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HomeSurgeryHow Long Is The Recovery Time For Knee Replacement Surgery

How Long Is The Recovery Time For Knee Replacement Surgery

Recovery From Knee Replacement

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

Following your operation youll be able to go home when your pain is under control, you can get about safely, and any care you may need has been arranged.

Your wound is likely to take 10-14 days to heal. It may take up to 6 weeks to recover from the operation. It can take up to 12 months before you are back to normal activities.

How Long Does A Partial Knee Replacement Last

Just as a total knee replacement can wear out over time, partial knee replacements can also wear out. The longevity of a partial knee replacement has always been considered to be inferior to a full knee replacement. The reason for this is the result of multiple issues.

First, people who have partial knee replacements often expect more of their knee, and place more stress on the knee joint through increased activity. Second, partial knee replacements do not allow for correction of alignment deformities of the knee, and may wear out as a result of misalignment. Lastly, the rest of the knee joint that was not replaced can wear out over time, and the partial knee replacement may eventually not control the arthritis symptoms.

Partial knee replacements typically will last a decade or two. Some studies have shown good results with these implants lasting well into the second decade with the majority of implanted partial knee replacements still functioning well.

Some people choose to have a partial knee replacement change to a full knee replacement. Recent studies have shown reasonably good results when people require a partial knee replacement converted to a full knee replacement.

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.

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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.

Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Knee

Tips on How To Prepare For Knee Surgery

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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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 cartilageâ the cushion between the knee and the bone joints â 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.

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The Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery Timeline

Lajam tells her patients that for the first two weeks they wont like her very much, then they start getting motion back, getting around and seeing the pain dissipate. The first two weeks is the toughest part, then it starts getting better, she said. Severe pain after knee replacement surgery can be managed with medication.

Physical therapy can help you recover after knee replacement surgery. It improves your range of motion, reduces swelling and helps you learn to walk again.

Bending ones knee on ones own is difficult its helpful to have someone help you, Lajam said. She said her patients typically have in-home physical therapy a couple of times a week, with instructions on exercises after knee replacement surgery to do on their own. And after the first few weeks, most people switch to outpatient physical therapy.

Lajam says that your body tends to recover around the three-month mark. But your knee will continue to heal for more than a year after surgery.

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Knee Replacement Recovery Phase : Weeks 7

When recovering from knee arthroplasty, the fourth phase is when most patients see the most rapid improvement to mobility and range of motion. It is an exciting time where the hard work of attending physical 2-3 times a week and staying compliant with home exercise programs starts to pay off.

Some common goals and milestones during this phase of rehab include:

  • No extensor lag
  • Normal gait without the use of an assistive device
  • Engaging in everyday activities such as driving, housekeeping, and shopping
  • Ability to ascend and descend 1-2 flight of stairs with a reciprocal gait

Your physical therapist will continue to progress your rehab and increase difficulty in the 7-12 weeks following surgery. Patients can expect exercises such as:

  • Toe and heel raises while standing
  • Single leg balances
  • Step-ups in multiple directions
  • Continued lower extremity strengthening

Even if you do not see the best results, it is crucial to stay the course. Dont give up, ask questions, and continue to follow the guidance of your healthcare team.

Get Moving Again With This 12

How long is knee replacement recovery?

If you just joined the new-knee club, welcome! Youre part of an increasingly popular group here in the United States, with more than 600,000 new members coming aboard every year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

First performed in 1968, knee replacement surgery has come a very long way in the past five decades in terms of surgical technique. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons calls it one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. But people still get nervous about what will be involved when it comes to recovery.

There continues to be a perception that youll be out of commission for weeks, if not months, says Carol Mack, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., a physical therapist in Cleveland. In fact, because you need to get moving right away, you may find youre more active sooner than you thought, especially compared to when your knee was affected by pain and inflammation.

The majority of people who get knee replacements are over 65, she adds, and the importance of activity for recovery can be a true booster for strength and balance.

Heres what you can expect once youre out of surgery and the key lifestyle changes to make so you bounce back stronger.

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Different Types Of Surgery

There are 5 main types of knee replacement surgery:

  • Total knee replacement. This is the most common form. Your surgeon replaces the surfaces of the thigh bone and shin bone that connects to the knee.
  • Partial knee replacement. If arthritis affects only one side of your knee, this surgery may be a possibility. However, itâs only right for you if you have strong knee ligaments and the rest of the cartilage in the knee is normal. Partial knee replacement can be performed through a smaller cut than is needed for total knee replacement.
  • Patellofemoral replacement. This replaces only the under-surface of the kneecap and the groove the kneecap sits in. This can be very effective for people with chronic kneecap arthritis.
  • Complex knee replacement. This procedure may be needed if you have very severe arthritis or if youâve already had two or three knee replacement surgeries.
  • Cartilage restoration: Sometimes when the knee only has an isolated area of injury or wear this area can be replaced with a living cartilage graft or cells which grow into cartilage.

