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What To Expect Total Knee Replacement

When Can I Go Home

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

People are usually discharged home 2-5 days after a total knee replacement. Prior to discharge your physical therapist will ensure you can walk independently, get in and out of a car and go up and down steps/stairs.

Ideally, you should also have good range of movement in your knee before going home and your physical therapist will give you exercises to do to help with your total knee replacement recovery.

Are There Any Activities I Should Avoid

For the first three months of total knee replacement recovery you should avoid anything that places lots of stress on the knee. This includes tennis, badminton, contact sports , squash or racquetball, jumping, squats, skiing, or jogging.

Also try and avoid any heavy lifting or weight lifting as this could slow your total knee replacement recovery.

Technical Details Of Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement surgery begins by performing a sterile preparation of the skin over the knee to prevent infection. This is followed by inflation of a tourniquet to prevent blood loss during the operation.

Next, a well-positioned skin incisionâtypically 6-7 in length though this varies with the patients size and the complexity of the knee problemâis made down the front of the knee and the knee joint is inspected.

Next, specialized alignment rods and cutting jigs are used to remove enough bone from the end of the femur , the top of the tibia , and the underside of the patella to allow placement of the joint replacement implants. Proper sizing and alignment of the implants, as well as balancing of the knee ligaments, all are critical for normal post-operative function and good pain relief. Again, these steps are complex and considerable experience in total knee replacement is required in order to make sure they are done reliably, case after case. Provisional implant components are placed without bone cement to make sure they fit well against the bones and are well aligned. At this time, good functionâincluding full flexion , extension , and ligament balanceâis verified.

Finally, the bone is cleaned using saline solution and the joint replacement components are cemented into place using polymethylmethacrylate bone cement. The surgical incision is closed using stitches and staples.


Length of total knee replacement surgery

Pain and pain management

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How Long Do I Need To Do Exercises For

Exercises are a key part of the total knee replacement recovery process for a number of months if you want to get the best out of your new knee.

You should keep doing your knee replacement exercises daily until you have regained full range of movement of your knee, meaning you can fully straighten it and bend it at least 120°, and good strength in the muscles.

Even when you have achieved this, it is worth continuing with your exercises 2-3 times weekly to keep your new knee in its best condition.

Regularly doing your exercises is the best way to ensure you make a good total knee replacement recovery. Visit the knee replacement exercise section for more information.

What Is The Recovery Time After Knee Revision Surgery

Surgical procedure of total knee replacement

It varies, but in most cases, physical therapy will be initiated within 24 hours of the procedure and will continue for up to three months.

Some patients take longer to recover. In some cases, protective weightbearing or limiting the knees range of motion is needed to promote appropriate healing. Therapy will usually continue for up to three months following the surgery. Assistive devices, such as a walker or crutches, will be used early in the convalescence period, and patients will progress to a cane or walking without any assistance as their condition improves.

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Total Knee Replacement Surgery: What To Expect

Total knee replacement surgery can provide positive outcomes when knee pain and loss of mobility have eroded your quality of life and are limiting your daily low-impact activities.

The procedure relieves pain and restores function lost from multiple damaged or diseased knee joint compartments. The decision to pursue total knee replacement surgery should be made in consultation with your orthopedic specialist. Together, you can review and evaluate your options, including a realistic view of goals and expectations.

Knee replacement surgery does not restore the ability to participate in high-impact activities however, it can enable you to resume low-impact activities for many years. Most knee replacement surgery patients experience a major change in pain reduction and a substantial increase in mobility.

If a total knee replacement surgery is right for you, its important to fully understand the procedure, including how to prepare, and what to expect before, during, and after surgery.

Preparing for Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Successful preparation for total knee replacement surgery ensures that you are physically and mentally ready for rehab and recovery. Planning for an extended period of limited mobility takes time, attention, and consideration of your basic daily needs and how they can be easily reached.

During Surgery

After Surgery: Your Recovery and Rehab Plan

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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What To Expect 5 Months After Knee Replacement

Three to 5 months after knee replacement is quite challenging and rewarding. Indeed, every day, you will feel better. Most people see a reduction in pain and exhaustion as the weeks pass.

With each passing week, you should be able to walk more freely and farther, but it could be two months or more before you can walk properly again. You may still need a cane or crutches, but your doctor works with you to get you off those aids.

Anyhow, in some cases, you may getjoint infection months after knee replacementdue to a lack of post-operative precautions. In these cases, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs can help. However, first, consider an appointment with your doctor to avoid consequences.

Do Eat A Healthy Diet

Knee Replacement: What to Expect | IU Health

Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. However, avoid alcohol after surgery because it retardshealing. Eat whole, unprocessed foods rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Keeping yourself at a healthy weight limits the stress on your knees. If you were overweight before yoursurgery, try a medically supervised weight loss plan to help you lose the weight and keep it off.

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Preparation For Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery usually will undergo a pre-operative surgical risk assessment. When necessary, further evaluation will be performed by an internal medicine physician who specializes in pre-operative evaluation and risk-factor modification. Some patients will also be evaluated by an anesthesiologist in advance of the surgery.

Routine blood tests are performed on all pre-operative patients. Chest X-rays and electrocardiograms are obtained in patients who meet certain age and health criteria as well.

Surgeons will often spend time with the patient in advance of the surgery, making certain that all the patient’s questions and concerns, as well as those of the family, are answered.


The surgeon’s office should provide a reasonable estimate of:

  • the surgeon’s fee
  • the degree to which these should be covered by the patient’s insurance.

