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HomeSurgeryHow Long Does Knee Replacement Surgery Take To Heal

How Long Does Knee Replacement Surgery Take To Heal

Returning To Activities / Sports

How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Knee Replacement?

With knee replacement recovery time is one of the biggest healers. Over time the swelling will reduce, your muscles will get stronger and your knee should free up becoming more flexible than beforehand.

It is important to take things easy for the first few weeks but after that, you can start thinking about returning to your favorite activities. Here are some helpful tips on knee replacement recovery time:

  • You can resume most activities after 6-12 weeks, for example swimming
  • Some activities should be carried out with care e.g. golf dont wear shoes with spikes
  • Some activities are not advised following a total knee replacement asthey put too much stress on the new knee joint. These include: jogging,contact sports e.g. basketball and football, squash, badminton, jumping activitiesand skiing. If you are unsure, discuss things with your doctor.

Pain and swelling can take up to 3 months to settle and knee replacement recovery time continues up to 2 years after your operation.

What Should I Expect After My Total Hip Or Total Knee Replacement

NOTE: The following is a general guide to care following your procedure. Your healthcare provider may have somewhat different instructions for you. Please follow those.

After total knee or total hip replacement surgery you can expect gradual improvement over the coming months. You should gradually expect less pain, stiffness and swelling, and a more independent lifestyle. Returning to work depends on how quickly you heal and how demanding your job may be on a new joint.

After you are discharged from the hospital or rehabilitation facility, there will be a few weeks before you return for a follow-up visit with your surgeon. This period of time is critical in your rehabilitation and you may require outpatient therapy services for positive long-term results from your surgery.

In general, patients do very well after discharge. However, its important that you contact the surgeons office if any of these occur:

  • You have increasing pain in the operative site.
  • There is new or increased redness or warmth since discharge.
  • There is new or increased drainage from your incision.
  • The operative site is increasingly swollen.
  • Your calf becomes swollen, tender, warm or reddened.
  • You have a temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours.
  • For total knee replacement, your ability to flex has decreased or remains the same as when you were discharged from the hospital.

Continuous Passive Motion Machine

The PT will also help you use a continuous passive motion machine. This device moves the joint slowly and gently after surgery. It helps prevent a buildup of scar tissue and joint stiffness.

Youll probably use the CPM machine in the hospital and possibly at home, too. Some people leave the operating room with their leg already in the device.

Some pain, swelling, and bruising are expected after TKR surgery. Try to use your knee as soon as possible, but avoid pushing yourself too far too soon. Your healthcare team will help you set realistic goals.

What can you do at this stage?

Get plenty of rest. Your PT will help you get out of bed and walk a short distance. Work on bending and straightening your knee, and use a CPM machine if you need one.

On the second day, you might walk for brief periods using an assistive device. As you recover from surgery, your activity level will increase gradually.

Also Check: Why Is My Knee So Stiff

How Far Should I Walk After Knee Replacement Surgery

The answer to this question depends on you. Most patients are able to walk out of the surgery center with the assistance of a device such as crutches or a walker. It makes sense that you want to get back on your feet as soon as you can, but you also need to be careful not to overdo it. Too much strain and youll have more pain than necessary.

Fortunately, your physical therapist and healthcare team are standing by to help determine what is right for you. Usually, about three weeks after the surgery, youll be able to walk without crutches for about 10 minutes. Your physical therapist will push you to add more to your regimen. Generally, it takes about a year for everything to settle, the knee to regain its strength, and all normal activities to become possible again.

At Louisville Hip & Knee Institute, we are devoted to helping you heal. We provide state-of-the-art orthopedic treatment, including knee replacement surgery for our patients. If youre struggling with knee pain, help is just a few clicks away.

When Will Be My Next Follow

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You will see your surgeon for another follow-up visit about three months after surgery. We encourage you to resume normal activities both inside and outside the home. Helpful tips:

  • Be realistic and pace yourself and gradually resume activities.
  • Increase your walking distance and activities, but not all at once.
  • Keep a cane in the trunk of your car to aid with discomfort, or uneven or icy ground.
  • Enjoy the benefits of your total joint.
  • Continue to call with any questions or concerns. Our staff is always available to assist you.

