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How Long Does Knee Surgery Pain Last

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How Long Does the Pain Last After Knee Replacement Surgery?
  • Typically, knee replacement surgery hurts more than hip replacement surgery .
  • After surgery, pain is no longer achy and arthritic but stems from wound healing, swelling and inflammation.
  • Hip replacement patients often report little to no pain around the 2-6 week mark.
  • A large percentage of knee replacement patients report little pain around the 3 month mark.
  • Pain, swelling, and bruising are part of the natural recovery process.
  • PreHab in the weeks leading up to surgery can help reduce recovery pain. This is due to better preparing the body and muscles that support the affected joint and learning tips and tricks to manage joint pain.
  • Fear and anxiety about pain and holding onto old pain after surgery can slow down your recovery.

Prepare Your Home Before Surgery

Its a good idea to prepare your home for your recovery before you go to the hospital for your surgery. That way, when you return with a walker or cane, you can easily move around your living space. Also, youll want to be sure to have a comfortable chair and ottoman where you can rest and elevate your knee, so you dont have to stay in bed.

What Are The Risk Factors For A Failed Knee Replacement

Age, activity level, surgical history and a persons weight can contribute to implant failure. Younger, active patients, people who are obese, and those who have had prior knee surgeries all have a higher increased risk of a failed implant.

Younger, more active patients have a higher rate of revision than older, less active patients because they place more stress on their prosthesis over more time. Obese patients have a higher incidence of wear and loosening because of the increased force of their weight, and they are more prone to infections because of their increased risk of wound healing. Patients with previous knee surgeries are at higher risk for infection and implant failure.

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Final Thoughts On Preventing Stiffness After Your Knee Replacement

Recovering from your knee replacement surgery is no easy task. Set yourself up for success. Start early. Ideally, begin exercising several months in advance of your surgery. Be consistent with your exercises each day and dont push too hard. Creating unnecessary pain is unhelpful and can set you back in your recovery.

Most importantly, work closely with your physical therapist. Your physical therapist will be your guide. It is rarely, if ever, necessary for your physical therapist to be forceful with bending or straightening your knee. If you have questions or would like some help, give us a call.

Alternatives To Total Knee Replacement Surgery

How Long Does Swelling Last After Knee Replacement Surgery

There are several different conservative or less invasive options that may be attempted prior to having a total knee replacement.

Injections are often used in an attempt to decrease inflammation, friction, and pain in the joint. Surgical options to consider aim to preserve or restructure remaining tissue and to prevent or put off a total knee replacement.

Physical Therapists provide non-invasive treatment options to improve strength, flexibility, and body mechanics for functional activities to reduce knee pain. PTs can also educate patients on an exercise program for improving body composition.

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Addressing Inflammation In The Body You Can Help

Inflammation is a natural response within the body, and lets us know when things are out of balance. Its a natural part of the healing process, following knee replacement surgery, for the area around the replacement to be inflammed.

There are steps that can be taken to ensure the bodys inflammation response is healthy and normal, and these include eating a diet lower in inflammation-causing foods, and allowing a specialist in the field of using movement and tension release exercises to reduce secondary inflammation that might come from compensatory body mechanics.

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.

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Nerve Damage From Surgery

Nerve damage can happen during surgery, but it usually goes away within six months.

Surgeons must cut and stretch skin and muscle during surgery. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says pressure, stretching or cutting can damage nerves in the leg or around the joint.

Knee surgery may involve special tourniquets to restrict blood flow in the leg. According to a 2013 study in the journal Acta Orthopaedica, these devices may put damaging pressure on nerves.

Symptoms of nerve damage include radiating pain, tingling sensation in the leg, and numbness in the leg or foot.

How Long Do You Have Pain After Total Knee Replacement Surgery

How long does the pain last after a knee replacement?

Youve just had a total knee replacement. While you know that this will definitely add years to your mobility, the pain from the surgery is the only thing you can focus on overcoming right now. While you may have been experiencing chronic pain before knee surgery, it may come as some relief that post-surgery pain should go away in a short time with proper recovery.

Immediately after surgery, you can expect to be in the care of hospital staff for anywhere from 2-5 days. They will keep you on regular pain medication and be able to keep you up to speed in your recovery process. Its when you head home that it is now up to you to make sure you are doing your stretches, monitoring and dosing your pain and subsequent pain medication accordingly, and following your doctors orders.

While the rest-ice-elevate rule applies to most injuries and surgeries, it is particularly important after a total knee replacement because your pain can be so significant, you will want to do everything you can to stay on track in your healing process.

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How Long Is Recovery

You may have to wear a brace or cast to keep your knee stable. Youâll likely also have to use crutches for at least a month to keep weight off your knee.

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your recovery. Itâll help increase your range of motion and help your knee get stronger. They may also share some exercises you can do at home.

If you have a partial or total meniscectomy, you can expect your recovery to take about a month. If your meniscus was repaired, it may take as long as 3 months.

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Rehab Phase : Weeks 2

During weeks 2-6 on the ACL surgery recovery timeline, emphasis shifts to strengthening and stability.

Your physio will give you a range of strengthening exercises to target the quads, hamstrings and glutes as well as proprioception exercises. With proprioceptive exercises, you are working on regaining the awareness of the position of your knee and leg.

This is done by re-educating the knee with balance exercises. The ACL plays a vital role in proprioception you can read more about that here. Care should also be taken in this phase of the donor graft site while that is healing.

  • Have full range of movement
  • Have minimal or no swelling
  • Be able to balance on your affected leg for at least 20 seconds
  • Be able to drive do notify your insurance company about your operation

You may be able to return to work during this phase but it will depend on the nature of your job discuss this with your physical therapist or surgeon.

