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After Knee Replacement

What is Knee Replacement?

Knee replacement is a surgery performed to resurface the diseased knee joint with artificial prostheses. The goal of knee replacement is to eliminate your arthritis pain and return you to your normal activities.

What happens after Knee Replacement?

After knee replacement surgery, patients are walking within a few hours of surgery. Patients walk several times the same day as the surgery, and many patients feel comfortable going home the same day as the surgery. Rehabilitation begins immediately following the surgery. A physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to strengthen your leg and restore knee movement. At first, you will be able to walk with crutches or a walker. Your physical therapist will also provide you with a home exercise program to strengthen your thigh and calf muscles.Elevation of your leg is recommended to encourage circulation and prevent stiffness, clots and scar formation.

Recovery at Home after Knee Replacement

When you are discharged from the hospital, you should walk every hour around the house. At first, this will be for short distances, and over time you will walk longer distances. You will be able to walk with an assistive device, climb stairs, dress, bathe and perform other basic functions by yourself. It is recommended that you have a family member or friend with you for the first few days. Taking care of someone following knee replacement surgery requires compassion, awareness, and patience. The basic points to be followed by your caregiver include:

  • Supervising basic movement and functions as well as emotional support
  • Having a clear understanding of your medications and ensuring they are administered in a timely manner
  • Keeping emergency numbers ready
  • Helping and motivating you to perform your rehabilitation exercises

Certain instructions that your doctor will brief you about include:

  • You may shower immediately after surgery, but avoid soaking in a bathtub for six weeks.
  • Some amount of swelling is normal after knee replacement and may last for more than a month. It can be controlled by placing ice on the knee and elevating your leg for 30 to 60 minutes every day.