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How Long Is The Recovery From Knee Surgery

Returning To Activities / Sports

How long is the recovery from knee replacement surgery? – Ask Saint Peter’s

Here is some more guidance relating to specific activities and knee replacement recovery time:

  • You can resume many 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 as they put too much stress on the new knee joint. These include: jogging, contact sports e.g. basketball and football, squash, badminton, jumping activities and 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.

When To Seek Emergency Care

Warning signs of a blood clot in the lungs include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing. Signs of infection include fever, worsening redness or tenderness of the knee, and pus draining from the surgical wound. If you feel or see any of these symptoms after knee replacement, call your doctor immediately. Call 911 for chest pain or if you are having any trouble breathing.

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Knee Surgery Recovery Time

Knee surgery recovery time varies depending upon the type of knee surgery and the individual’s health. Recovery in terms of walking or resuming normal life can begin within 3 to 8 weeks of surgery, while resuming strenuous activities may take quite a few months.

Knee surgery recovery time varies depending upon the type of knee surgery and the individuals health. Recovery in terms of walking or resuming normal life can begin within 3 to 8 weeks of surgery, while resuming strenuous activities may take quite a few months.

In cases of severe knee problems where treatment through medication is not possible, knee surgery is the ultimate option to improve the function of knee joint. Besides, many sportsmen also undergo a knee surgery if the knee problem jeopardizes their performance. Depending upon the problem, there are several types of corrective orthopedic surgeries. The recovery time primarily depends upon the particular type of surgery you opt for.

Daniel Fulham ONeill, M.D., Ed.D, stated in his book, Knee Surgery: The Essential Guide to Total Knee Recovery that, different knees heal at different rates. People have different problems and different responses to surgeries, which is why the ideal recovery time after a knee surgery cannot be determined.

ArthroscopyRecovery TimeHalf/Partial Knee Replacement SurgeryRecovery TimeTotal Knee Replacement SurgeryRecovery TimeKnee OsteotomyRecovery Time

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What To Expect After A Total Knee Replacement

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  • If you struggle with chronic knee pain and knee mobility, your doctor may recommend total knee replacement surgery once conservative treatment options are exhausted. Knowing what to expect after a total knee replacement can help you regain knee strength and mobility so that you can resume independent living more quickly.

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    Knee Replacement Recovery Tips

    11 Fast Recovery Tips from Total Knee Replacement ...

    Here’s some top tips for four common questions about total knee replacement recovery time:

  • How Long Does The Pain Last? Many people find they have less pain after their knee replacement as the arthritis pain is no longer there. The post-op pain usually settles down within 6-12 weeks although their may be some residual pain and swelling for up to a year
  • How Do I Sleep After A Knee Replacement? Typically people find it most comfy to sleep on a firm mattress, either lying on their back or on their side with a pillow between their legs
  • Can I Kneel Down With My Knee Replacement? Yes you can although it may be uncomfortable in which case use a cushion or knee pad. Kneeling won’t cause any damage to the knee replacement
  • How Do I Make the Best Recovery? In order to make the best knee replacement recovery, follow all the advice from your doctor and physical therapist. Start exercises prior to surgery, get up and about as soon as possible, stick to your rehab programme, take medications reguarly when advised and keep going. There may be ups and downs along the way, but stay focused and positive
  • You can find the answers to loads more similar questions in the total knee replacement recovery questions section.

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    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.

    What Is Considered A Normal Amount Of Pain After A Hip Replacement Surgery

    Some swelling and initial pain at the joint are normal after hip replacement. To help reduce pain:

    • Take time to rest between therapy sessions.
    • Ice the leg and the incision site.
    • Take anti-inflammatory medications, after consulting with your doctor, to help with these symptoms.

    Keeping the leg elevated above the heart when you lay down can also help the swelling to recede, advises Thakkar.

    Its important to pay attention to your pain levels. If you feel like you are consistently at a 6 or more on a 110 pain scale, mention it to your doctor, because it could be a sign of infection or another complication. As you continue physical therapy, your pain levels should slowly decrease to about 1 or 2 in 12 weeks after the hip replacement.

