What To Expect From Your Knee Replacement Rehabilitation?

A knee replacement surgery relieves pain and restores function in diseased knee joints. The surgeon cuts away the afflicted bone and cartilage from the thigh, shin and kneecap and substitutes it with a simulated joint comprising of high grade plastics, metal alloys and polymers.

After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room for 2 hours.

Thereafter, you will be transferred to your hospital room, where you will be kept for a week. There will be pain, but drugs prescribed by your doctor will deal with it.

In the hospital, you will be encouraged to move your limbs, as this helps increase the flow of blood to the muscles of the legs and thus prevents swelling and blood clots.

The day after surgery, a physiotherapist will help you exercise the replaced knee. A good recovery will occur if you steadfastly follow all the surgeon’s instructions – a regulated walking program to increase mobility, gradually recommencing household activities, and knee strengthening exercises.

Knee Replacement Rehabilitation Program And Exercises

The rehabilitation process plays a pivotal part in helping you get back on your feet and restarting an active lifestyle.

It is very important to stay committed to the plan prescribed by your doctor.

  • Within the first 24 hours you will stand and move around using an assistive equipment with the help of a physical therapist
  • You will be taught exercises which fortify the leg muscles and ensure a speedy recovery. The physiotherapist will show you how to get in as well as out of bed and walk around using an assistive machine. A nurse will help out with tasks such as bathing, dressing, and using the toilet.
  • The physiotherapist will help you set up with a continuous passive motion machine for use in the hospital room as well as at home. This keeps the knee in motion and prevents a buildup of scar tissue and development of stiffness due to immobility.
  • By the 3rd or 4th day the physical therapist will ask you to go on longer walks, ascend and descend stairs, and use the toilet without assistance.
  • At discharge, you shall be able to bend the knee, dress and bathe on your own, there will be reduced pain and you will be able to move around easily.
  • If you’ve stuck to your schedule you will see a remarkable improvement in your knee by 6 weeks. The physical therapist will monitor your exercises and modify them as the knee improves. Exercises include:
  1. Heel and toe raises.
  2. Partial knee bends which need you to bend your knees and move upward and downward whilst you stand
  3. Hip abductions.
  4. Leg balances which comprise of standing on one foot for as long as possible.
  5. Bicycling on a stationary bike.
  • This period is very essential for long-term success. Your dedication to the rehabilitation plan decides how soon you can resume a normal lifestyle
  • By 12 weeks, you will be able to participate in – walking, swimming, golf, dancing, and bicycling. It is very important to keep on with the exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist and steer clear of high impact activities that could harm your replaced joint – running, football, basketball and skiing.
  • By 15 – 20 weeks, you can engage in a wide range of day to day activities, given that you will be almost fully pain free.
  • Every individual is different and the recovery period tends to vary, depending upon various factors. Typically, full recovery from a knee replacement is 4 to 12 months.