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How Long Does It Take For Knee Surgery To Heal

Why Would I Need A Knee Replacement

How long does it take to recover from knee replacement surgery?

Knees that are damaged by arthritis or injury often fail to function properly. The purpose of the knee, which is the bodys largest joint, is ambulation. Without a properly functioning knee joint, you will have trouble doing the simplest of tasks, such as walking from your bed to the restroom or sitting down and getting up from your couch. When your knees continue to worsen you may even have trouble sleeping because of pain in your knees.

Unless the knee has been injured in an accident of some sort, this is a gradual process where the joint gradually wears out over time. Your doctor may try a variety of treatments, from lifestyle changes, such as giving up running, to medications to help with the pain. For a time, you may try walking with supportive devices such as a cane or wearing leg braces. Eventually, though, when your efforts to manage the pain no longer work, its time to consider knee replacement.

How Long Will I Need Pain Medication After Total Knee Replacement

Pain, swelling, and bruising are all normal after knee replacement surgery, both for partial and total knee replacements. Youll be sent home with oral pain medications after your surgery, which youll take for several weeks after your surgery.

The most commonly prescribed pain medications after knee replacement surgery include prescription-strength naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. If those commonly used pain relievers dont provide enough relief, your doctor can prescribe something stronger, such as hydrocodone or an opioid pain killer. Narcotics are addictive pain relievers and can be taken safely after surgery but the duration of these drugs if chosen for use, should be limited as much as possible. Please speak with your physician prior to surgery in regards to the pain protocols that will be used postoperatively

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My Time In The Hospital

A great medical team took over my care once I reached myroom. I was advised that the surgery went well and if there were nocomplications, I would be going home in less than 24 hours.

At 4:00 pm the hospital physical therapist came in to my room and had me up and out of bed doing some easy range of motion exercises. I was allowed to walk to the bathroom during this time with my walker.

The physical therapist told me she would be back in the morning. At that time, she would give me some simple walking and stair climbing tests.

If I could complete the tasks, I would be going home around noon, the day after surgery.

I did my best to follow my care teams suggestions. Theywanted me to drink a lot of fluid, eat as much as I could and do simpleexercises in my bed to enhance my circulation.

I slept on and off during the night. My surgeon arrivedearly in the morning and removed my drain tube. He examined me, told me thesurgery went well and that he expected that I would be going home shortly.

After breakfast, the physical therapist arrived and had mewalk and go up and down a few stairs. I was able to complete all of the tasksand she told me I was ready to go home.

I called home for a ride, ate lunch and was on my way home at 12:15 pm.

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Why Is Partial Knee Replacement Performed

The most common reason for partial knee replacement is single-compartmental knee damage from advanced osteoarthritissignificant wear and tear on the knee joint. People with knee have damaged cartilage, which is the shock absorber in joints. When the cartilage begins to wear out, the joint movements arent as smooth, and the bones begin to rub against each other causing pain and stiffness. Knee replacement is a treatment option for most people after a course of nonsurgical treatments arent successful at relieving the pain and discomfort or your symptoms are interfering with your daily activities. The goal of knee replacement is to make knee movement pain-free, smooth and stable.

Although total knee replacement is a common procedure, people who have arthritic damage in only a single part, or compartment of the knee may be good candidates for partial knee replacement surgery. The medical terms for the different compartments are medial , lateral , and patellofemoral .

One of the main benefits of partial knee replacement is the preservation of healthy cartilage, bone and ligaments in the unaffected parts of the knee. It is usually a minimally invasive operation with smaller incision instead of one larger one for open knee replacement. With a half-knee replacementoften the medial sidethere is a possibility of further wear and tear on the other half. This would require replacing the entire knee joint in another surgery.

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What Happens If You Dont Do Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery

How long does it take to recover from a partial knee ...

Why you should commit to physical therapy after knee surgery

Its important to get moving and functioning as soon after the procedure otherwise, the following can occur: Decreased blood flow to the area can negatively affect healing at the surgical site. Muscles can weaken and atrophy if they go too long without use.

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Characteristics Of Severe Arthritis Of The Knee


Pain is the most noticeable symptom of knee arthritis. In most patients the knee pain gradually gets worse over time but sometimes has more sudden flares where the symptoms get acutely severe. The pain is almost always worsened by weight-bearing and activity. In some patients the knee pain becomes severe enough to limit even routine daily activities.


Morning stiffness is present in certain types of arthritis. Patients with morning stiffness of the knee may notice some improvement in knee flexibility over the course of the day. Rheumatoid arthritis patients may experience more frequent morning stiffness than patients with osteoarthritis.

