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What To Expect After Knee Surgery

When Can A Knee Replacement Patient Leave The Hospital

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

Most knee replacement patients will be discharged once pain is under control and they are able to:

  • Get in and out of bed and walk short distances with the aid of a walker or crutches
  • Get into and out of bed and get up and down stairs
  • Bend the knee 90 degrees
  • Follow precautions to avoid injuring the new knee

Discharge criteria can vary depending on the patient and the hospitals policy. For example, some hospitals may require the patient to only bend the knee 80 degrees.

Some patients meet the criteria for discharge after just one or two days. People who have two knees replaced at the same time, certain pre-existing medical conditions, uncontrolled pain, or general weakness may be kept in the hospital longer.

See Facts and Considerations for Total Knee Replacement

Discharge to a rehabilitation facilityPatients who live in multi-level homes, who do not have live-in caregivers, or who face other rehabilitation challenges may be discharged to a short-term care facility that provides health care and physical and occupational therapy. These stays may be covered by insurance, depending on the policy and patient circumstances.

When Is It Time For Knee Surgery

Knee surgery is often advised when chronic pain becomes unbearable, or severe stiffness and inflexibility make movement painful and strenuous. A full knee replacement surgery is generally used as a measure of last resort, when other treatment options like corticosteroid injections to relieve pain and inflammation, or pain-relief medications, have proven unsuccessful.

Improved Strength & Mobility

You should have enough strength and range of motion to climb stairs without excessive strain or pain. Walks outside without any assistive device are typical at this stage as well. Strength and mobility exercises may be ramped up to work towards a full range of motion, and improved balance and stability.

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What To Expect After Knee Surgery

Data from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that 90% of people who have knee replacement experience significant pain reduction. Therefore, its safe to say that you may live a more active, efficient and more comfortable life after going through knee surgery.

If your doctor recommends knee surgery or youre waiting to have your procedure, this article can help manage your expectations and give you more information about taking care of your new knee.

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

Knee surgery rehabilitation: Timeline and what to expect
  • 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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Knee Replacement Recovery Time Guide

Here we will look at total knee replacement recovery time, including what happens at what stage post-op and how long it typically takes to get back to your usual activity.

If are having or have had only one side of your knee replaced, visit the partial knee replacement recovery time section instead to found out how it will be for you.

Knee replacement recovery time will vary from person to person, and may be affected by:

  • Severity of arthritis
  • Compliance with exercises pre and post-op

Let’s have a look at a typical knee replacement recovery time process.

Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery: What To Expect

After knee replacement surgery, youll need to stay in the hospital for a few days. During this time, youll be given pain medication to help manage any discomfort. Youll also be encouraged to start moving around as soon as possible to help prevent blood clots.

Once youre released from the hospital, youll need to continue your recovery at home. This will usually involve a lot of rest and physical therapy. Most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few months. However, it may take up to a year to fully recover from surgery.

Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure that can have a significant impact on your life. However, with proper care and rehabilitation, most people are able to recover fully and enjoy a good quality of life.

If you have any questions or concerns about knee replacement surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of the procedure and make sure that its the right choice for you.

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Will I Need To Use Crutches Or Other Assistive Devices After Knee Replacement Surgery

Yes. And depending on the type of surgery youve had , youll probably need to use an assistive device for at least a few weeks during recovery.

Assistive devices make certain activities like walking, using the restroom and dressing easier to do. They also help keep you safe.

The types of assistive devices youll need after knee replacement surgery depend on your condition, but common devices include:

  • Walking aids like crutches, canes or walkers
  • Shoehorns and sock aids
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Tub chair

The good news is some assistive devices may be covered by your insurance, so be sure to check with your insurance provider before you go in for surgery.

Knee Replacement Recovery: What To Expect After Knee Surgery

What to expect during knee replacement surgery hospitalization | Ohio State Medical Center


August 10, 2021 | Blog

If youre considering knee replacement, you may be wondering what happens after surgery, during your knee replacement recovery period. Following your recovery plan and your doctors orders will make a big impact on the outcome of your surgery.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect during the surgery recovery process and what you can do to help your body heal.

