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How Long Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement

What To Expect After Discharge

How long is a patient in physical therapy after knee surgery?

Within 10 days following your discharge, you should be able to:

  • Bend your knee 90 degrees and extend your leg fully
  • Stand independently or with little help
  • Rely less on assistive devices
  • Bathe, dress and use the toilet on your own
  • Climb up or down a flight of stairs

At the two to three-week mark, your knee may be strong enough to carry more weight. Most people are either using a cane or nothing at all by this point.

Three months after surgery, the majority of patients are 90% recovered. After six months, most patients feel 100% recovered.

Tips To Speed Your Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery

Nearly half of American adults will develop knee arthritis at some point during their lives. Pain, stiffness, and limited mobility are often the result of knee arthritis. Knee replacement surgery can relieve pain and restore function when your knee is severely damaged by arthritis or injury. The average recovery time from knee replacement surgery is approximately six months, but it can take roughly 12 months to fully return to physically demanding activities. Though the recovery process can be long, there are steps you can take to heal well and enhance your recovery speed.

Managing Activities Of Daily Living Following Your Knee Replacement

Chair Transfers: Avoid low recliners and soft couches until otherwise told by Dr. Hickman. Stiff-backed chairs with armrests are ideal to sit in. If the seat is low, you may place 1 or 2 pillows in the chair to elevate the seat and facilitate transfers.

  • Back up to the chair until you feel both legs touching the chair.
  • Slide your operated leg out in front of you as you reach back with one hand for an armrest.
  • Lower yourself slowly, keeping your operated leg straight out. Once seated, bend your knee comfortably, or keep it straight.
  • When getting up, scoot your operated leg out in front of you until you can stand on it comfortably.
  • Push up using the armrests, keeping your operated leg out in front of you.

Car Transfers: The front seat is preferable because it generally has more leg room, can be adjusted for comfort, and can allow the rider to more easily wear a seat belt.

  • Make sure the seat is as far back as possible. Back up to the car with your walker or crutches. Put your operated leg out in front of you.
  • Lower yourself slowly to the seat. You may roll the window down and use the car door frame, along with the headrest, to support yourself as you sit.
  • Scoot back into the seat, then swing your legs into the car. If the seat is low, recline the back slightly or put a pillow on the seat to sit on.
  • To get in the back seat in a semi-reclining position. You will need to use your arms and non-operative leg to scoot yourself back farther onto the seat.

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Learn What To Expect And How To Prepare From The Doctors Who Perform This Operation Every Day And The Patients Who Have Been Through Knee Surgery Successfully

If your knee arthritis has gotten so bad that your medication and physical therapy are no longer enough to keep the pain at bay or prevent mobility issues, it is a good time to consider knee replacement surgery. The procedure has come a long way from the extended hospital stays, bed rest, and narcotics-based pain relief of the past.

Fifteen to 20 years ago we told patients to wait until they could no longer take the pain of osteoarthritis to consider surgery, but thats not the case anymore, says P. Maxwell Courtney, MD, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. With todays advances, minimally invasive techniques, and accelerated rehab and recovery protocols, we now tell patients if the pain is limiting your daily activities and youve exhausted conservative options like injections and physical therapy its time to consider surgery.

That was certainly the case for Sharon Barnes, a teacher from Maine whose pain got so bad she couldnt sleep. My doctor said I had osteoarthritis in both knees it was literally bone on bone, she remembers. We did hyaluronic acid injections, and that got me about a year then didnt work as well. Thats when we started discussing surgery.

Physical Therapy After Partial Knee Replacement Surgery

How Long Does It Take To Recover From After Knee ...

If you have knee pain due to osteoarthritis , you may benefit from physical therapy to decrease your pain, improve your knee range of motion and strength, and improve your overall function. But what if conservative measures like PT and exercise aren’t enough to help you return to your full function?

If you continue with knee pain and decreased function, a total knee replacement operation may be necessary to help restore your knee function. Sometimes only one part of your knee is damaged by osteoarthritis, and replacing the entire joint is not necessary. If that is the case, your surgeon may elect to have you undergo a partial knee replacement surgery.

Partial knee replacement surgery, also known as semi-knee replacement or unicompartmental knee replacement, is usually performed when only one side of your knee joint is damaged by OA.

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Knee Manipulation Procedure What To Expect

If you have recently undergone a knee replacement surgery and your regular postoperative physical therapy exercises do not seem to increase your range of motion, your doctor might recommend you knee manipulation surgery.