Six months and future follow-up visits

Your next appointment is six months after surgery, then once a year unless told otherwise. These appointments give you a chance to discuss any concerns about your total joint replacement or other joints in which symptoms may develop.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Wherever you have your total knee or total hip replacement done, the goal of your surgery is to give you a new joint that allows you to perform everyday activities without pain. However, this joint is not indestructible. Avoid sports or other activities that may put stress on the joint until discussed with your surgeon. Stay as active as you can after recovering from your surgery. Ask your surgeon or therapist about activities and exercises that are right for you. It may or may not be appropriate to return to the exercise routine that you used before surgery.

An increase in body weight puts stress on the hip, so try to maintain a healthy weight.

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Factors That Can Slow Down Knee Replacement Recovery

Patients are advised to make their recovery a priority. Recovery may take longer if patients:

  • Do not participate in physical therapy. Physical therapy is essential for establishing the new knees range of motion and strengthening muscles to support the new joint.
  • Smoke or use other nicotine products. Nicotine use causes the blood vessels to narrow, limiting the amount of oxygen and nutrients that can travel in the bloodstream. If the bloodstream cannot deliver adequate oxygen and nutrients to the wound, healing slows down.
  • Do not manage their diabetes. Uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes can negatively affect blood flow and the immune system, slowing down healing and increasing the risk for infection.
  • Participate in risky behaviors. Not using an assistive device, such as a walker, can increase the risk of falling, which will slow down recovery or even necessitate another surgery. Drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs can also increase the risk of falling, and can even be life-threatening if mixed with prescribed painkillers.

A surgeon, recovery nurse, or other medical staff can further advise patients regarding behaviors that may slow down recovery.

What You Need To Know About Surgery And Recovery

How long does knee replacement surgery take? Generally, the procedure takes about an hour, Wang said: Its not a long surgery anymore. Surgical techniques have improved over the years, so theres less disruption to muscles and tendons. And advances in anesthesia and pain control make recovering from knee replacement surgery easier.

For some patients, knee replacement is an outpatient procedure they have surgery in the morning and go home later that same day. Others will generally spend one night in the hospital.

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The Pros And Cons Of Knee Replacement Surgery

After knee replacement surgery, some people report feeling mild warmth, which usually goes away over time. In some cases, pain and swelling can remain for three months or more, and any swelling can go away in up to a year. Nonetheless, the vast majority of people report feeling much better after the procedure and only minor pain. A third of respondents to a recent survey reported their knee did not feel normal. People who have a knee replacement typically are satisfied with their new knee after surgery.

Can Rehabilitation Be Done At Home

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All patients are given a set of home exercises to do between supervised physical therapy sessions and the home exercises make up an important part of the recovery process. However, supervised therapy–which is best done in an outpatient physical therapy studio–is extremely helpful and those patients who are able to attend outpatient therapy are encouraged to do so.

For patients who are unable to attend outpatient physical therapy, home physical therapy is arranged.

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Why Is My Knee So Tight After 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.

Read Also: How To Reduce Swelling After Total Knee Replacement

Cpm Machine For After Knee Surgery Including Total Knee Replacement

Although CPM machines are sometimes used after knee reconstructive surgery, a number of studies have found they have limited or no benefit.

A found that CPM used after surgery to repair intra-articular knee fractures offered no benefit.

Some studies have found more positive results, but the use of CPMs remains controversial.

A 2019 study examined the effect of CPM on a group of 163 patients under the age of 20 who underwent ACL reconstructive surgery. The researchers found that those patients who received CPM treatment were less likely to need a second surgery to break up scar tissue within 6 months of surgery.

A 2018 review of studies found that implementing CPM early in treatment with a rapid progression in range of motion was associated with better recovery than a longer duration of CPM use.

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Knee Replacement Pain: The Week Following Surgery

You should expect to stay in the hospital for several days following knee replacement surgery. This is often considered the most painful stage of the recovery process. Your doctor will prescribe medications to help you manage your pain level.

In addition to icing your knee, you may be encouraged to move your foot and ankle to increase blood flow and lower the risk of swelling and blood clots. Your doctor may also use blood thinners, support hose, and compression boots to prevent further complications.

