How long does it take to recover from knee replacement surgery?

The vast majority of patients who undergo total knee surgery have dramatic improvement within weeks of the surgery. The pain caused by the damaged knee is relieved when a new gliding surface is constructed. Patients who have knee replacement surgery are standing and moving the joint the day after surgery. After about six weeks, most patients are walking comfortably with only a little support. After muscle strength is restored, patients who have knee replacement surgery can enjoy most activities (except running and jumping).

How long do total knee replacements last?

When knee replacement procedures were first performed in the early 1970s, it was thought that the average total knee implant would last approximately 10 years. We now know that approximately 85 percent of the knee implants will last 20 years. Improvements in surgical technique, prosthetic designs, bearing surfaces, and fixation methods might increase the survival rate of these implants even longer.

How long is the recovery period after surgery?

Depending on the individual patient and their specific condition and needs, it may take from six months to a year to fully recover from knee replacement surgery. After total knee replacement surgery, patients can lead healthy and active lives. Some activities, such as high-impact sports, should be avoided, and a leg brace is required for any athletic sports.

What is the rehab after surgery?

Rehabilitation begins immediately following surgery and may include a machine to help move your leg in the first few days after surgery. The success of the replacement and recovery is contingent on the patient and their participation in the rehabilitation process. This process requires a lot of time, effort, and a positive attitude to ensure success.

Before you leave the hospital, a physical therapist will provide goals and instructions for you to complete while in the hospital and at home. It is recommended that you follow the instructions for a minimum of two months following surgery. At that time, you should ask your physician when you may resume your previous activities.

There are several basic rules about positioning that you should be aware of following surgery. Make sure that you do not kneel, squat or jump, and do not twist or pivot your operated knee. Do not place weights on top of your knee, and do not allow anyone to push on your knee or ankle while sitting or lying down. Do not use ankle weights, and do not lie in bed with a roll or pillow under your knee for prolonged periods of time. While sitting, make sure that you use a straight back chair with arm rests, and do not sit in chairs or sofas lower than knee height since they require excessive bending at the knees when sitting down and getting up. Also remember not to cross your legs while sitting and place a stool under your feet for support while lifting weights. Since most toilet seats are lower than knee height, patients are recommended to use a toilet seat extension, which are available for purchase in the hospital or a medical supply store. Based on your individual treatment plan, your physical therapist will determine your need for this item.

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