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How Long Is Recovery After Knee Replacement

Alternatives To Total Knee Replacement Surgery

How long does recovery take 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.

How To Encourage Healing

For anyone who has had knee surgery, it is essential to keep the wound as dry as possible until it has thoroughly healed. Covering the wound with a bandage will also help prevent irritation from support stockings and other clothing.

Having a healthful, balanced diet helps encourage healing, though a person may have a poor appetite for the first few days after their surgery.

The AAOS recommends exercising in the first few weeks after the operation. A physical therapist may recommend specific exercises that help restore movement and build strength in the knee, and a person may need to do these several times a day.

Otherwise, the best approach to aftercare largely depends on the type of surgery that a person has had.

Anyone who has undergone arthroscopy should exercise regularly. A doctor or physical therapist usually recommends 2030 minutes of exercise two or three times a day and walking for 30 minutes two or three times a day during early recovery.

A physical therapist may design a personalized activity program. This may involve gradually increasing the amount of walking and a timetable for resuming everyday activities, such as climbing stairs. They will also recommend rehabilitation exercises.

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

Typically a patients knee will be swollen, stiff, weak, and sore following surgery. This makes functional activities such as walking and standing up difficult to perform.

The timeline for regaining strength and range of motion after knee replacement is variable. These two elements are key to successfully completing the total knee replacement recovery process.

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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.

Use Walking Poles In The First Few Month

11 Fast Recovery Tips from Total Knee Replacement ...

You will need to use a walker immediately after TKR. In a few days, you will transition to walking poles or a cane.

I recommend walking poles and it is important to have them on hand. The poles will help you maintain balance when you begin walking again and they will also take some weight off of the knee and hip.

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Will I Need To Use Crutches Or Other Assistive Devices After Knee Replacement Surgery

Yes. And depending on the type of surgery youve had , youll probably need to use an assistive device for at least a few weeks during recovery.

Assistive devices make certain activities like walking, using the restroom and dressing easier to do. They also help keep you safe.

The types of assistive devices youll need after knee replacement surgery depend on your condition, but common devices include:

  • Walking aids like crutches, canes or walkers
  • Shoehorns and sock aids
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Tub chair

The good news is some assistive devices may be covered by your insurance, so be sure to check with your insurance provider before you go in for surgery.

Elderly Recovery From Knee Replacement

According to Arthritis Research UK, nearly nine million people suffer from osteoarthritis, a commonly experienced disease worldwide that weakens joints and muscles. This disease is especially common for older adults since as seniors age, their bodies become more susceptible to such conditions. If your elderly loved one is among those suffering from osteoarthritis, you may be considering or already have turned to knee replacement surgery as a way of dealing with pain and lack of mobility. This article will tell you all you need to know about knee replacement surgeries, recovery strategies, timeline, and more.

The elderly have several options when it comes to knee replacement surgeries. They can consult their doctor and see which of these are most viable. Often, knee replacement surgeries are necessary when seniors battle with swelling and stiffness, have trouble sleeping, and cannot walk without severe pain. Whether your senior is dealing with partial or total knee replacement surgeries, they both require quite a lot of preparation and research beforehand so that caregivers and patients are ready for the post-surgery period. Its extremely important that seniors and their loved ones know how to handle the recovery process so that they can prevent complications or infections.

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What Not To Do After A Knee Replacement

As previously mentioned, removing the dressings too early or before you are instructed to do so by your healthcare provider will increase the risk of developing an infection. This is important to avoid and as such leaving your dressings and following the postoperative care instructions that you are given is essential.

Trying to do too much too quickly is a common scenario particularly in younger patients. Recovery from the knee replacement is a slow process and many patients want to be back to a baseline level of activity within a few weeks of the surgery. This is simply not possible and we would encourage you to be patient and consistent with your exercises and rehabilitation protocols. Regular communication with your surgeon or healthcare provider if you have any concerns will be able to reassure you of your progress through the process of recovering.

Avoid trying to enter into sporting activity too quickly. Although it does frustrate patients when find they are unable to perform their sports as quickly as they want after the surgery, it can also put you at risk of developing an injury around tissues that are still in the process of healing. This can cause problematic injuries such as disruptions to your extensor mechanism of your knee and even periprosthetic fractures. These are major injuries that usually require surgical intervention and should be avoided at all costs.

Motivation To Regain Physical Function

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

And finally, Dr. Courtney sees another factor speeding recovery for certain patients. Motivation is big one, especially with knee replacement surgery, he says. If patients are involved in sports, like golf, tennis, or swimming, their motivation to get back to their activities plays an important role.

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How Long Does It Take For Swelling To Go Down After Knee Surgery

Recovery from knee replacement surgery is gradual, but it is well worth the effort, as it helps to improve mobility. Aside from that, you will not experience stiffness, pain, or swelling.

However, after a knee operation, you might be concerned about a swollen foot. Dont fret its just a recovery sign and will disappear within 2 to 3 weeks. Withal, swelling can last from 3 to 6 months in cases of fluid retention.

Therefore, it is recommended to visit your physician, or a rehabilitation center, frequently to prevent future complications. An experienced physiotherapist can also help you to recover faster from symptoms.

Refuse The Urge To Be Sedentary

Besides prescribed exercise routines, your therapist will want you to take walks. Make yourself get out of the recliner and outside for at least 3 walks a day once your therapist gives you the go ahead.

If your caregiver or a friend or family member will walk with you, their encouragement and conversation make taking walks easier. Do ankle pumps and ankle rolls even when you are sitting down.

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Massage Around The Knee Often

Massage definitely was a plus in my recovery. My caregiver usually gave me at least one extended massage on the sides of my knee and on the back of my knee.

