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What To Expect 4 Weeks Post Op Total Knee Replacement

Home And Outpatient Physical Therapy

Exercises After Surgery 0-4 Weeks – Total Knee Replacement

If you are sent home, you may choose to have a home care PT visit you. This option is usually for people who can’t travel to an outpatient physical therapy center.

Your goal for home physical therapy is to make sure you can move safely in your home. You will keep working on knee ROM and strength. Walking and stair climbing may also be a part of your home physical therapy.

Scar tissue will form as your incision heals. Your PT may use gentle scar tissue massage and mobilization to help improve the mobility of your incision. This can help the skin and other tissues around your knee move more freely.

If you can travel to a physical therapy center, you may begin outpatient physical therapy. There, you will keep improving your knee ROM. You should be able to bend your knee to a 90 degree angle by the end of week 2.

The Timeline For Knee Replacement Recovery

According to the American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeons , it may be as long as 12 weeks before you can resume most of your normal activities, and 6-12 months before the joint is strong and resilient. AAKHS breaks down the timeline of knee replacement recovery as follows:

Weeks 1- 3: Focus on building up to standing or walking for 10 minutes or longer, switching from crutches to a cane, and building strength with prescribed exercises.

Weeks 4-6: Return to daily activities, including driving and household chores, while still performing physical therapy and strengthening exercises as directed.

Weeks 7-12: Begin returning to low-impact physical activities, including swimming and cycling, and continuing physical therapy to regain full range of motion in the joint.

After three months, your activities and further treatment should be discussed with your surgeon and physical therapist. Depending on how well you have healed and progressed with recovery, you may be cleared to return to more strenuous activity, or require additional therapy.

Surgery Recovery And Beyond

Flash forward to January 31, 2017surgery day. In hospital, everything went according to plan. Allan was out of bed the day after surgery and the following day was able to climb stairs and work through physical therapy. He had surgery on Tuesday and was discharged straight home on Thursdayin just over 48 hours. Even Allan was surprised at how seamless everything went, My hospital experience went way better than imaginable. I was imagining worse things. I was worried about the spinal injection, but again, it wasnt as bad as anticipated.

Tuesday morning I went in and by Thursday afternoon, I was out. I was surprised by the speed. I put that down largely to the daily PeerWell exercises.

But how has recovery been since Allan went home? He shares the mantra that he seems to abide by when overcoming lifes obstacles, no gain without pain. He puts it honestly, It was a bit grueling. Since Ive been home, I wasnt feeling too goodsickly because of pain medication. Ive been restless because I wasnt sleeping well. But over the last day or so , I am feeling like my old self.

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Can You Overdo It After Knee Surgery

As with any surgery, it is possible to overdo it after knee replacement surgery. For this reason, closely adhering to your doctors aftercare instructions for knee replacement surgery is essential. If you follow their instructions, you should have no worries about overdoing it after knee replacement surgery.

Four To Six Weeks After Surgery

Physical Therapy Post Knee Replacement

After about a month, your knee strength will improve. Plus, youll feel more comfortable as your knee pain and swelling decreases.

Depending on the type of knee replacement you had and how your recovery has been going, you may rely less or not at all on certain assistive devices.

During this phase of physical therapy, your physical therapist might introduce more low-impact activities like swimming, cycling or longer walks. The goal will be to improve your endurance so youre able to get back to typical daily activities.

At this phase, you will also work toward bending your knee to 120 degrees, begin climbing stairs and be able to return to light household activities and chores.

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What Is Considered A Functional Rom

In order to complete your normal activities of daily living with ease, your knee has to be able to move freely. After a total knee replacement, at the very least 100-110° of knee flexion is needed to perform basic ADLs such as sitting, walking, and stair climbing. However, some activities may require even more knee flexion for optimal performance and comfort.

  • Walk on level surfaces: 60-75°
  • Go up and down stairs: 80-90°
  • Sit and stand from a regular chair: 90-95°
  • Sit and stand from a low chair: 90-115°
  • Squat: 110-165°
  • Sit in a bathtub: 135°

One Week After Surgery

Since most patients are discharged on the day of surgery, you can expect to be at home one week after surgery. Most likely, you are capable of walking after knee replacement with a walker or cane.

When considering pain among what to expect after knee replacement surgery, you may experience moderate pain to possible severe pain when performing knee range-of-motion exercises.

You would be applying cold therapy to your knee either with ice or some sort of ice delivery device. You would be compressing the knee at the surgical site with gentle compression, either with a bandage or compression-type stocking.

