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Frisch Ortho Hip and Knee Specialist
  • Rochester

Frequently Asked Questions After Knee Replacement

Please read this carefully...

Q: When do I see the doctor after surgery?

A: 3 weeks after surgery.

Q: When can I shower?

A: Immediately. . NO BATHS or soaking. Your dressing is waterproof. Dab dry after shower.

Q: When can I drive?

A: Usually you can resume driving after you are off your pain medication and feel strong enough and safe enough to drive. If surgery was performed on your left leg, assuming you don't drive a manual transmission vehicle you can start driving once off narcotic pain medication. If surgery was performed on your right leg, you can typically resume driving between 3-4 weeks after surgery.

Q: How much should I be bending?

A: You should be able to bend at least 90 degrees by your 3 week visit unless you were told otherwise.

Q: Will I have bruising after surgery?

A: Yes. You will have some degree of bruising after surgery but everyone is different. Some will only experience redness around the incision. Others will have bruising down the entire leg. Both are considered normal and will typically resolve over 10-14 days.

Q: Do I need to clean the incision?

A: No. Please call us if you notice any significant drainage on the dressing.

Q: When can I stop taking the blood thinner (aspirin, coumadin, Xarelto, lovenox)?

A: The usual length of time is 4 weeks post-operatively.

Q: How long will my knee stay warm?

A: Typically you will notice a temperature difference between your surgical and non-surgical knee. You will experience warmth in the knee due to the healing and increased blood flow to the area. This can last for approximately 6-12 months in most patients.

Q: Will I have numbness around my knee?

A: You may or may not experience numbness, or hypersensitivity, around the knee following surgery. This is due to the incision over your skin that interferes with the superficial nerves. These are sensory nerves that supply the skin and can cause decreased sensation. This feeling of numbness, or in some patients, hypersensitivity, may resolve with time. Occasionally sensation does not fully return.

Q: Can I go up and down stairs?

A: Yes. You will be able to negotiate stairs immediately after surgery and instructed by physical therapy on the appropriate way to do so. Be aware that excessive use of stairs may increase the swelling and discomfort around the knee and as such, try to limit the number of stairs you use initially.

Q: How much weight can I put through my leg after surgery?

A: You can put as much weight as you can tolerate on your surgical leg immediately after surgery. Most patients are walking with or without a cane/walker/crutches on the day of surgery. Your therapist will instruct you on how to properly use these devices.

Q: What is my activity level expected to be after surgery?

A: Every patient is different. You should be increasing your activity level daily, but let pain be your guide. The majority of your recovery will take place in the first 4-6 weeks after surgery and the remainder will come over the next year. Most people will overdue it at some point! If/when you do, you will experience increased pain and swelling. If you cannot control this with rest and your pain medications, or if you have difficulty putting weight on your surgical leg, contact our office for further instructions.

Q: How long do I have to wear the stockings?

A: These should be worn on both legs after surgery for at least 48 hours. You may remove when walking regularly.

Q: What positions can I sleep in?

A: You may sleep on your back or on either side.

Q: When should I call your office?

A: If you experience any of the following:

  • Fever above 101.5˚ consistently
  • Increased drainage or swelling
  • Pain not controlled by pain medication
  • Inability to bear weight on your operative leg
  • Severe insomnia
  • Swelling in foot or calf that is accompanied by coolness or decreased sensation in the foot
  • Confusion/disorientation

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
  • FAAOS Logo