Knee manipulation is performed under general or epidural anesthesia. Prior to joint manipulation and ice pack is applied to the affected knee to prepare the tissues for the procedure for approximately 5 minutes. After that your doctor will perform the actual knee manipulation by forcing your knee to bend or flex and break up the scar tissue around the joint preventing the proper movement.

The actual knee manipulation takes very little time, but the recovery, on the other hand, includes grueling aggressive and rather painful physical therapy to increase flexibility and range of motion in your knee. Its absolutely crucial for you to stick to the knee exercise regimen to gain at least 110 degree knee bend to perform your daily activities like walking, doing steps and getting up from a sitting position.

Knee manipulation might help restore the flexibility of your knee joints if you commit to stringent physical therapy exercise program and follow all your doctors orders.

You may also consider additionally to try alternative treatment such as visceral manipulation procedure.

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Exercises To Increase Your Rom

If you worked at a PreHab program before joint replacement surgery, youll already be leaps and bounds ahead for achieving optimal range of motion. If youre reading this before your joint replacement surgery, great! In the weeks leading up to surgery, we strongly encourage you to start a daily PreHab program of exercises and everyday movements that will help build strength and movement in your joint.

If youre newly into recovery, you will likely be setup with a physical therapist or occupational therapist. Taking advantage of as many sessions as possible is key. However, strictly relying on in-class sessions to optimize your ROM isnt enough. Its absolutely, positively imperative that you supplement classes with an at-home guided ReHab program.

A great at-home program will include early exercises that will help get you mobile after surgery, functional exercises that will help bring back regular movements, advanced exercises that aim to build strength and push you further, and later stage maintenance exercises after the 12+ week mark where you engage in low-impact exercises to keep fit and keep moving.

Havent had surgery yet? Get matched to a top surgeon who has the tools to improve your ROM before surgery. The better your movement before surgery, the easier it will be to gain ROM in recovery.

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Physical Therapy After Knee Meniscus Surgery

Surgical treatments for knee meniscus problems may include a meniscectomy, which is the partial or complete removal of the meniscus or a repair of the torn area.

The extent of physical therapy after knee meniscus surgery will depend on the specific surgical procedure that was performed.

The goal of physical therapy is to:

  • Gradually return your knee to full weight-bearing and
  • Restore your full range of motion

Here Are Some Of The Reasons You Might Need Knee Surgery:

How long after knee replacement do you start physical therapy?
  • Stiffness in the joint and pain makes it difficult to walk, stand up, or climb stairs
  • You often have swelling in the knee area
  • Chronic pain bothers you when resting
  • The pain is disrupting your sleep
  • The knee has defects or is bowed
  • Medication and physical therapy havent been effective in managing the pain

If you can relate to any of these symptoms, then its time to talk to a sports medicine doctor about your treatment options.

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My Predicament: How Long I Waited Before Getting Knee Replacement

I waited over 15 years after my first orthopedic surgeon told me I was a candidate for TKR. He told me that it was up to me and that when the pain became too much for me to handle that I should come back and make an appointment for TKR.

I had had two previous meniscus surgeries in my 20s. There had always been some pain after those surgeries.

The pain increased slowly over a period of 40 years and I just lived with the pain. By my early 60s the pain was severe, I had developed a limp and my leg had begun to bow.

I was still fearful of the procedure and wanted to put it off as long as possible. After many non-invasive procedures and after two visits to two different orthopedic surgeons who both wondered how I was even walking, I made my decision to go forward with the surgery.

After doing the surgery the doctor told me that the wear was extensive and he was surprised I was able to wait as long as I had.

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How To Sleep After Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery is major surgery, and a person needs to be sure about a lot of things after it. Along with aftercare and medication, the sleeping position creates a big difference. An individual needs to be sure about how to sleep after the knee replacement surgery so that the artificial joint will not have any effect. Here we are discussing the tips to sleep after the knee replacement surgery so that there will be no problem lately!

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Who Performs Knee Replacement Surgery

If you need knee replacement surgery, then an orthopedic surgeon is the type of doctor you must see. Here at Orthopedic Associates, we offer a range of doctors, physical therapists, and sports medicine specialists to help you manage the pain and recover as effectively as possible.

Our team offers three knee replacement surgeries:

  • Total Knee Replacement Surgery
  • Partial Knee Replacement Surgery
  • Revision Knee Replacement Surgery

Additionally, we have other joint replacement procedures for different types of sports medicine injuries and other orthopedic concerns:

  • Reverse Shoulder Joint Replacement Surgery
  • Shoulder Joint Replacement Surgery
  • Direct Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery
  • Partial Hip Replacement Surgery

Why Is Physical Therapy Important After Knee Replacement Surgery

5 Tips to Speed Your Recovery After Knee Replacement ...

Regaining your range of motion and strength after total knee replacement surgery is critical to regaining your ability to do the things that are important to you. You will start the following exercise program soon after your surgery. Your physical therapist will help you with the exercises initially and you will be expected to continue the exercises as instructed. As you recover, some exercises will be discontinued and others may be added. Please let your therapist or surgeon know if you are having difficulty with your exercises.

