Total Knee Replacement Recovery Time
The following timeline represents the recovery trajectory that is generally expected after total knee replacement surgery without complications or the presence of other conditions2-4.
Phase 1 : Hospital stay
After your surgery is complete you should expect to spend some time in the hospital where you will be closely monitored by physicians and assessed by a physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon. Once you achieve the hospitals discharge criteria you will be allowed to return home to continue your recovery in a more comfortable environment. ;
Phase 2 : Begin rehabilitation program & assisted movement
For the first several weeks you will be unable to walk without assistance devices like canes or walkers. You will likely experience difficulty performing simple activities of daily living such as sitting, walking, or climbing stairs and driving. Your knee will be stiff and sore, however, you will be given a supervised rehabilitation program to improve joint function and prescribed medication to manage the pain.
Phase 3 : Build strength, range of motion & retrain gait
Phase 4 : Build functional capacity and independence from assistance devices
Phase 5 : Return to recreational activities and demanding occupational duties
For individuals wishing to return to recreational activities or those that have significant physical occupational demands, further progression in rehabilitation may be required to achieve satisfactory outcomes.
Phase 6 :;Majority of improvements have occurred
Why Would I Need Surgery
Osteoarthritis is the main reason why people go for knee replacement surgery. The age-related condition is very common and occurs when cartilage — the cushion between the knee and the bone joints — breaks down.
Other reasons include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is when the bodyâs immune system attacks and destroys the lining of the knee.
- Deformities: People with bowed legs or âknock-kneesâ often get surgery to restore the position of the knee.
- Knee injuries: A broken bone or torn ligaments around the knee sometimes will result in arthritis that causes great pain and limits your movement.
Is Manipulation Under Anesthesia Painful
Less force is applied during the procedure making it painless and often effective. MUA is performed by trained and certified doctors who work in chiropractic medicine, rehabilitation, osteopathy, or orthopedics. It is considered to be a subspecialty which means it may not be available in every clinical office.
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Avoid Mistakes To Recover Faster
How long does it take to recover from total knee replacement? Will it be relatively easy or frustratingly hard, speedy or last over a year? ;This is the million dollar question. You can make a big difference in your recovery speed by avoiding the 5 biggest mistakes that most people make. Not doing any of your exercises would be the stupidest mistake but I am going to assume you are MUCH smarter than that after all you are here searching out and seeking the best answers to all your questions.
Here it is for all the wise ones. Listen up and take notes so that you too can avoid the 5 biggest mistakes that will shipwreck;your recovery from a total knee replacement.
What Would I Have Done Differently In The Past Year
As I mentioned above I am happy with the progress I have made to date. When thinking back, I dont think I would have done anything different during my rehab.
I must stress that I was concerned and fearful about the surgery and the rehab so much so that I strictly followed my doctors orders and was especially diligent following the plan my physical therapists set out for me.
Talking with friends that have also had TKR, the ones that seem to be having the most trouble post TKR are those that didnt take their physical therapy as seriously as I did.
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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.
Swelling After Knee Replacement
Leg swelling is going to be present after having a knee replaced. Swelling has a significant effect on knee flexibility and the ability for muscles to contract. ;Think of trying to roll up a full water hose versus an empty water hose.
It is important to monitor, limit, and attempt to reduce swelling as much as possible.&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;lt;br /&amp;gt;&lt;br /&gt;Swelling management strategies include:
It is also important to continue monitoring for blood clots and infection, as sometimes the onset of symptoms is delayed and requires immediate medical attention, possibly rehospitalization.
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How To Assist Your Recovery After Discharge
To ensure your recovery process is as successful as possible, its important to follow your orthopedic surgeons directions as closely as possible. After discharge from the hospital, you will need to:
- Perform strength and mobility exercises and attend physical therapy.
