• Total Knee Replacement

  • Partial Knee Replacement

  • Total Hip Replacement

  • Revision Hip Replacement

  • Revision Knee Replacement

After Knee Replacement

Knee replacement is a surgery performed to replace parts of a diseased knee joint with an artificial prosthesis. The goal of knee replacement is to eliminate pain and return you to your normal activities. You can help in recovery and improve the outcomes of the procedure by following certain precautions and changing the way you carry out your daily activities.

After knee replacement surgery, once the anesthesia wears off, you will start to experience pain, for which your doctor will prescribe medication. Regardless of whether you go home or stay in the hospital overnight, pain will require management with appropriate medications. Remember to get plenty of rest during this initial phase. Your surgical wounds should be monitored for swelling, inflammation and other changes.

Rehabilitation begins almost immediately after surgery, where a physical therapist will help you stand up and walk using crutches or a walker. Adhering to the goals of the rehabilitation program is important to help you recover and resume your normal activities. You will be guided to perform strengthening exercises daily and learn to get in and out of bed, and use a bedside commode. When you are discharged from the hospital, you will be encouraged to walk, climb stairs, dress, bathe and perform other basic functions by yourself.

On reaching home, have a family member or caregiver assist you with your activities for a few weeks. Taking care of someone following knee replacement surgery requires compassion, awareness and patience. Basic points to follow by your caregiver:

Helping with basic movement and functions as well as emotional support

Having a clear understanding of your medication and ensuring they are administered in a timely manner

Keeping emergency numbers ready

In the event of an emergency dial 911.

In the event of a concerning post-operative complication, please contact us immediately for prompt support. Most concerns can be appropriately addressed by our team and we will make every effort to be available to you in a timely fashion. Avoid going to the Emergency Department for surgical issues unless necessary, or unless instructed by our team.

Assisting you with household chores, paperwork and traveling to keep your appointments

Helping and motivating you to perform your rehabilitation exercises

Ensuring that furniture is rearranged so as not to interfere with your movement and cause falls.

To avoid bending or reaching out, items that you use frequently can be placed easily within reach.

Certain instructions that your doctor will brief you about are:

  • You may shower once the wound heals, but avoid soaking in a bathtub until discussing with your surgeon.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry. Your doctor will let you know when you can shower or bathe. Newer surgical dressings may allow you to shower immediately.
  • Some amount of swelling is normal after knee replacement and may last for several months. This is not uncommon and .can be controlled by icing and elevating your leg for 30 to 60 minutes every day.

You can expect to start walking immediately after surgery and will continue to progress. Some people will require a cane or a walker initially. Your physical therapy program will gradually include new and more difficult exercises as you improve in strength and flexibility.. To reduce stress, use the opposite knee to lead when climbing stairs and the replaced knee to lead when descending. You will be able to drive after surgery when you have sufficient pain control without taking narcotic medication, improved strength and can easily enter and exit a car. Walking and exercising at least 2-3 times a day for 10-15 minutes is recommended for a faster recovery.

You and your caregiver must be aware of the signs of infection. Contact your doctor if you notice any abnormal wound changes or any changes in general health and mental state, or should you have persistent fever, drainage, excessive swelling or other signs of infection.

In the event of an emergency dial 911.

In the event of a concerning post-operative complication, please contact us immediately for prompt support. Most concerns can be appropriately addressed by our team and we will make every effort to be available to you in a timely fashion. Avoid going to the Emergency Department for surgical issues unless necessary, or unless instructed by our team.

Credibility Links

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • Mid-America Orthopaedic Association
  • Michigan Institute for Advanced Surgery Center