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Frisch Ortho Hip and Knee Specialist
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Returning to Activity after Knee Replacement Surgery

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Returning to Activity after Knee Replacement Surgery
Returning to Activity after Knee Replacement Surgery

The goal of knee replacement surgery is to replace the knee joint to produce a new and healthy knee so that you can return to everyday activities as soon as possible. Oftentimes, the fear of damaging your new knee can cause you to avoid physical activity during recovery. However, physical activity is important to increase the new joint’s flexibility and strengthen muscle for support.

Each patient will have variations in their recovery timeline. On average it typically takes 6 weeks after knee replacement surgery to return to most leisure activities, but a full recovery to higher level activities and work can take several months. Maintaining low-impact activities during this time will help the body to recover faster. Here are some details on what kinds of activities you can engage in and which you should avoid after knee replacement:

  • Walking: Walking is a great way to make use of your new knee while still being cautious during the healing process. You will typically be waking as soon as you wake up from surgery with assistance from a walker. Once you are comfortable with the walker, transition from a walker to a cane and eventually to walking on your own. This happens for most people in the first few days to a week after surgery.
  • Driving: Driving immediately after a knee replacement should be avoided, especially when pain medications are actively being used. It is important to build back knee strength and ensure your reflexes are intact before getting behind the wheel. When you are off pain medication and walking comfortably you can usually return to driving.
  • Return to work: Depending on your job, the return to work may take anywhere between 2-8 weeks. For a sedentary job, you are typically able to get back in the office 1-2 weeks after the operation. Jobs that involve extensive walking, standing, or pressure on the knee can impact the healing process. Thus, with this type of profession you should wait approximately 6-8 weeks before returning to work so you can avoid any complications.
  • Travel: When you are comfortable getting around and your pain is controlled you can travel.
  • Exercise: Reasonable physical activity will help you along your healing process by building strength and flexibility in your knee. Some great exercises to engage in during this time are swimming, cycling, rowing, etc.

We do not have any restrictions on patients after knee replacement. Every person is different and therefore every recovery and level of activity will be different. As long as the activity does not cause pain and can be well tolerated, we would encourage you to return to the things you love.

If you are considering knee replacement surgery or have questions about your recent replacement, contact Dr. Frisch for a consultation today!

Dr. Frisch is a specialist orthopedic surgeon focusing on minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacement as well as complex primary and revision surgery. He believes in creating a very personalized experience with the highest level of service. Visit one of our offices located in Rochester, River District, or Tawas City, MI.

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  • 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
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