- Maximize rest to minimize the risk of falls
- Use an assistive device such as a walker or cane
- Treat pain, discomfort and swelling with medication, cold packs and elevation
Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery
A knee replacement surgery is a major operation, but the recovery from this surgery is now easier due to less invasive surgical techniques and procedures. With a successful knee replacement performed by a skilled surgeon, you can become fully independent in 4 to 6 weeks. Recovery after a knee replacement is not much painful or uncomfortable. Most people recover just fine, and return to regular life and sports in a couple of months. It is normal to have some swelling or discomfort after the surgery, which will be managed by medications prescribed by the surgeon. As long as you take your medications on time, follow the recovery tips, take necessary precautions and follow your physiotherapy plan, no complications should arise. But if any side effects or complications arise, call your doctor right away.;
After surgery, most people experience significant improvements in the quality of their life. But, it will not happen all at once. It usually takes around 4 to 6 weeks to return to most activities, and it can take up to 6 to 8 months to make a full recovery and regain full strength.
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Help With Medical Appointments
Keeping a calendar can help you track the persons daily needs, and can also help you stay on top of their appointments.
Missing an appointment may lead to setbacks or other complications, so its important to take note of their follow-up visits and plan accordingly. This includes transportation.
The person youre caring for will likely be unable to drive for the first 4 to 6 weeks following surgery. This means they will need someone to drive them to their appointments.
If any issues arise between appointments, dont hesitate to reach out to the healthcare team.
This may include questions about:
- medications or unusual reactions to them
- elevated temperature
When Do You Need To Call Your Orthopedic Surgeon After Knee Replacement
;; ;Signs of infection, such as-
;; ;Increased pain, warmth, swelling or redness.
;; ;Pus draining or unusual discharge from the incision.
;; ;High; fever.
;; ;Signs of a blood clot, such as-
;; ;Pain in the calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin area.
;; ;Redness or swelling in the legs or groin.
;; ;Incision opens up and begins to bleed;
;; ;Severe pain that does not get better even after taking painkillers.
;; ;Shortness of breath
Follow up care after knee replacement surgery
In the first year after your knee replacement surgery, you will have regular follow up consultations with your orthopedic surgeon. During these visits, the doctor will note about your progress, discuss your comfort level, mobility, how the new knee is working for you and may take X-rays for better evaluation. The doctor will address any of the concerns you might have and will make sure you are healing well.
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Outpatient Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement Surgery
Depending on your surgeons protocol and your current healing status, you will beginoutpatient physical therapy between 2-7 days after knee replacement surgery. You can expect to see your physical therapist 2-3 days per week for 10-14 weeks, depending on your recovery time.
As stated above, knee swelling will limit your flexibility after knee replacement surgery, but the normal healing process, along with tissue scarring, will also prevent the knee from bending and straightening.; Your outpatient physical therapist will help you slowly improve this mobility and decrease stiffness while also making sure not to aggravate the knee, potentially causing more trauma and swelling.
Stephanie Patek, PT, DPT explains, As physical therapists, we are highly trained to provide movement progressions and graded exercises to help you achieve the best outcome from your knee replacement.
Other than swelling and limited motion in your knee, you may also notice that your leg feels weaker and unsteady. This is most likely due to thequadriceps muscles, which are the thigh muscles that straighten your knee, having difficulty turning on. This sensation of weakness is typical post-knee replacement. Your physical therapist will help you regain this muscle strength that will allow you to become more functional, including walking without a device and negotiating stairs.
What Does Recovery Mean To You
Keep in mind that knee replacement surgery is designed to help you improve your quality of life by restoring your ability to perform basic activities of daily living Walking, squatting, kneeling, and stair climbing. Activities beyond these may exceed the outcomes generally expected by medical professionals. If you hope to do more than the basics after knee surgery it is important to discuss your expectations with your physician to ensure that you are happy with the final outcome. ;
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How Long Is Recovery After Knee Manipulation
This is because during MUA the body undergoes a strenuous exercise session, even though the exercise is passive, performed by others. Rehabilitation should begin as soon as possible after MUA, typically within a week to 10 days, with a program of physical therapy appropriate to the individual patient.
Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement Surgery
Outpatient physical therapy is typically prescribed after discharge and will usually begin within a week of surgery. A physical therapist will teach the patient:
- Knee strengthening exercises
- Knee exercises to encourage range of motion and reduce scar tissue
- How to use assistive walking devices, such as a walker and cane
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Keep The Knee Straight
While it may not be incredibly comfortable, it’s important that you keep your knee joint completely straight immediately after your surgery. You should minimize the amount of time you’re on your feet, and be sure to use crutches or a wheelchair if you must move about. When seated and lying down, keep your leg straight out in front of you, with no bend in the joint. It’s important that you give the joint ample time to heal; your doctor will let you know when it’s safe to begin bending and moving the joint.
Alternatives To Total 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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Life After Knee Replacement
The goal of knee replacement surgery is to improve your quality of life and restore function that has been lost as a result of arthritis in the knee, there are a number of activities that knee replacement patients find that even years after the surgery, they are unable to do comfortably. The most common complaint in knee replacement patients is that they have difficulty performing tasks that require kneeling. This is normal and whether or not the patient has had their kneecap replaced as part of their knee replacement does not seem to affect this phenomenon.
Total knee replacement prosthetic components
The image shows the prosthetic components consisting of cobalt chromium alloy metallic tibial and femoral components and polyethylene insert. The femoral component and insert are cruciate retaining. The choice between cruciate retaining and posterior stabilized implant is made depending upon the disease in the knee joint and the integrity of the posterior cruciate ligament.
Modular femoral and tibial components along with polyethylene insert
Modular prosthetic components differ from primary knee replacement components as they allow the surgeon to make intraoperative changes. The surgeon may add bone augments or stems to achieve additional stability. The constrained insert allows stable range of motion.
Modular femoral component
Femoral component stem
Knee Replacement Recovery Starts Right Away In The Hospital
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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Here Is An Overview Of What You Can Expect During These 12 Weeks:
- Days 1 3: In the hospital, you will work with a physical therapist and occupational therapist to work on straightening and bending the knee.
- Discharge Day: Most people are discharged from the hospital within a few days. You will be sent home with specific instructions for care, medication, and therapy.
- Week 3: By the time you reach week three, you will be able to move around a little more, and the pain will be decreasing.
- Weeks 4 6: The most noticeable improvements in your knee happen during this time if you are consistent with your rehab and exercise activities.;
- Weeks 7 11: Physical therapy and rehabilitation continue. At this point, you will be working on range of motion, mobility, and strengthening the muscles.
- Week 12: You can start to return to normal activities but still need to avoid high-impact exercise .
Beyond this initial recovery time, you will notice that the pain will continue to decrease, and your function will improve.
Knee Extension Stretches And Exercises
Expect to perform a variation of these knee extension exercises:
- Quad Sets
- Seated calf stretch with towel/belt
- Standing TKE
Some patients will use a continuous passive movement machine that will repeatedly assist bending and straightening your knee slowly for hours each day for a couple weeks until they have reached a desired range of motion.
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Six To 12 Weeks After Surgery
This is the recovery period when life starts to get easier. Most people return to their normal activities, including work and driving. However, its important not to push too hard. You will likely still have some and limitations on your activity. Your strength and abilities will continue to improve in these months after knee replacement. Your doctor will let you know when it is safe to return to sports and other strenuous activities. Keep in mind, you may never be able to return to high-impact activities, such as running or sports involving jumping.
Full recovery from surgery can take six months or longer. Your new knee should have improved motion compared to before surgery. But many people still have some stiffness and limitations in range of motion. Most people will be able to almost fully extend their new knee. And while kneeling wont be harmful, it may be uncomfortable. Its also common to feel or hear clicking when you walk. All of these issues tend to get better with time. Maintaining your strengthening exercises will help stabilize your knee and prevent future problems.
What Are Risks And Complications Of Knee Replacement
Complications of knee replacement surgery include:
- Blood clot in the deep veins of the leg
- A DVT can be deadly if it travels to the lungs so see a doctor if you have symptoms that could indicate a DVT, such as leg pain or swelling