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    Knee Replacement Recovery Tips To Maximize Healing

    Recovering from a total knee replacement is a slow process and can feel, in the immediate postoperative period, like very little progress is being made. However, a dedicated and consistent approach to recovering will always yield the best results. It is important to try to mobilize as soon as possible after your knee replacement surgery. This will be tricky immediately following the surgery as you will feel sore and have some pain, which will hopefully be controlled by the pain medications your surgeon will prescribe you.

    If your pain is poorly controlled, it is important to let your surgeon know this so that your analgesic regimen can be altered to suit your needs. In the immediate postoperative period, you will have physical therapist assistance in getting up and on your feet in a safe and timely manner. They will help you get used to the feeling of your new knee and will teach you how to walk safely while your knee and tissues within the knee are still recovering from the surgery.

    X-ray showing Total Knee Replacement.

    It is important that you continue physical therapy assistance in the longer term recovery from your knee replacement surgery, as studies have shown consistently that patients who undergo a dedicated and standardized physical therapy regimen to recover from that knee replacement experience much better outcomes than those who do not.

    How Long Do I Need To Use A Bandage

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

    The initial bandage often gets soaked with fluid and blood. Drainage after surgery should gradually decrease after 48 hours, and then Band-Aids are usually sufficient over the small incisions. If desired, dry sterile gauze pads and an Ace wrap can be continued to protect the incisions from irritation from clothing, pets, young children, etc. Once the incisions are completely dry the use of a bandage is optional.

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    Is It Normal For A Dog To Bleed After Surgery

    Such behavior is a normal reaction after undergoing anesthesia. Seeping and bleeding from the surgery site is normal and may continue for several days. Your dog must wear a cone to keep him/her from licking and chewing the surgery site. Licking and chewing of the surgery site is the most common cause of infection.

    Is It Normal For Dogs Not To Drink The Night After Surgery

    Not wanting to drink the night after surgery is normal. Thirst and appetite may not be completely normal for a few days after surgery. Disoriented and/or listless behavior is normal after sedation and anesthesia. Listless behavior may continue until twenty-four hours after the surgery. Many dogs howl and whine the night after surgery.

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    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.

    When Can I Get Back To My Usual Activities

    Knee Surgery Recovery: Tips for Fast Recovery

    The timing for getting back to typical activities varies from person to person. The one thing that doesnt vary is the need for physical therapy to help get you there.

    Heres a high-level look of the progress you can expect to see in the first three months of recovery with regular physical therapy:

    • One month after surgery: Youll probably start doing low-impact, daily activities like driving, returning to work, household chores and regular errands.
    • Two months after surgery: Around the seven-week mark, you can likely start enjoying low-impact physical activities again. Many of my patients love getting active by swimming, biking and taking longer walks at this point in their recovery.
    • Three months after surgery: You may be able to return to high-impact physical activity like running, skiing or other activities you enjoy. Youll need to start slow and be gentle with yourself, but youll be able to work up to the level of activity you were used to.

    All that said, its important to follow your post-op surgery instructions including regular follow-ups with your surgeon. Theyll let you know what youre ready for during your follow-up visits and coordinate recommendations with your physical therapist.

    If youre not sure an activity will be safe on your new knee, dont hesitate to ask your surgeon or physical therapist.

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    Sitting Supported Knee Bends

    While sitting at your bedside or in a chair with your thigh supported, place your foot behind the heel of your operated knee for support. Slowly bend your knee as far as you can. Hold your knee in this position for 5 to 10 seconds.

    Repeat several times until your leg feels fatigued or until you can completely bend your knee.

    Sitting supported knee bend

    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 .

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    Tips For Faster Recovery From Meniscus Repair Surgery

    • Movement According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, your doctor will prescribe rehabilitation exercises after an initial healing period to help restore mobility and strength in your knee. Movement is strongly recommended after surgery to help speed up your recovery, but its important to avoid excessive movement right after surgery to give yourself enough time to heal. Movement can also help reduce muscular atrophy and your chances of getting blood clots.

