allow you to enjoy all the benefits your knee replacement surgery provides.

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Should Physical Therapy Hurt After Knee Replacement

Some pain after a knee replacement should be expected. Most rehabilitation programs for knee replacements usually include range of motion exercises, quadriceps strengthening, gait training and daily life training exercises. Its important to avoid straining or overworking the knee during your recovery period.

Learn What To Expect And How To Prepare From The Doctors Who Perform This Operation Every Day And The Patients Who Have Been Through Knee Surgery Successfully

If your knee arthritis has gotten so bad that your medication and physical therapy are no longer enough to keep the pain at bay or prevent mobility issues, it is a good time to consider knee replacement surgery. The procedure has come a long way from the extended hospital stays, bed rest, and narcotics-based pain relief of the past.

Fifteen to 20 years ago we told patients to wait until they could no longer take the pain of osteoarthritis to consider surgery, but thats not the case anymore, says P. Maxwell Courtney, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. With todays advances, minimally invasive techniques, and accelerated rehab and recovery protocols, we now tell patients if the pain is limiting your daily activities and youve exhausted conservative options like injections and physical therapy its time to consider surgery.

That was certainly the case for Sharon Barnes, a teacher from Maine whose pain got so bad she couldnt sleep. My doctor said I had osteoarthritis in both knees it was literally bone on bone, she remembers. We did hyaluronic acid injections, and that got me about a year then didnt work as well. Thats when we started discussing surgery.

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Activities With A High Risk Of Falling

After a total knee replacement, loss of strength, range of motion, and balance lead to an increased risk of falling. A fall can damage the prosthesis or interfere with the healing process.

A 2018 study found that 17.2 percent of a group of 134 people who had undergone a knee replacement fell at least once within 6 months of their operation. Roughly two-thirds of these falls occurred when walking.

Some lifestyle modifications to reduce your risk of falling include:

  • using the handrail when going up and down the stairs
  • using a rubber mat or shower chair when showering
  • sitting down when putting on shorts or pants
  • keeping the floor clear of stray toys, slippery rugs, and other objects that pose a tripping hazard
  • avoiding slippery terrains like mud, ice, or wet grass

Dos And Donts After Knee Surgery

How Long Should You Perform Your Physical Therapy Exercises after Surgery?

After knee surgery, youll likely encounter challenges and pain on your path to recovery. While it may seem difficult, remember that what happens after your surgery is just as important as the surgery itself.

Here are some dos and donts to help you recover:

  • DO take rehabilitation seriouslyFollow your doctors instructions carefully after surgery. This includes performing all exercises prescribed by your physical therapist even if its uncomfortable. While you may experience some pain and frustration, stay positive and stick with it! The end result will be worth the effort. Experts say 50 percent of a positive outcome depends on the patients willingness to work hard in physical therapy and rehab. To help your knee heal properly, take your prescribed medications and get plenty of sleep.
  • DO use ice and heatAccording to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, swelling after knee surgery can last for three to six months. Ice packs are recommended to reduce inflammation and pain. Use three to four times a day for about 10-20 minutes during the first few days. After the initial swelling has gone down, alternate between ice and heat to relax the muscles and ease stiffness. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist if ice doesnt help, or if you want to try longer periods of ice or heat.
  • If you experience problems during recovery, call your doctor immediately for proper healing and to prevent further health issues.

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