Swelling and warmth

Patients with arthritis sometimes will notice swelling and warmth of the knee. If the swelling and warmth are excessive and are associated with severe pain, inability to bend the knee, and difficulty with weight-bearing, those signs might represent an infection. Such severe symptoms require immediate medical attention. Joint infection of the knee is discussed below.


The knee joint has three compartments that can be involved with arthritis . Most patients have both symptoms and findings on X-rays that suggest involvement of two or more of these compartments for example, pain on the lateral side and beneath the kneecap . Patients who have arthritis in two or all three compartments, and who decide to get surgery, most often will undergo total knee replacement .

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Knee Replacement

There are many factors that determine how long it takes to recover from a total knee replacement.

Patients are typically discharged from the hospital within five to 14 days after knee replacement surgery.

Short-term recovery, in which a patient can walk with minimal aid or no aid and only needs over-the-counter pain relief generally occurs within twelve weeks after surgery, and most patients can return to full normal activities within 3 to 6 months.

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Reasons Some Incisions Don’t Heal

Many medical conditions can significantly impact the stages of healing and the strength of the final scar. Some of these conditions can be prevented or at least minimized, while others may not be as easy to modify. A few of the common conditions that impact wound healing and strength include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

For these reasons, most joint replacement programs will advise people having any type of joint replacement surgery to optimize these conditions prior to surgery.

For example, ensuring proper nutrition, controlling blood sugar , managing rheumatoid drugs, weight loss, and tobacco cessation are all steps that people can take to lower their risk of wound healing complications after knee replacement surgery.

In addition, some surgeons may advise against performing knee replacement surgery in particularly high-risk individuals. While everyone wants to believe their surgery will go well and without complication, there are individuals who may be better and more safely managed with nonsurgical treatments, particularly if they are at high risk for healing complications after knee replacement surgery.

Knee Replacement Recovery Starts Right Away In The Hospital

Why Does It Take so Long to Recover from a Knee Replacement?

These days, a typical inpatient stay following knee replacement surgery lasts two days, although some patients go home the same day as surgery, and some patients may need to stay longer.

When thinking about getting back on your feet, its helpful to consider the recovery process in phases, beginning immediately after surgery. Health care teams are proactive about keeping patients comfortable for recovery by administering medications such as low-dose narcotics, nerve pain medication, and anti-inflammatory medication. From there, its all about getting your knee joint moving again.

Physical therapy starts the day of surgery and could be as minimal as dangling your feet over the side of the bed, says Dr. Parks. The remainder of your hospital stay will likely involve physical therapy focused on activities of daily living, which youll need to move around your home.

Our physical therapist sees patients the same day as surgery to get them up and walking around the nurses station, adds Dr. Courtney. Its no longer about bed rest like it used to be. Now we get patients moving a lot quicker.

Indeed, Barnes remembers that the hospital staff had her up and moving almost immediately. I started walking the day of surgery, she says.

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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.

When Can I Drive

You can drive as soon as you feel comfortable, but YOU MUST NOT DRIVE IF YOU ARE TAKING NARCOTICS! If you drive a standard transmission vehicle and had surgery on your left knee, you should wait one week before driving to avoid causing more pain/irritation from operating the clutch. If you need to drive long distances within two weeks after your surgery, you should take frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk for 10 minutes per hour to decrease the risk of a blood clot forming.

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What To Do When An Incision Doesn’t Heal

If you have a non-healing wound, you need to involve your surgeon as soon as possible. If the surgical incision is draining more than 72 hours after surgery, people should either remain in the hospital for observation or have very close out-patient follow up to ensure the wound does continue to heal.

In situations where the drainage is declining, and there is no other sign of infection, these wounds can slowly heal. However, they do require close follow-up as a change in direction should signal more aggressive intervention.

Often physical therapy will be limited in these patients, and bending the knee beyond about 45 degrees may be held for a few days. Bending the knee increases the pressure on the tissues around the scar, and also can lower the oxygenation of those tissues. Keeping the leg straight can help dry an incision in some instances.

Blood-thinning medications can also contribute to a draining wound, and for this reason, sometimes anticoagulation will be held for a period of time in someone who has a persistently draining surgical incision.

If a wound is draining beyond one week after surgery, surgery should be undertaken to ensure there is no sign of a deeper infection and to prevent infection from becoming a problem. There is no role for the administration of antibiotic treatment in the absence of surgical treatment for this type of problem.

