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What To Expect When Recovering From Knee Replacement Surgery

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Knee replacement surgery can help give you your mobility back. It can help you become active again. However, to enjoy the full benefit of knee replacement surgery, you need to understand what the recovery process is like at first.

First Few Days

After knee replacement surgery, it is common to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. That way, the doctors can monitor your recovery and ensure you are getting the assistance you need with your recovery.

Within the first day after your surgery, your physical therapist will come in, show you have to use your assistive device, and have you take a few steps. You will probably use a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine to help get your joints moving gently.

If your doctor used waterproof dressings, you should be able to shower after a day. If they used normal dressing, you will have to wait a week to take a regular shower.

You will slowly stand up a few times and get used to bathing, dressing, and using the toilet on your own.

The First Few Weeks

During the first few weeks, you are going to want to get lots of rest. You will also need to attend physical therapy and make sure that you are walking and moving around a little each day. You will be doing exercises that will allow you to expand your mobility and range of motion daily, both on your own and with your physical therapist. The pain medication you use will slowly decrease. You should be able to walk around for about ten minutes, and bathing, dressing, and taking care of yourself should become easier.  

Weeks Four to Six

During weeks four to six, the swelling and inflammation on your knee should be almost gone. You should be working on increasing your knee's strength and increasing your range of motion with your physical therapist.

You should be using your assistive devices less, and you should be getting back to doing everyday tasks, like cooking. You may even be able to start driving again.

Weeks Seven to Twelve

At this point, you are going to continue with physical therapy. You should be working on more advanced exercises, such as hip abductions, leg balances, and bicycling. This is a really important time in your recovery, where you will be building up strength in your knee.

Months Three to Six

After three months, you should be able to engage in most daily activities, and you should be building strength in your knee. It can take up to six months for your knee to reach full strength.

If you have questions about the recovery process, talk to your surgeon and physical therapy team to better understand what to expect. Your dedication to physical therapy will greatly assist with your recovery.