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Before You Leave The Hospital

  • Talk with your surgeon about any precautions you may have after surgery.
  • Make sure you have a follow-up appointment scheduled with your surgeon 10 to 14 days after your surgery.

Important: After surgery, it may take a while before you feel like your normal self. Recovery is different for each person.

Walking 2 Months After Knee Replacement

Walks have been an important part of my recovery and they will help with yours too. Walk through the tightness and walk when youre feeling lazy it helps by stretching and strengthening the leg.

After weeks 8 post surgery I am walking at least 3 miles a day.

Its important to concentrate on walking correctly, heel first, toe pointed straight ahead and then pushing off with the toe. Everyone experiences a learning curve when learning how to walk after knee replacement.

It took me extra long because I walked incorrectly for decades.

I have discarded my old tennis shoes as I think they were formed while I was walking incorrectly. I only use new tennis shoes on all of my walks .

Some people may be able to wear flip-flops but remember they have limited padding.

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Knee Replacement Surgery: Risks And Complications

Like any surgery, knee replacement surgery carries a risk of complications. These can range from minor issues, such as infection, to more serious problems, such as blood clots.

Infection is one of the most common complications associated with knee replacement surgery. This can usually be treated with antibiotics. However, in severe cases, it may require additional surgery to clean out the infected joint.

Blood clots are another potential complication of knee replacement surgery. These can be dangerous because they can break off and travel to the lungs, where they can cause a blockage. To help prevent blood clots, patients are usually given blood-thinning medication after surgery.

Other possible complications of knee replacement surgery include:

-Nerve damage

-Loosening of the implant

-Dislocation of the kneecap

Most complications associated with knee replacement surgery are rare. However, its important to be aware of the risks before having the procedure so that you can make an informed decision.

Taking Care Of Your Wound

What to expect after knee surgery

Taking care of the surgical site is another vital component of recovery.

Most likely, youll have suture underneath your skin that wont have to be removed. If your surgery requires exposed stitches or staples, those will be removed in the weeks following surgery in your surgeons office.

Remember to keep the wound dry until its completely sealed. A sterile bandage will be placed after surgery and you will be given instructions when you can take this off.

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Knee Replacement Pain After Three Months

Swelling and bruising can continue for three months or more following knee replacement surgery. However, it varies from patient to patient and depends on the condition you were in before surgery. Many patients are back to their activities without the pain they had before surgery by this stage of recovery.

If you find that any movement or activity is still exceedingly painful after three months, you may be experiencing chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain persisting for three months or longer. Its a condition that affects roughly 20% of knee replacement surgery patients. It can develop and increase in intensity in the weeks and months following surgery. This can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life. Talk to your doctor for help.

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.

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Knee Replacement Recovery: Weeks 4 To 6

Knee pain and function greatly improve during the first few weeks after knee replacement surgery. Significant improvements continue during weeks 4 through 6. By week 6, the majority of patients are off pain medications and have resumed their day-to-day routines.

To achieve this post-surgical success, knee replacement patients continue physical therapy, pain management, and avoidance of risky behaviors.

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee Replacement Surgery | What to Expect

When the surgery is over, you will need to stay in the hospitals recovery room for observation. Usually, patients can return to their hospital rooms within a few hours after their pulse, blood pressure, and breathing are stable. Since knee replacement is major surgery, its common for the patient to be in the hospital for a few days before returning home. You will begin physical therapy during this in-hospital time.

When its time to head home, your medical team will have a transition plan to help with continued physical therapy and pain management. Its crucial that you are diligent about following these recommendations to regain the range of motion and strength needed in the joint.

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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.

Can You Golf After Knee Replacement

Golf is a low-impact activity that can be done after knee replacement surgery. While, dont forget to take some precautions. It is very very important to avoid making undue stress put on ther new joint.

For example, you should use a golf cart instead of walking the course. And you need remember to avoid hitting the ball too hard or playing on hilly terrain.