Total Knee Replacement Surgical Team

The total knee requires an experienced orthopedic surgeon and the resources of a large medical center. Some patients have complex medical needs and around surgery often require immediate access to multiple medical and surgical specialties and in-house medical, physical therapy, and social support services.

Finding an experienced surgeon to perform your total knee replacement

Some questions to consider asking your knee surgeon:

  • Are you board certified in orthopedic surgery?
  • Have you done a fellowship in joint replacement surgery?
  • How many knee replacements do you do each year?

What Should I Expect After My Total Hip Or Total Knee Replacement

NOTE: The following is a general guide to care following your procedure. Your healthcare provider may have somewhat different instructions for you. Please follow those.

After total knee or total hip replacement surgery you can expect gradual improvement over the coming months. You should gradually expect less pain, stiffness and swelling, and a more independent lifestyle. Returning to work depends on how quickly you heal and how demanding your job may be on a new joint.

After you are discharged from the hospital or rehabilitation facility, there will be a few weeks before you return for a follow-up visit with your surgeon. This period of time is critical in your rehabilitation and you may require outpatient therapy services for positive long-term results from your surgery.

In general, patients do very well after discharge. However, its important that you contact the surgeons office if any of these occur:

  • You have increasing pain in the operative site.
  • There is new or increased redness or warmth since discharge.
  • There is new or increased drainage from your incision.
  • The operative site is increasingly swollen.
  • Your calf becomes swollen, tender, warm or reddened.
  • You have a temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours.
  • For total knee replacement, your ability to flex has decreased or remains the same as when you were discharged from the hospital.

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What Restrictions Should One Expect After Total Knee Replacement

While this will be communicated to the patient by the orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist, most patients return to full activity with no restrictions. The patient should communicate what activities they would like to return to with their orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist to see if any precautions should be taken

How Long Does The Pain Last After A Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement Surgery Photograph by Mark Thomas/science ...

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.

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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.

How Long Is It Before I Can Walk After A Knee Replacement

Most patients progress to a straight cane, walker or crutches within two or three days after surgery. As the days progress, the distance and frequency of walking will increase.

Patients are usually able to drive a car within three to six weeks after surgery and resume all other normal activities by or before six weeks. Complete recuperation and return to full strength and mobility may take up to four months. However, in many cases, patients are significantly more mobile one month after surgery than they were before they had their knee replacement

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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.

Knee Replacement Recovery Time And Recuperation

What to Expect from Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement surgery generally takes about 60 to 90 minutes, but you should expect to be in the operating room for over two hours. Rehabilitation will begin within 24 hours of surgery.

After your surgery, the nursing staff will position you in bed and help you turn until you are able to move on your own. You may have a pillow between your legs if ordered by your surgeon.

Very soon after surgery, a physical therapist will come to your room to teach you appropriate exercises and review your progress. Gentle exercises to improve your range of motion can help prevent circulation problems as well as strengthen your muscles.

Your rehabilitation program will begin as soon as you are medically stable and there are orders from your doctor to begin postoperative mobility. All patients begin rehabilitation within 24 hours of their surgery. Your motivation and participation in your physical therapy program is key to the success of your surgery and recovery. The physical therapist will assist you in the following activities:

  • sitting at bedside with your feet on the floor
  • transferring in and out of bed safely
  • walking with the aid of a device
  • climbing stairs with aid of a device

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Pain Level 2 Months After Knee Replacement

I continue to deal with tenderness in the knee after workouts. The muscles and ligaments around the joint are sometimes tight.

Im still taking a 325 mg aspirin each morning. My doctor asked me to take it for the first 42 days but since I am going to be in an airplane on week ten, I have decided to continue to take the aspirin until I return from my trip on week eleven. Every now and then I will take a Tylenol if I am sore and feel like I may have overdone it during a workout. I no longer take one at night before going to bed.

Massaging my knee has definitely helped with soreness and tightness. I continue to use the Free Up massage cream once or twice a day massaging all around the knee.

You can massage your knee with your hands or an electric massager. It really helps loosens things up.

The icing routine has paid dividends and I continue to ice several times a day, after workouts, walks and after swimming.

When Can A Knee Replacement Patient Leave The Hospital

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.

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Recovery Time For A Total Knee Replacement

Some patients will be able to return home the same day as their surgery. From there, it can take a month to two months for a patient to be able to drive on their own, and up to two months for a patient to be able to take care of themselves and return to normal activities. How quickly theyll fully recover can vary some will begin to see the full benefits of the surgery within four to six months, while others wont fully heal until closer to a year.

Months After Tkr Surgery

Advanced Total Knee Replacement Surgery in India at ...

Well, its hard to believe that it has been eight weeks since my TKR surgery. Time goes by slowly immediately after the surgery and starts to speed up once youre mobile.

The first two weeks after surgery is a time when you are dependent on a caregiver. I had limited mobility and spent most of the time in the house sitting in my recliner.

I tried to stay busy with reading, crossword puzzles and doing my physical therapy but time crept by slowly. At the beginning of the 3rd week, my mobility increased dramatically.

You might be wondering: What can I expect to do 2 months after knee replacement surgery?

Maybe youre doubting your progress and want to compare your scar, range of motion, and activity level with other people at 2 months post-op.

Everyone heals at different rates but its also comforting to know if youre on the right track. My progress has been slow and steady but I feel and Ive been told that Im ahead of schedule.

Im now able to do things for myself and get outside more. Each week that goes by, my knee feels better and better. It is now 8 weeks post surgery and Ill share with you what Im up to.

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