I massaged my knee myself before my 3 daily exercise sessions. A massage right before bedtime also felt great.

I used the product Free Up Massage Cream that my therapist recommended. Other kinds of lotion or cream work well too.

Plan Activities That You Can Do During Recovery


Plan some sedentary activities that you can accomplish while recovering. Puzzles, video games, and TV can occupy your recovery time.

However, you may want to make better use of your time. You may have a hobby or a project or two that you have been wanting to do such as sorting old photographs, writing letters, knitting, reading or drawing to name a few.

Have materials nearby and ready so that they are easy to access once you feel like doing something.

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What Type Of Pain Medication Will I Take After My Total Knee Replacement

Most patients require some form of narcotic analgesic in the early postoperative period after their surgery. Each patient is different in how they respond to this type of pain medication and while others may have been prescribed one medication, this may not work the same for you as it did for them. As such, the first line medication may be different to a family member or friend to whom you have spoken who has already had their knee replaced. We usually use medications such as hydromorphone and oxycodone in conjunction with medications such as Tylenol.

You are able to take these two medications together as their mechanism of action is different. It is important to remember that these medications do have side effects and experiencing nausea, constipation or drowsiness are all recognized side effects of narcotic analgesics. It is important to stick to the dosing schedule that your physician has indicated to you and that your pharmacist will reiterate to you at the time of filling your prescription.

Taking too many narcotic analgesics can result in worsening side effects without the benefit of improved pain relief and can even depress your respiratory drive causing you to breathe slower or stop breathing altogether. As such, it is essential that you do not exceed the maximum indicated dose on your prescription or medication container.

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.

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Pain After Total Knee Replacement

You will experience some postsurgical pain in the area that has been operated on after your knee replacement. This is normal and you will be prescribed medications by your surgeon to attempt to control your pain and bring it within tolerable levels. It is important to remember that, at this stage, it is unrealistic to expect that there will be no pain and so a small amount of soreness in and around the knee is normal. It will take one to two weeks for the postsurgical pain to dissipate however, this does not indicate that the knee has fully healed.

There will be some discomfort in the knee up to around 6 weeks following the surgery and in some patients, this may even persist up to 3 months following the surgery. The pain is caused by a number of factors including the muscles around the knee recovering from the surgery and regaining strength that they have lost as a result of the surgery, as well as other tissues around the knee healing and getting used to the new biomechanics of the knee joint.

Bilateral Knee Replacement Recovery Tips

Why Does It Take so Long to Recover from a Knee Replacement?
  • Home
  • BlogBilateral Knee Replacement Recovery Tips
  • When you have a bilateral knee replacement, the recovery phase plays a vital role in helping you resume normal activities quickly. The recovery and rehab process can help you heal faster after surgery and improve the long-term outcome of the surgery. Here we discuss the recovery time for knee replacement and six bilateral knee replacement tips.

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    How Much Should I Be Walking After A Knee Replacement

    Strictly speaking, there is no limit to the amount of walking that you can do following a knee replacement. Your surgeon will not place a distance or time limit on your walking activities, as most patients find that their knee that is still recovering from surgery, and this will limit them instead. Walking is an excellent exercise to help promote recovery and healing in the knee and many patients find that the more walking that they can do, the quicker they recover from the surgery and the more functional they are in the long term. However, walking should also be supplemented with other exercises that demand a greater range of motion out of the knee such as a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer.

    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.

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    How Long Will It Be Before I Feel Normal

    You should be able to stop using your crutches or walking frame and resume normal leisure activities 6 weeks after surgery. However, it may take up to 3 months for pain and swelling to settle down. It can take up to a year for any leg swelling to disappear.

    Your new knee will continue to recover for up to 2 years after your operation. During this time, scar tissue will heal and muscles can be restored by exercise.

    Even after you have recovered, it’s best to avoid extreme movements or sports where there’s a risk of falling, such as skiing or mountain biking. Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise you.

    Day : The Initial Recovery

    5 Tips For Faster Knee Surgery Recovery

    After a full knee replacement, you will likely wake up after 1½-2 hours under general anaesthetic with your knee elevated, a bandage covering the incision/s and possibly a drain to remove excess fluid from the joint.

    The anaesthetic will leave your head feeling a bit foggy and the brain will be protecting the knee by avoiding movement.

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    Swollen Foot After Knee Surgery

    Swelling in the leg, foot, or knee following a knee replacement is primarily caused by fluid accumulations in the soft tissues.

    After surgery, swelling is a normal part of the recovery process because, during the healing process, thousands of cells are sent to fix the surgical part this is called the inflammation phase the first phase of recovery. It is due to the influx of all these cells to the affected area that causes swelling.

    Since the lower extremity is dependent and low to the heart, there is more swelling in lower appendage surgery. Furthermore, gravity makes it likely for more fluid to accumulate.

    Edema is the accumulation of fluid in the bodily tissue. In particular, edema occurs most often in the feet, ankles, hands, legs, and arms after surgery. The result is painful swelling.

    Often, edema occurs because of a chemical imbalance within cells caused by mechanical stress. There may also be pathological manifestations of edema.

    An individuals pain and swelling following knee replacement may last up to three weeks and then subside gradually. In some instances, swelling may persist for 3 to 6 months. However, you can ease the pain and swell with medicines or home remedies.

    Keep A List Of Questions For Medical Professionals

    Its common to have questions after surgery and during rehabilitation. Go old school with a pen and paper pad or download a note-taking app so you can jot down questions as they arise.

    You may also find that you have questions of your own about how best to provide care. Documenting your questions and concerns will help you remember to discuss them with the care team.

    See this guide for ideas about what to ask the orthopedic surgeon after a total knee replacement.

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