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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.

Why Might You Need Ankle Surgery

How Long Does Knee Pain Last After Knee Replacement Surgery

Some patients undergo ankle surgery when conservative treatments for conditions, like arthritis, have failed. Others need ankle surgery for a severe fracture or torn ligaments or tendons. Finally, some patients experience chronic pain or instability following one or more ankle injuries. These patients may find relief from ankle surgery.

Most ankle surgeries are considered “elective.” However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the surgery is optional. Rather, elective surgeries are simply those that can be scheduled in advance. Unlike urgent or emergency surgeries, the need is not life-threatening. Thus, elective surgeries need not be performed immediately. The need is nevertheless real.

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Can You Still Walk With A Torn Meniscus

Simple walking and other activities that do not require twisting, pivoting, rapid change of direction, etc., are generally well-tolerated after a meniscus tear. Tears can progress over time, but the rate of progression is generally gradual and highly variable. Pain is the guide. If a tear is being made worse, there will generally be associated symptoms of increased pain.

How Long Does It Take To Heal From A Knee Sprain

The exact knee sprain healing time in therapy depends on how bad your injury was and your body. Mild knee sprains usually take around 3 to 6 weeks to heal with therapy. Moderate knee sprains take from 8 to 12 weeks to heal. Here are the details:

Grade I Grade I will take a few weeks to fully heal. You will notice the strength return to the ligament at around six weeks as the collagen fibers grow back. Make sure you rest from anything that causes you pain, use the ice, and anti-inflammatories if your doctor recommends them.

Grade II This type of injury takes around six-eight full weeks to heal. You will most likely have to wear a brace when bearing weight on the knee and use a support tape. These things will keep you from over-flexing the knee joint. Your doctor will most likely allow you to return to light duties once your ligament is stable and can hold the joint without pain. You may be sent for physical therapy where they do massage, exercises and electrical stimulation to the muscles.

Grade III The doctor will most likely place you in a brace that has hinged to protect your joint from additional stress while healing. This type of injury usually takes around 3 to 4 months to heal.

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Why Would I Need A Knee Replacement

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.

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Amount Of Surgical Trauma

Ask Dr. Beck | #19 – How Long Does Pain Last After Knee Replacement Surgery?

Joshi et al. stated that the post-arthroscopy pain seems to be unrelated to any intra-articular procedure which may be carried out and the results of some studies agree with that . In another study, low post-operative pain scores were found in patients with little pre-operative pain and small surgical trauma .

Although the difference was not statistical, patients who underwent arthroscopic meniscectomy exhibit on average more post-operative pain than those in the diagnostic arthroscopy group, and supplementary analgesia was required only in patients that underwent arthroscopic meniscectomy.

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Continue To Exercise: 7

Low-impact exercises like swimming, weight training, and cycling are ideal until Dr. Woodson gives you the go-ahead for more intense workouts. Again, everyone is different, so listen to your body to know when to rest. You want to make steady progress, but you dont want to injure your knee or create a setback for yourself because you pushed too hard, too soon.

Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Knee

Inflammatory arthritis

This broad category includes a wide variety of diagnoses including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout and many others. It is important that patients with these conditions be followed by a qualified rheumatologist as there are a number of exciting new treatments that may decrease the symptoms and perhaps even slow the progression of knee joint damage.

Patients with inflammatory arthritis of the knee usually have joint damage in all three compartments and therefore are not good candidates for partial knee replacement. However, inflammatory arthritis patients who decide to have total knee replacement have an extremely high likelihood of success. These patients often experience total, or near-total, pain relief following a well-performed joint replacement.


Osteoarthritis is also called OA or degenerative joint disease. OA patients represent the large majority of arthritis sufferers. OA may affect multiple joints or it may be localized to the involved knee. Activity limitations due to pain are the hallmarks of this disease.

OA patients who have symptoms limited to one compartment of the knee sometimes are good candidates for minimally-invasive partial knee replacement .

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Adhere To Your Doctors Medication Prescriptions

Immediately after your surgery, your doctor may give you pain medication. This can take the form of intravenous or oral pain relievers. If you have low pain tolerance, your healthcare team may give you a strong opiate or opioid.

Donât worry, though, as you will only need this for a day or two following the procedure. After this, your doctor will put you on much milder anti-pain medications.

Whatâs important is to follow everything indicated in your prescriptions. Never take these medications for longer than what your doctor tells you. More importantly, donât stray from the recommended dosage.

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How Long Does Stiffness Last After Knee Replacement

How Long Does a Knee Sprain Take to Heal?

Some degree of stiffness is normal after surgery since you can’t move the injured knee right away. If you undergo proper rehabilitation, you should no longer have a stiff knee by the third month.

For starters, correct rehabilitative practices help prevent scar tissue buildup. The formation of scar tissues, in turn, are some of the top causes of joint stiffness. This is why it’s super important to get your knee moving as soon as your doctor allows you.

This is also why your doctor will likely let you walk within the first 24 hours after surgery. You’d need to rely on an assistive device, though, such as a cane, crutches, or a knee brace. Your healthcare team will also only permit you to walk a few steps during this time.

Speaking of which, your doctor will likely have you stay in the hospital for one to three days after the surgery. Your physician may extend this based on how much physical therapy you need. Your progression and recovery will also dictate the time you need to remain in the hospital.

Either way, you can expect your physical rehabilitation to start as early as day 2 after the surgery. You will still need a knee brace and other assistive devices to help you get up and move. You can also expect your knee to start healing while you’re still in the hospital.

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