Generally the day after surgery, a physical therapist will show you exercises that will help you recover your range of motion and continue to heal. You may even be asked to get up and take a few steps . Patients who get up and put a safe amount of weight on their new knee typically experience a quicker recovery.

After leaving the hospital, most patients continue to take some form of pain medication for two to six weeks. Your doctor will determine the best method of pain relief for your specific needs, whether it is over-the-counter medications or something stronger.

Tips To Speed Up Recovery Post Knee Replacement

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  • Follow physician recommendations: Your surgeon understands what is needed for speedy recovery. If they prescribe medication, recommend rest, or give other instructions, make sure to follow them exactly. Not listening to your doctor can lead to delays in recovery as well as dangerous side effects.
  • Pain management: Although some discomfort is to be expected after knee replacement surgery, an excellent pain management regimen can dramatically reduce pain and accelerate recovery. Because pain is subjective, accurately describing and pinpointing the location and degree of the pain are critical, which will help the care team know whether pain is consistent or sporadic, as well as whether it is intense, tingling, or burning.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet following surgery helps with speeding up recovery. As your body tries to repair itself, it requires essential vitamins, minerals, and protein, and the best way to obtain them organically is through healthy foods. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods.
  • Exercise:Exercise is not the same as movements taught in physical therapy. Engaging in regular physical activity strengthens the muscles and allows you to recover faster. It is, however, critical to avoid pushing yourself too hard so as to avoid injury to the knee and cause setbacks. Be careful to avoid exercises that are too intense. Ask a trainer for help finding activities that are safe to perform.
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    Knee Replacement Pain A Year And Beyond

    The goal of knee replacement surgery is to help you get back to the activities you love. Your doctor will encourage you to stay fit through activities like swimming, cycling, and even golf. This type of exercise will help you stay limber and pain-free.

    On the contrary, there are certain activities that could negatively affect the prosthetic joint materials in place. Even normal use will begin to wear out the implants, but excessive weight or activity can cause your knee replacement to loosen and become painful. You may need to avoid running, jogging, high-impact exercises, and contact sports for the rest of your life following surgery.

    The good news is that studies show more than 90% of total knee replacements are still functioning properly 15 years after surgery. Staying healthy and following the advice of your doctor will help you achieve these long-term benefits.

    While its possible for pain to persist for a year and beyond, it shouldnt be debilitating. Scar tissue can continue to heal, as well as the muscles in your knee, but if youre suffering from ongoing pain after a year, always talk to your doctor.

    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 hospital provided 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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    How Long Does It Take To Recover From Knee Replacement

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  • In most cases, it takes about 6 weeks to resume normal activities after knee replacement surgery, while full recovery may take 4-6 weeks or even a whole year. The recovery period varies from patient to patient depending on overall health and postoperative complications such as infections.

    Doctors often urge patients to begin mobility exercises using a walker or other orthopedic equipment the same day of their knee replacement surgery. Physical therapy may be started as soon as possible to prevent post-procedural stiffness in the joint.

    The first 12 weeks are considered crucial for recovery. Proper planning and rehabilitation can help you recover faster and increase your chances of long-term success.

    Tips To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery

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

    After total or partial knee replacement surgery, it can be incredibly difficult to recover with the pain, stiffness and tiredness.

    In our experience of treating hundreds of patients before, and after their knee surgery, there are some proven ways that can speed up recovery.

    With the right support, you can get back to walks, enjoying exercise and being able to move pain-free.

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    How Is Partial Knee Replacement Performed

    You will have surgery in a hospital or orthopedic specialty surgery center. Before your surgery date, discuss your anesthesia options with your surgeon. You may have a choice of regional anesthesia, which is when you are awake but numb from the waist down. The surgical team will most likely give you a sedative to make you groggy and relaxed during the procedure. The other option is to be completely asleep using general anesthesia.

    The will make a cut in your knee about three to five inches long to ensure the damage is confined to just one part of your knee. Typically, knee imaging beforehand will determine the extent of damage, but if there is more damage to the knee than expected, you may need a total knee replacement instead. Your surgeon should discuss this possibility with you in advance.

    Partial knee replacement surgery is less invasive than total knee replacement, and the recovery is much quicker and easier. Youll be able to start moving again right away. Depending on your overall health and how you fare after surgery, you may have a hospital stay of only one to two days.


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