Recovery from knee replacement surgery and the necessary rehabilitation that follows, are essential stages after the operation. On average, it takes between 3 moths to one year to fully recover from knee replacement surgery. The twelve weeks following surgery are vitally important for effective recovery and rehabilitation in the long term.
Knee Replacement Recovery Time: How long does it take?
Typically, knee replacement patients can:
What are the Different Stages of the Recovery Timeline?
Day of Surgery – Post-Operative Day Zero - Recovery from Knee Replacement Surgery
Early mobility is crucial for your recovery. You can expect this to begin the day of your surgery (unless specified by your surgeon).
You will be expected to:
|Exercises||How To Perform?||Repetition|
|Deep Breathing||3-5 times every hour|
|Ankle Pumps||20 times every hour|
|Static Quads||5-10 times every hour.|
|Buttock Contraction||10 times every hour.|
|Knee Flexion (in a lying position)||10 times per day|
|Inner Range Quads||5-10 times per day.|
|Straight Leg Raise||5 times per day.|
Bed exercises should be performed throughout your hospital stay and during the initial stages of your recovery.
Post-Operative Day One/Two - Recovery from Knee Replacement Surgery
The majority of patients will go home on a postoperative day.
Your goals are
Hospital discharge will depend on how quickly you can progress, the physical therapy you need, your age, and your health before surgery. Your activity level will gradually increase as you recover.
You are likely to be discharged if you meet the following goals:
|Therapy Goals||Medical Goals|
|Get in and out of bed by yourself.||Your medical inspection must be within the normal range (e.g. heart beat rate, oxygen levels, blood pressure, and temperature)|
|Independently perform your exercises.||Pain is well managed|
|Independently walk short distances (e.g. to the bathroom) with a walker.||The incision is healing well|
|Be able to climb stairs (with assistance).|
|Manage some of your care (e.g. getting dressed).|
Activity Management Once You Are Home
|Positioning in Bed||How to Get In and Out of Bed|
Sitting And Standing In A Chair / Commode Use
The procedure of sitting and standing in a chair and commode is the same.
|To Sit||To Stand Up|
To help you get dressed, your therapist may recommend some dressing aids such as:
Car Transfers (Getting Into the Front Passenger Seat)
1- 3 Weeks After Knee Surgery
By the time you’re back home, you should be able to walk for brief periods while experiencing less pain.
Chair Based Exercise
|Exercises||How to Perform?||Repetition Per Day|
|Assisted knee bend (whilst sitting)||10 times|
|Knee Extension (whilst sitting)||10 times|
|Passive Knee Extension (whilst sitting)||3 times|
|Hamstring stretch||10 times|
|Heel and Toe Raises||10 times|
|Knee flexion with hold||5 times|
Chair-based exercises should be performed for at least 6 weeks.
Weeks 3-6 After Knee Surgery
During weeks 3-6 in your recovery from knee replacement surgery, you will notice a significant improvement towards full independence.
Your goals for this period will be:
|Exercises||How to Perform?||Repetition per Day|
|Hamstring Curls||10 times|
|Heel Digs||10 times|
|Single leg balance||10 times|
|Step up||10 times|
|Step down||10 times|
|Single leg heel raise||10 times|
|Balancing with feet together||10 times|
|Balancing one foot in front of the other||10 times|
Advanced exercises should be performed approximately 3 weeks after surgery. Don’t start these exercises until instructed to do so by your physiotherapist.
Weeks 6 - 12 After Knee Surgery
During weeks 6 – 12, you should be able to begin all of your usual day-to-day activities.
Your goals are to:
Digital Technologies for Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring technology helps patients to manage their rehabilitation and remedy possible communication gaps between clinicians and patients.
This digital technology comprises:
Below are some of the latest remote-patient-monitoring technologies:
Medical Equipment You Might Need After TKR
|Medical Bed Rail||Elevated Toilet Seat With Grab Bar||Adjustable Standing Aid For Couch|
|Steel Bedside Commode||Toilet safety frame||Leg Lifter Strap|
|Adjustable Shoehorn||Non-Slip Bath Mat||Portable Table|
|Sock Aid||Long-Handled Bath Loofah||Raised Seat Cushion|
|Knee Support Cushion||Adjustable Shower Bench||Front-wheel walker or walking stick|
If you are still considering embarking on knee replacement surgery, you may like to read our comprehensive guide to the surgery, what it involves and the cost of the procedure in every part of the UK, click on this link:
Committing to your rehabilitation exercises can help your knee recover faster and in time you should regain full motion. Make sure to talk to your surgeon about all of your post-op recovery needs to be sure you have taken all the many factors of your recovery into consideration. By being aware of the different stages of your recovery timeline, following your exercise programme and heeding the advice of your surgeon and physiotherapist, you should ensure a full recovery from knee replacement surgery.