Knee replacement recovery time is one of the first questions patients ask if knee surgery is required. Simply speaking, knee replacement recovery will vary from person to person or from the various types of knee replacement surgery performed.
This is an approximate guide for knee replacement recovery time and the expectations from a total knee replacement surgery. We outlined the recovery process which can be expected within a given time frame.
Short-term Knee Replacement Recovery
Short-term knee replacement recovery time primarily involves the first stages of recovery. This stage could take around 12 weeks (3 months).
Knee Replacement Recovery Time After 24 Hours…
Within or after 24 hours, a patient can already get up from bed and bear his/her weight on the affected knee. During this time, a need to use a walking cane, frame or crutches may arise. It is highly recommended to start exercising right away.
This will help progress through the rehabilitation program. Taking care of your knee and the affect wounds should be adhered to until the stitches are removed. Stitch removal usually happens a week or so after your knee operation.
Knee Replacement Recovery Time After the First Month…
Expect a swollen or sore knee during the first month after knee replacement surgery. Post-operative pain will be experienced but the intensity of the pain decreases after a few weeks. Swelling can be reduced by utilizing knee compression bandages, ice/cold compresses, or other rehabilitative braces.
After the first month, patients can already observe some improvements to the knee. In addition, patients can begin doing light driving or walking around without the assistance of crutches. During the first month, regular exercise and compliance with the rehabilitation program is extremely important.
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Knee Replacement Recovery Time After the Third Month…
Continuing with the rehabilitation program 3 months after your knee operation will continue to help in the progress of healing. During this time you should feel more flexibility and strength. The patient can start participating in light chores and other minimal activities.
However, avoid anything that puts extreme stress on the affected knee such as kneeling, squatting or pivoting. You will experience nominal swelling, soreness and pain during this period which is considered normal. During this stage your doctor will give you the green light to go back to work if your job has limited walking or heavy knee related activities.
Long-Term Knee Replacement Recovery
Long-term recovery involves the later stages of recovery which happens after 12 weeks (3 months). During this recovery period, complete healing of soft tissue can be expected as well as getting back to a normal everyday routine.
Knee Replacement Recovery Time After the Sixth Month…
Knee swelling and soreness should be almost completely gone. Going back to work for the more demanding jobs can begin during this stage. Regular exercises are still as important as in the first month to help with the full knee recovery.
As recovery progresses you can begin participating in various moderate activities and sports such as swimming and cycling. However, some physical activities are still not advised as it might cause too much stress on the new knee joint. These include: football, basketball, tennis and skiing.
Getting Back to Normal…
Complete knee replacement recovery time may take up to two years from the time of the surgery. During this period, scarred tissue continues to heal while muscles continue to be restored and repaired through your rehabilitation exercises. Returning back to one’s normal life and preferred activities can be expected.
Note – It may take a few years for full recovery. In addition, various activities might have to be completely avoided as it puts too much strain or stress on the affected knee. See our list of activities you can do with bad knees! Consult with your doctor or physiotherapist for advice.
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