What Should I do After a Knee Replacement?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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The main thing to remember after a knee replacement surgery is to follow your doctor’s instructions. Although many are the same for all patients, exact instructions will be based on a specific case. You will likely need to rest and recuperate for several days, followed by physical therapy to help strengthen your knee. You may also need to follow up with doctor’s appointments to ensure that you are healing properly.

In the first days after a knee replacement, your main objective will be to keep weight off the affected knee and allow your body time to heal. You may do this in a hospital setting as well as at home. Follow your doctor’s instructions for cleaning and caring for the incision site, and be sure you take steps to prevent further injury or infection. If you have any questions on whether you are doing things correctly, call your health care provider.

Once the initial healing has begun, you will likely have to undergo some form of physical therapy after a knee replacement in order to strengthen the knee and begin walking again. The exact amount of time it will take between the surgery and walking will depend on how long your leg takes to heal and whether there are any complications.


You may implement the services of a professional physical therapist in your home or in a rehabilitation center. During this phase of treatment after a knee replacement, you will slowly begin exercising the affected leg in order to gain full mobility, strength, and function. Be sure you attend all scheduled sessions to ensure that your healing progresses smoothly and as quickly as possible.

If you experience any troubling symptoms after knee replacement that you aren’t sure about, be sure to ask your doctor. Infection is one potential risk following surgery, and you should be mindful of this as you heal. Signs of an infection can include fever, swelling at the incision site, pus or oozing, redness, pain, and bleeding. If any of these symptoms are present, contact your health care provider.

Pain should subside over time, but if not, there may be an underlying complication. Your physical therapist and physician will ask about any discomfort or stiffness you are experiencing, so it is important to be up front and honest so that any complications can be addresses promptly. You should avoid doing strenuous activities too quickly even if your knee feels fully healed because it may be prone to injury. Contact sports, running, and other high-impact movements should be avoided until a doctor gives you the go ahead.



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