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How Long Is Recovery after Knee Replacement?

Knee replacement surgery can be a life-changing procedure, allowing you to enjoy improved function and a pain-free life once again. However, it’s important to understand that knee replacement is a major procedure that involves a lengthy recovery process. It’s crucial that you have realistic expectations for your knee replacement recovery and also commit to the rehabilitation process to ensure a full recovery.

In general, you should expect to resume everyday activities within a few weeks after knee replacement. However, it may take 6 months to a year before your recovery is complete and it is safe to resume certain high-impact athletic activities. Our orthopedic surgeons will carefully monitor your healing after knee replacement surgery and advise you as to when it is safe to resume specific activities.

Initial Days of Recovery after Knee Replacement

In most instances, you will need to stay at the hospital overnight following knee replacement surgery. During this time, our team will:

Resume Walking Right Away

recovery after knee replacement - light walking Our team will have you up and walking around (with assistance) within several hours of waking up after surgery. These initial walks will be very short, such as a trip to the bathroom. We recommend that you walk every one to three hours while you are still in the hospital. In general, you should be able to walk approximately 100 yards with the assistance of a walker or similar device by the time you leave the hospital.

Resuming walking right away puts weight on your joint, allows your body to remain active, and is crucial to the healing process. It will also reduce your risk of blood clots, pneumonia, and constipation.

Leaving the Hospital

Prior to leaving the hospital, our team will make sure:

Our team will provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for the incision site before you go home.

First Three Weeks of Recovery after Knee Replacement

After leaving the hospital, your initial few weeks of recovery from knee replacement surgery will focus on:

Make sure to carefully follow the instructions provided by our orthopedic surgeons regarding activities to avoid. In addition, keep an eye out for signs of complications. If you suspect that a problem may be developing, contact our team immediately.

Physical Therapy after Knee Replacement Surgery

Physical therapy is an integral part of your recovery after knee replacement. You’ll need to visit a physical therapist regularly, and you’ll also receive exercises to perform at home each day. It’s crucial that you do all of your physical therapy exercises as instructed. Failure to perform these exercises can potentially have a negative impact on your recovery.

You’ll start by performing a series of stretches that will help you restore your range of motion. The goal is to eventually be able to bend your knee at least 120°. This will allow you to be able to get in and out of most low chairs, sofas, and vehicles.

As your recovery progresses beyond these first few weeks, your physical therapy will start incorporating more strengthening exercises to help you regain the full function of your knee.

Weeks 4-6 of Knee Replacement Recovery

You should experience a significant reduction in pain and improvement in knee function during your first four to five weeks of recovery. After 6 weeks of recovery, you’ll continue to improve. By the end of this time, you should be off all pain medication and be able to perform most routine daily activities.

knee replacement recovery - physical therapy During this time, physical therapy will still be an integral part of your rehabilitation. The goals of physical therapy during this phase of your recovery are:

As you get stronger, your physical therapy appointments will become less frequent. Most patients are able to stop going to physical therapy two to three months after knee replacement surgery.

Long Range Recovery after Knee Replacement

Your initial recovery phase should be complete after about two months. At this time, you should experience significant improvement in range of motion and be able to resume most routine daily activities. Based on the recommendations of our surgeons, you may also be able to gradually resume activities involving limited twisting motions in the knee, including yoga, golf and dancing. Make sure to wait to resume specific activities until you are cleared to do so by our surgeons.

In most instances, you will be able to return to work well before the initial recovery phase is complete. The exact amount of time it will take before going back to work will depend on your pain levels, the types of medications you’re taking, your stamina, and the nature of your job duties.

You’ll continue to experience improvement after this initial two-month period, and it may take between six months to a year before your recovery is complete. You should plan on continuing to do your physical therapy exercises on your own several times a week after you are no longer meeting with your physical therapist. This will help you maintain strong, supple muscles which will extend the life of your prosthetic knee joint.

Colorado Advanced Orthopedics Can Help

Colorado Advanced Orthopedics offers a wide range of knee replacement procedures, including:

You’ll benefit from the finest medical care along the Western Slope of Colorado. Our board-certified, Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons utilize the latest techniques and most advanced technology to ensure the best possible outcome. We often use the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System with knee replacement procedures to allow for greater levels of precision which will reduce your risk of complications and shorten your recovery time.

Our team will closely monitor your healing and progress during the recovery period to make sure everything is going smoothly. We’ll provide you with detailed instructions, and we are always available to answer any questions you may have. Our team is committed to going the extra mile to ensure you have an amazing experience and get back to enjoying life to its fullest as soon as possible.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Colorado Advanced Orthopedics serves patients in Meeker and throughout the White River Valley of Colorado.

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