Change Your Running Technique To Cure Runners Knee

5 Tips to Speed Your Recovery After Knee Replacement ...

Consider changing the way that you run. This isnt straightforward, but if your symptoms are related to your running form, this may be something you need to change.

Many runners will benefit from increasing their step rate . You can find more information about this here: Gait Re-training for Runners Knee Patellofemoral Pain & Running Form

I hope this quick guide helps you in your recovery, and gives you a realistic idea of how long it will take to recover from runners knee.

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know in the comments below

Home » Blog » Running Injuries » How Long Does it Take to Recover from Runners Knee?

Dr. Brad Neal

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What The Procedure Is Like

Also called arthroplasty, knee replacement is a procedure to resurface the damaged parts of your knee that have been causing you pain.

The knee is the meeting place for three basic bones: the tibia and femur meet at the joint and are each capped with cartilage to absorb the shock of everyday movement. Resting between them is a freestanding bone called the patella . Often using a spinal anesthetic like an epidural used in childbirth a knee replacement procedure involves an incision over the knee that allows your surgeon to resurface the tibia, femur, and patella with metal and plastic components to restore the cushioning you need to move your knee comfortably.

There are two general kinds of knee replacement surgery: partial and total.

In a partial knee replacement , only a portion of the knee joint is replaced. This procedure may be recommended for patients who have damage limited to just one area of the knee. Because a partial knee replacement is done through a smaller incision, the recovery time in the hospital is often shorter and people can resume their usual activities sooner. However, more surgery may be needed in the future if other parts of the knee become damaged.

Your surgeon will discuss which type of surgery is right for you based on your medical history and risk factors.

While patients will need help in the first weeks after surgery, most people will get their feet under them and regain independence at about six weeks after the procedure.

Increase The Strength Of Your Knee

Stay on your exercise schedule. Youll gradually observe improved bending and strength in your knee joint. Your therapist may also ask you to stop using your assistive device and start taking walks as long as half a mile. After six weeks, you should be able to do your household chores with ease. You can also ask your surgeon or therapist to tell you when youll be able to return to work and normal driving.

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What Causes An Acute Patellar Injury In The Knee

Acute patellar injuries can occur as a result of trauma, sports activities, or anatomical problems within the knee joint. The location of the patella at the front of the knee makes it vulnerable to fracture, dislocation, or tendon tears during falls, blows to the knee, or sharp impacts such as with the dashboard in a car accident.

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How Long Will It Take To Recover From My Knee Operation

Why Does It Take So Long to Recover from a Knee Replacement?

A comparative guide to recovery times for some of the most popular knee operations and treatments:

Knee pain is a common complaint that can affect people of all ages and differing lifestyles. There are several reasons that someone may look to have treatment for a knee ailment injury such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage, tendonitis or a dislocated kneecap, or medical conditions including arthritis, gout or severe infections.

Many types of minor knee pain can respond to self-care methods such as physical therapy or bracing, whereas others may need further medical intervention or even surgery.

A knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, tendons or fluid filled sacs that surround the knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage, and ligaments that form the joint itself.

Weve rounded up some of the most common injuries and ailments and compared average recovery times for those procedures. There are so many factors, including age, height, weight, lifestyle, severity of injury, and each person is different so everyone will take time to heal in a different way.

Treatment and Surgery

The decision to have knee surgery will depend on the exact damage to the ACL and whether it is affecting your quality of life. Delaying treatment can cause further damage to the knee.



Knee Replacements

Total Knee



Though infrequent, patients with total knee replacements may require a second operation years later.

Partial Knee



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Quick Answer: When Can I Walk After Tibial Plateau Fracture

Post-operative Care You will not be able to bear weight on your leg for weeks after breaking your bone. That means no walking on or pushing off of your broken leg. This is to keep the bones from moving as you heal. Depending on your injury, this will last 6 to 12 weeks.

You Dislocatedyour Knee What Now

Not often does this injury happen, but knee jointdislocation can occur from high-impact and forceful injuries.

Most people recover from a dislocated knee joint in 6weeks. Unfortunately, even after 6 weeks of healing is over, you may still belimited. Playing sports competitively might have to be put on hold for sometime after you begin recovering to prevent further injury.

It is recommended to use crutches and to stay off ofyour feet after the injury occurs. After 4 weeks of resting your knee, youshould begin walking on it and gain back strength.

If your knee is swelling from the dislocation andcausing discomfort, you can apply ice and take a pain killer to ease symptoms.The best way to tell if you have dislocated your knee is by straightening outyour leg.

Your knee may be dislocated if you cant fullyextend your leg, your knee looks misshapen, or there is swelling.

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