One surprising what to expect after knee replacement surgery fact is that you should be able to negotiate the stairs in your home just one week after surgery. You should also be able to get in and out of bed independently and walk outdoors.

One caveat: It will take longer to do your normal activities. What to expect after knee replacement surgery can include developing more patience when you:

  • Move From a Seated or Lying Position to a Standing Position


Patients will develop swelling in the leg, and there may be some bruising or redness around the incision area one week after surgery.

These are normal findings, Dr. Lyon assures. There might be slight drainage from the incision, but resolving.

Pain and Disrupted Sleep

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Total Knee Replacement Recovery And Rehabilitation

When you have total knee replacement surgery, recovery and rehabilitation is a crucial stage. In this stage, youll get back on your feet and return to an active lifestyle.

Each surgeon may have different protocols, and each persons recovery is unique. This article outlines a general recovery timeline.

The 12 weeks following surgery are very important for recovery and rehab. Committing to a plan and encouraging yourself to do as much as possible each day will help you heal faster from surgery and improve your chances of long-term success.

Read on to learn what to expect during the 12 weeks after surgery and how to set goals for your healing.

Rehabilitation begins right after you wake up from surgery.

Within 24 hours after surgery, a physical therapist will help you to stand up and walk using an assistive device. Assistive devices include walkers, crutches, and canes.

A nurse or occupational therapist will help you with tasks such as changing the bandage, dressing, bathing, and using the toilet.

The PT will show you how to get in and out of bed and how to move around using an assistive device. They may ask you to sit at the side of the bed, walk a few steps, and transfer yourself to a bedside commode.

How Much Walking After Knee Replacement

What to expect after total knee replacement | Ohio State Medical Center

Patients who have had a knee replacement can expect to walk without pain and with a full range of motion within a few weeks after surgery. In most cases, patients are able to walk independently within a month. However, it is important to follow your surgeons instructions and attend physical therapy sessions to ensure a successful recovery.

Its normal to want to get back on your feet as soon as possible after a serious injury. If you strain your knee too much after surgery, it may become swollen and painful. The majority of patients are discharged from the hospital within a day or two of surgery. For patients to fully recover from knee replacement surgery, it usually takes six months to one year. Walking throughout the day will allow you to regain your independence. If you have a limp, wear a heel-toe pattern to keep it from walking. High-impact sports are possible to participate in after knee replacement.

Despite this, doctors frequently discourage patients from doing so, even after the knee has healed fully. As an orthopedic surgeon, your daily exercise schedule should consist of at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking or stretching. A typical patient can walk without assistance from an assistive device such as crutches or a walker in as little as six weeks. Physical therapy is continued after you have completed this treatment to aid the growth of your knee and the surrounding muscles.

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Perform Recommended Exercises To Regain Range Of Motion

You want to regain the arc of movement of the knee as recommended by the physician or therapist.

The most successful patients are generally those that understand that they do the exercises and the therapists are their coaches, cheerleaders, and monitors for those exercises, Dr. Lyon says. Once the patients understand that, they will do well.

Life After Knee Surgery

As a Physical Therapist, Ive seen firsthand the significant improvements in people following a knee replacement. However, there is no surgeon or PT out there who can 100% guarantee success. There certainly are risks following a surgery and this should be discussed with your doctor. But just as important, you should discuss the expected outcomes with your physician.

Returning to activities such as walking, golf, bowling, swimming, light dancing, and even light tennis is usually encouraged. However, ask your doctor about suggested timeframes for these activities.

Knee replacements have come a long way in the past 20 years and the technology continues to improve. Set your expectations appropriately with your physician and therapist. Heres to hoping your life after knee surgery is full of enjoyment and activity!

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Knee Replacement Recovery Phase : Hospital Stay And Discharge

A typical hospital stay after a knee arthroplasty ranges anywhere from 1-3 days. Some patients even leave the same day, which depends on the type of procedure that is performed.

The reason knee replacement surgeries are so successful is because of their relatively low risk of complications. A majority of your hospital stay will include surgeons and hospital staff working hard to prevent complications such as infection, blood clots, pain, hardware issues, and neurovascular injuries.

While your healthcare team continues to monitor and prevent complications, patients can expect to start rehabilitation soon after the surgery. Within 24 hours, patients will work with a physical therapist to begin standing and walking again. Lack of confidence is very common during this time, so crutches and walkers help provide that extra support many patients require.