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What Happens If You Dont Do Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery

If you hope to have a complete recovery, physical therapy after knee surgery is a must.

Neglecting physical therapy after knee surgery may result in complications including:

  • Atrophy of the supporting muscles
  • A slowing of the healing process due to the decreased blood flow that may result from a lack of movement
  • Excessive strain on the knee from improper or premature movements

Stair Climbing And Descending

The ability to go up and down stairs requires both strength and flexibility. At first, you will need a handrail for support and will be able to go only one step at a time. Always lead up the stairs with your good knee and down the stairs with your operated knee. Remember, up with the good and down with the bad. You may want to have someone help you until you have regained most of your strength and mobility.

Stair climbing is an excellent strengthening and endurance activity. Do not try to climb steps higher than the standard height and always use a handrail for balance. As you become stronger and more mobile, you can begin to climb stairs foot over foot.

Stair climbing and descending using a crutch

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Reduce How Long Your Physical Therapy After A Knee Replacement Takes At Rehab Access

Seeking to minimize how long physical therapy after a knee replacement takes? Our Rehab Access Physical Therapy team is ready and willing to help you meet this goal. Our physical therapists can work with you to address pain and prepare your knee for surgery. We can then build you a personalized post-surgical rehab plan thats intended to help you recover as rapidly as possible.

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help you before and after your knee surgery or to schedule an initial appointment to start working with us.

Knee Replacement Recovery Phase : Weeks 1

Knee Replacement Physical Therapy Exercises After Surgery

The first week after undergoing knee arthroplasty, patients can expect to be back in the comfort of their own homes. One of the first and most important things to know during this period is your follow-up appointment with your surgeon. Typically the follow-up is scheduled about two weeks after the knee replacement and is something every patient should markdown as must-attend.

Phase 2 of knee replacement rehabilitation also includes patients becoming more active with therapy. Some patients start treatment at home, while others can attend an outpatient clinic. One is not necessarily better than the other it just depends on a persons health status.

Some goals and priorities to be aware of include:

  • Reduce pain and stiffness
  • Being able to transfer from lying to sitting to standing safely with the help of assistive devices
  • Being able to heel strike while ambulating
  • Increase knee range of motion
  • Ability to extend leg without lag
  • Being consistent with the home exercise program provided
  • Understanding the pain scale and the difference between hurt and harm.

Your physical therapist will design a rehab program to help you reach these goals without harming the new knee hardware or incision. Examples of exercises to expect for the weeks 1-3 after your surgery include:

  • Heel Slides
  • Stationary bike with little to no resistance
  • Hamstring Curls

Note: These therapeutic modalities can and often are used throughout all phases of knee rehabilitation.

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How Long Does The Pain Last After A Knee Replacement

Over 90% of patients who have knee replacement surgery experience a significant improvement in their pain and mobility. But remember that this is a major surgery, which means that it takes time to recover after going under the knife.

It often takes three months to return to normal activities and six months to 1 year before your knee is strong and resilient.

The Role Of Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement Surgery

Our therapists at North Boulder Physical Therapy know that understanding the role of physical therapy after knee replacement surgery is important to your recovery. Physical therapy helps you heal faster.

An article in Healthline lays out the timeline for the rehabilitation process after knee replacement surgery that can help you focus on getting back into an active life. Heres the step-by-step description of what you can expect during the 12 weeks of recovery and rehab after your orthopedic surgery. It also sets out the goals for your healing.

Day 1

Rehabilitation begins as soon as your surgery is over. Your doctor will want you to begin standing and walking using an assistive device with the help of a physical therapist within the first 24 hours. The sooner you get up and use your new artificial knee the better.

Every day the physical therapist will guide you through exercises with the goal of strengthening your muscles. The therapist will also show you how to get in and out of your bed and move around with the aid of an assistive device, like a walker, crutches or a cane.

They may also set you up with a continuous passive motion machine to use at home and some people even leave the operating room with their leg already in a CPM machine. The purpose of the CPM is to keeps your knee in motion to help prevent the buildup of scar tissue and the stiffness that results from immobility.

Day 2


At discharge, you should be able to:

Your goals at Discharge are to:

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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.


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