Thinking About Knee Replacement?


What to expect after Knee Replacement?

 Making the decision to have your knee replaced is not an easy one.  Most people have many questions that need to be answered before diving into a potentially life changing surgery.  Today we are going to answer many of the common questions people have before and after having a knee replacement surgery.

What exactly is a knee replacement?

A knee replacement is a surgical procedure that serves to create a new surface of your knee joint.  Your existing joint surfaces are removed and replaced with prosthetic pieces.

Incision length for Total Knee Arthoplasty (Knee Replacement)

Incision length for Total Knee Arthoplasty (Knee Replacement)

How long will my recovery be?

Most people feel normal again after about 1 year.  This sounds like a long time, but this is the amount of time it will take for you to “forget” that you had a knee replacement.  The first 3 months is where the heavy lifting of your rehab takes place.

How much pain will I have?

This varies, but in general knee replacements tend to be painful.  It is imperative that you get your knee fully straight as soon as possible, which can be painful.  Getting your knee to bend is also important and can be painful as well.  Avoiding these goals will only serve to protract or prolong your recovery!

How long will I be in the hospital?

Joint replacement surgery is quickly becoming an outpatient procedure.  It used to be that people would spend weeks in the hospital following this procedure.  This is no longer the case.  Many individuals go home the same day following this surgery, given there are no complications.  Some people may stay up to 72 hours and your length of stay is doctor dependent.  You can complete physical therapy immediately following this surgery.

How long will I need physical therapy?

Physical therapy can be anywhere from 8-16 weeks or more depending on your goals and how quickly you progress.  It is important to understand that once you complete your formal physical therapy, you must remain active and continue with your home exercises otherwise you run the risk of backsliding in your recovery. 

When can I walk again?

Right away!  There is no reason to wait.  You will likely need a walker in the first couple of days, due to pain, however the quicker you get moving, the quicker you will feel like yourself again!


When can I drive?

This is always a tough question to answer.  If you had your left knee replaced and drive an automatic you can be driving again within a couple of weeks, assuming you feel safe.  If it is your right leg it can take a bit longer.  If you can’t move your foot back and forth from the gas to the break 5 times in under 10 seconds without pain, then you are not appropriate to drive.  Once you can do this, you have minimal pain with small movements, and you feel safe operating a vehicle, you may then appropriate to drive.  Remember, your actions on the road can affect others!

Can I get back to…running, biking, hiking, tennis, walking, skiing, etc?

This all depends on your pain and function.  In general, you can get back to light activities such as biking and hiking between 4-6 months following surgery.  More strenuous activities such as skiing may take 8-12 months to SAFELY return.  Don’t let anyone tell you, you must stop what you love doing.  That is likely why you got the surgery in the first place!  

At Physio2Go we work closely with you to achieve your goals!

Schedule an appointment today!

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