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What To Expect 3 Weeks After Knee Replacement Surgery

Three weeks after knee replacement surgery, you might be either walking with a walker, with crutches or with a cane. You’ll likely experience mild pain and be low on energy. Hopefully by now you’ll be attending regular physiotherapy appointments to help rehabilitate your knee with your physiotherapists looking to implement more aggressive ROM exercises on your knee.

You won’t be able to drive at the 3-week mark, but you might start to be able to return to doing more around the house. You’ll probably be able to stand and walk around for about 10 minutes at a time and normal routines like getting dressed will become easier.

Genicular Nerve Block With Radiofrequency Ablation

Knee Replacement Surgery â What to Expect During Recovery?

Instead of more invasive surgical options, many patients turn to a genicular nerve block to treat and diagnose persistent knee pain. A genicular nerve block uses anesthetic injected into one or more of the genicular nerves to interrupt pain signals being sent to the brain.

Unfortunately, a genicular nerve blocks effects only last eight to 24 hours. Doctors use genicular nerve blocks to test the effectiveness of the procedure on a persons knee pain. Many patients who experience relief with genicular nerve blocks will then get radiofrequency ablation. When combined, these two procedures can offer pain relief that lasts anywhere from six months to a year.

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Exercises Am I Still Doing To Strengthen The Knee

I continue to go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. I also try to swim and ride my bike several times each week.

All three exercises are helping to build up and maintain the strength in my knee and my range of motion.

In the gym I use several machines: leg press, leg pulls and leg lifts. I do calf raises and calf stretches. I do squats with the exercise ball on my back against a wall.

I also continue to strengthenmy hips by doing bridges and using bands.

For range-of-motion the most helpful exercise for me is using the large exercise ball, lying on my back, heels on the ball and pulling my legs forward and back.

I would not discourage any specific exercises that I have been doing. All of the exercises were prescribed by my physical therapists.

I would, however, caution you to be conservative with the amount of weight you use. You dont have to keep adding weight.

My therapist suggested I get to a comfortable weight and then increase repetitions. At this point I am working on strength and on maintaining the growth that I have made.

I am not trying to add weight and increase personal bests.

Returning To Everyday Activities

Surgeons may lift activity restrictions that were assigned during the first 4 weeks after knee replacement surgery. For example, patients may be given permission to use pools, baths, or hot tubs. A person should not do so until the surgeon tells them it is OK.

Similarly, a surgeon may give a patient permission to drive and ease back into activities that involve limited knee twisting, such as golf, gentle yoga, and dancing. This typically happens at the 6- to 8-week mark. For example, 8 weeks after surgery, a person used to playing 18 holes of golf may be given permission to start to work toward playing 9 holes.

Returning to workThe ability to return to work will depend on factors such as pain levels, medications being taken, stamina, and job requirements. If the employer allows, a person may return to work part-time before committing to a full-time schedule.

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What To Expect From Knee Replacement Recovery At Home

After youredischarged from the hospital, youll likely experience some swelling in your surgical leg. The swelling may not only be in your knee but above and below the surgical area, possibly even your feet. You may notice bruising around your knee and lower leg as well after knee replacement surgery.

While swelling is normal, it can be uncomfortable. Your care team will review treatments with you and may suggest some strategies to assist you in the management of your swelling, such as:

  • Keeping your knee elevated above the level of your heart for at least 20 minutes every hour.
  • Icing your knee for 20 minutes every hour.
  • Performing your physical therapy exercises, such as ankle pumps, knee range of motion, and hip mobility multiple times per day to prevent fluid from settling in the lower leg.
  • Avoiding keeping your knee in a bent or gravity-dependent position, such as standing or sitting still for prolonged periods.
  • Wearing the appropriate fitting compression stockings provided by your post-surgical team.

Infrequently, swelling can stem from something more serious, such as a blood clot or an infection in the lower leg. Swelling, warmth, and redness in areas AWAY from the incision site are typical symptoms that require medical attention. Your care team will review these concerns with you after your knee replacement surgery, but its important to be aware of them. Notify your surgeon right away if you experience any concerning symptoms.


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