Another standard device used amongst the knee replacement population is a continuous passive motion machine. This machine helps provide your knee with a constant motion to prevent scar tissue buildup and stiffness from being immobile. You can expect your surgeon or physical therapist to help educate you about this device and how to use it at home.

Permanent Restrictions After Knee Replacement

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Permanent restrictions after knee replacement surgery may include no kneeling, no running, and/or no high-impact activities. These restrictions are in place to protect your new knee joint and ensure a successful outcome from your surgery.

A Michigan workers comp lawyer discusses permanent restrictions following knee replacement. It is not easy to transition to a sedentary or light-duty job. They are no longer responsible for paying back wages that have been lost when they have a new position. A reasonable employment definition entails work that poses no clear or discernible threat to health or safety while performing in an employees capacity. Keep an eye out for employers who violate permanent knee replacement restrictions. When an employee needs to be retrained to find a new job, he or she can pursue a career in rehabilitation. Other insurance companies use phantom wages in addition to the weekly comp rate cut. No one from Michigan Workers Compensation Lawyers ever charges a fee to evaluate a potential case.

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Looking After Your New Knee

  • continue to take any prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatories to help manage any pain and swelling
  • use your walking aids but aim to gradually decrease the amount you rely on them as your leg feels stronger
  • keep up your exercises to help prevent stiffness, but do not force your knee
  • do not sit with your legs crossed for the first 6 weeks after your operation
  • do not put a pillow underneath your knee when sleeping as this can result in a permanently bent knee
  • avoid twisting at your knee
  • wear supportive shoes outdoors
  • do not kneel on your operated knee until your surgeon says you can
  • raise your leg when sitting and apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel for 20 minutes every 3 or 4 hours to reduce any swelling

Page last reviewed: 02 August 2019 Next review due: 02 August 2022

Recommended Exercises After Knee Replacement Surgery

After your knee replacement, its important to stick with the recommended physical therapy plan and continue challenging yourself without overexerting your healing knee. Following an exercise regime can also reduce swelling, increase your range of motion and strengthen your body. Knee replacement exercise recovery regimens often include stretching, pumping your muscles, bending your knees and working your quad.

One of the most highly recommended exercises is walking. Walking throughout your day will help you regain independence. Once you leave the hospital, try walking around your home using crutches, a walker or a cane as prescribed by your doctor or therapist. Use a heel-toe pattern to keep you from walking with a limp. Over time, you can increase your distance and level of effort until you can walk without any discomfort or limitations.

Some other beneficial exercises to try after knee replacement include:

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Knee Replacement Recovery Phase : Weeks 1

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:

  • Stationary bike with little to no resistance
  • Hamstring Curls

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

How Long Can You Walk After Knee Replacement

Exercises 2 Months After Surgery – Total Knee Replacement

The total time it takes to walk and stand for more than 10 minutes after a knee replacement is 10 weeks. The best way to go is to use a cane rather than crutches. Work, driving, travel, and household tasks are all on the agenda in Weeks 4 and 6. 5 more rows will be added in Weeks 7 and 8.

How To Recover After A Knee Replacement

The typical hospital stay is one to three days. If you have recently completed your treatment, you may be referred for a residential rehabilitation facility. You will spend the majority of your time there receiving physical therapy six days per week for two weeks. There is one advantage of having a rehab clinic: you will be given expert assistance and will be able to do your exercises on a daily basis. Everything heals over time, the knee begins to recover, and all normal activities are resumed after a year. It makes no difference how long youre doing PT for even if you only do it six days a week for the next few weeks, it makes no difference. If you have any problems, you should consult your doctor or therapist.

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Preparing Your Home For Knee Replacement Recovery

At IBJI, your care team will support you with a packet of information that details what youll need at home for a successful recovery.

Its vital to secure these itemsalso known as durable medical equipmentahead of your surgery to avoid anxiety and remove the burden on family members to scramble post-surgery.

What Steps Can I Take To Improve My Knee Rom Post Surgery

The best way to ensure you have a holistic recovery program after a total knee replacement that will help you regain full ROM and strength is to regularly check in with a physical therapist and assess your progress. We recommend you make sure your physical therapist has experience with musculoskeletal disorders and post-op treatment plans. â

Donât have a physical therapist that has experience in musculoskeletal disorders or post-op treatments? Download our OneStep Digital Physical Therapy app to be connected directly with a skilled licensed physical therapist who will build a customized recovery program based on your needs and goals – walking you through your entire rehabilitation process, even if you have not yet had surgery!

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