Provide Motivation For Rehab And Exercises

Adhering to a rehab plan is critical. For many people, this means walking for 30 minutes two or three times per day. Doctors may also recommend exercising for an extra 20 to 30 minutes two or three times per day.

The person may find that walking or exercising is painful. This is normal. If they express a desire to discontinue with their rehabilitation plan, remind them that what theyre feeling is common and that rehab will help speed up their recovery.

Helping them chart their efforts, results, and progress may help keep them motivated. Exercising and walking with them may also help keep them on track.

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Is Bka Surgery Right For Me

While those suffering from severe pain or a traumatic injury in their lower leg may opt for below knee amputation surgery, there are some who dont qualify or face challenges for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Inadequate blood flow Good blood flow contributes significantly to the bodys natural healing processes. In order to heal, tissue and bone need proper nutrients and oxygen, which are delivered via the bloodstream. If you have a history of poor circulation, have a proper evaluation before any surgery.
  • Spreading infection or cancer If you are contemplating below knee amputation because of infection or tumors, its important to know the extent of the issue. Infections or tumors found above the knee may require a more extensive amputation.
  • Muscle loss or scar tissue Muscle loss or scar tissue can inhibit the bodys ability to heal. Below knee amputees must have sufficient skin and muscle for the wound to heal properly and to use a prosthetic.
  • Inadequate knee function Limited knee function or significant knee pain may inhibit your ability to use a prosthetic following BKA surgery.

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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    What Are The Risks Of Shoulder Replacement Surgery

    Like any surgery, there are some risks associated with shoulder replacement surgery as well. However, the risk of a complication will vary from person to person, so these may not apply to everyone undergoing shoulder replacement surgery.

    One of the other major concerns for shoulder replacement surgery is the risk of infection. The shoulder joint contains many blood vessels which can increase your chance of getting an infection if proper precautions are not taken during and after the surgery. Infections that occur in shoulder replacement surgeries vary from mild skin infections to damaging symptoms like septicemia . So, to reduce your risk of developing any type of severe infection, make sure you practice good hygiene by washing yourself regularly with soap and water while also paying close attention when shaving around the surgical site before going into surgery.

    Moreover, some surgeons may use cement when installing the artificial shoulder through keyhole techniques . In contrast, others inject bone marrow into the shoulder socket during the installation of the implant. Cement can irritate around where it attaches to tendons and ligaments near surrounding areas like muscles on shoulders, causing pain. So, make sure you discuss all potential risks and benefits with your surgeon before your surgery.

    Keep The Knee Straight

    While it may not be incredibly comfortable, itâs important that you keep your knee joint completely straight immediately after your surgery. You should minimize the amount of time youâre 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. Itâs important that you give the joint ample time to heal your doctor will let you know when itâs safe to begin bending and moving the joint.

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    How Long Will Shoulder Replacement Last

    Shoulder replacements usually last for about 15 years on average. However, some last longer, and others do not last as long for many reasons, such as the amount of wear and tear over time or any type of infection after the surgery.

    To avoid having your new joint become damaged with age or from injury, you should always take good care of yourself after going through shoulder replacement by avoiding strenuous activities and taking part in light shoulder exercises.

    Walking Around After A Knee Replacement

    What is knee replacement surgery?

    To help make your recovery go as smoothly as possible, we need to start getting you active and mobile as soon as youre able. We understand you may be nervous about getting up for the first time, but well be there to help you whenever youre ready. Getting mobile is all about confidence, which is why we help you to progress through a range of walking aids until youre independent.

    • Day of surgery: A physiotherapist will give you some exercises to do while youre in bed to help your new knee joint move and strengthen the muscles around it. Then theyll help you to get out of bed and start taking your first steps with a frame this is to prevent stiffness and maintain a healthy circulation.
    • Day after surgery: Youll have an X-ray to check the position of your new knee, as well as some routine blood tests. If you havent started walking around yet, the physiotherapist will help you with this otherwise youll continue practicing to walk using a frame with your nurse until you can do so on your own.
    • Second and third day after surgery: An occupational therapist will give you some tips for washing, dressing and getting on and off the bed, chair and toilet. The physiotherapist will help you transfer to crutches or a walking stick, before giving you some more exercises to increase your movement.

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    Does Robotic Surgery Mean Faster Recovery

    A robotic-assisted arm makes the orthopedic surgeons job easier. Well, what about the patients? Is the recovery time faster? Of course, when compared to open surgery, the recovery time is much quicker. Open surgery requires a large incision which needs added time to heal and increases the chances of infections. Robotic surgery means minor incisions, which decreases recovery time. The thing is, minimally invasive surgery, or MIS, without robotics promises the same benefits. Robotic surgery even beats this recovery time. The precision means less pain, blood loss, and faster healing. Recovery can take as little as 2-4 weeks compared to the 8-12 weeks with MIS.


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