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.

How should I get into a car after my total knee replacement?

  1. The front passenger car seat should be pushed all the way back before you enter the car.
  2. Have the driver park on a flat surface and/or near the driveway ramp.
  3. Walk toward car using the appropriate walking device.
  4. When close to the car, turn and begin backing up to the front passenger car seat. Never step into the car! (see figure 1)
  5. Placing a plastic bag on a fabric seat may make moving easier.
  6. Reach with your right hand and hold the door frame or headrest. Place your left hand on the car seat or dashboard. (see figure 2)
  7. Slowly lower yourself to the car seat. (see figure 3)
  8. Slide yourself back onto the car seat.
  9. Swing your legs into the car. Try to move one leg at a time. Keep your toes pointed upward. (see figure 4)
  10. Do NOT cross your legs! (see figure 5)
  11. Reverse these steps to get out of a car.

When taking extended car rides, make sure to take breaks every 30 to 45 minutes. Get out of car and walk/stand for a few minutes so you don't become too stiff.

How to Get into A Car after Knee Surgery

Getting into a car after knee replacement surgery

How to Sit in a Car after Knee Replacement Surgery

Sitting in a Car After Knee Replacement Surgery

Sitting Properly in a Car After a Knee Replacement Surgery

What is the proper way to sit down and stand up after a total knee replacement surgery?

To sit:

  • Back up to the bed/chair until the back of your knees are touching the bed/chair.
  • Reach your hands back for the bed or chair. Maintain your weight-bearing status!
  • Lower your body slowly into a seated position.
  • Sit on a firm chair with your injured leg in front of your other leg.
  • Follow the precautions and weight-bearing status as instructed by your doctor or therapist. (Weight-bearing status is the amount of body weight you can put on your injured leg. Too much of a weight burden can re-injure your knee.)

How to Sit After Knee Replacement

To stand:

  • Scoot to the edge of the bed/chair. Bend your uninjured leg back to assist in standing.
  • With your hands on the bed or chair, push up to the standing position. Bring one hand at a time up to your walker or crutches.

How to Stand After Knee Replacement

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