    Dos And Donts After Knee Surgery

    Recovery from knee replacement surgery

    After knee surgery, youll likely encounter challenges and pain on your path to recovery. While it may seem difficult, remember that what happens after your surgery is just as important as the surgery itself.

    Here are some dos and donts to help you recover:

  • DO take rehabilitation seriouslyFollow your doctors instructions carefully after surgery. This includes performing all exercises prescribed by your physical therapist even if its uncomfortable. While you may experience some pain and frustration, stay positive and stick with it! The end result will be worth the effort. Experts say 50 percent of a positive outcome depends on the patients willingness to work hard in physical therapy and rehab. To help your knee heal properly, take your prescribed medications and get plenty of sleep.
  • DO use ice and heatAccording to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, swelling after knee surgery can last for three to six months. Ice packs are recommended to reduce inflammation and pain. Use three to four times a day for about 10-20 minutes during the first few days. After the initial swelling has gone down, alternate between ice and heat to relax the muscles and ease stiffness. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist if ice doesnt help, or if you want to try longer periods of ice or heat.
  • If you experience problems during recovery, call your doctor immediately for proper healing and to prevent further health issues.

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    Returning To Work & Daily Activities

    Most people can get back to desk work, school or sedentary activity 3 to 5 days after surgery.

    If your right knee was operated on, it may be up to 2 weeks before the knee is strong enough to hit the brakes to drive safely. For heavy work, it may take 4 to 6 weeks before the leg is strong enough to allow for working. You should never drive or operate heavy machinery if you are still taking prescription pain relievers.

    How Long Does The Pain Last After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

    Pain is quite common, most often in the area where you had pain before surgery, in the soft tissues below the knee cap, over the athroscopy wounds and occasionally the whole knee. The pain settles usually within two to three weeks, but may take upwards of six weeks. Swelling in the whole knee up to six weeks.

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    Learn More About Knee Replacement Recovery

    If you are planning to undergo knee replacement surgery or need more information about the recovery process, give us a call at OrthoBethesda today. Our physicians are specially trained, highly skilled and have a friendly bedside manner.

    At OrthoBethesda, we treat joints, bones, hands, feet and the spine while offering the best treatment for arthritis, fractures, tendon, ligament and sports injuries. We treat you just like youre a family member, ensuring that you get the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

    What The Alternatives To Knee Replacement

    5 Tips For Faster Knee Surgery Recovery

    A healthcare provider may recommend knee replacement surgery after other treatments for knee pain dont help anymore. These earlier options may include:

    • Exercise or physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the joint which will provide stability.
    • Medications such as NSAIDs and cortisone shots.
    • Walking aids or supports and bracing.

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    How Can I Learn More About Recovering From A Knee Replacement

    The best way to learn what to expect while recovering from knee replacement surgery is to talk to an expert orthopedist.

    Our team of orthopedic doctors and orthopedic surgeons at TRIA are some of the best in the Midwest. Weve performed thousands of joint replacements, and 97 percent of our patients report being able to walk down stairs without difficulty a year after surgery.

    When youre ready for surgery, our team of expert orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and other care providers will be by your side every step of the way from your first appointment through your recovery.

    About Amy Haynes, PT, DPT

    Amy Haynes, PT, DPT specializes in orthopedic physical therapy with an emphasis on total joint replacement and osteoarthritis. She enjoys helping patients remain independent within their home environments for as long as possible and continue their recreational past-times.

    Protecting Your Knee Implant

    You can extend the life of your knee implant by doing several things. After surgery, use a cane or walker until your balance improves taking a fall can cause serious damage to a new joint. High-impact exercise can also take a toll on knee implants, so most doctors warn against jogging, jumping, and contact sports.

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    Knee Extension Stretches And Exercises

    Expect to perform a variation of these knee extension exercises:

    • Quad Sets
  • Sidelying
  • Prone
  • 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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