Total Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery Tips

By Medical Expert Team

Mar 07 , 2022 | 6 min read

Knee replacement also referred to as Knee Arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure done to replace bone and cartilage, damaged by conditions such as osteoarthritis or injury, with a prosthesis. This surgery is considered after medication, physical therapy, and exercise have failed to provide relief. Knee replacement surgery is safe and effective and helps relieve the pain. It also restores the function of the knee joint, thereby helping in movement.

What Was Done to my Knee During my Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

  • A knee replacement surgery is performed under Spinal/general anesthesia.
  • Once the anesthesia is administered, the orthopedic surgeon from BLK-Max Hospital will make an incision and remove the damaged surfaces of the knee joint. This could involve cartilage or bone that has undergone degeneration due to disease or injury. These will be replaced with knee prosthesis made from high-grade polymers or metal alloys.
  • The prosthetic knee is attached to the bone and cemented with surgical-grade cement.
  • The incision is then closed and a drain may be placed to remove excess fluid.

The Best Position to Sleep at Night

It is common to expect some pain and soreness immediately following surgery. Most patients take up to 6 weeks to return to normal activities and it may take about 6 months to a year to gain the full benefits of the knee replacement surgery. In the meanwhile, it is important to take the precautions that your doctor recommends. The best position to sleep in is on your back. This allows the leg to stay extended and ensures proper blood flow to the surgical site. You may want to prop up your leg with a rolled-up towel or soft pillow while sleeping.

Walk as Soon as Possible

Within three weeks, you can walk without crutches. In the starting, walk for 10 minutes. Gradually with the help of your physical therapist, you can push more.

Exercise To Perform Right After Surgery

Regular breathing exercises, thigh squeezing, knee straightening, moving feet up and down, etc., can be performed.

Best Way to go up and down the Stairs with my cane

  • After a total knee arthroplasty surgery, you may be asked to avoid the stairs for a few days.
  • Then, as you start to use the cane for support, you will need to go up and down the stairs slowly.
  • Hold the banister or the railing with one hand and the cane with the other. Climb up with the non-operative leg and bring the other to join it before you take another step up.
  • While climbing down, use your operative foot to step down and bring the other to join it. As your flexibility and strength increase, you may start alternating one step per foot.
Your physical therapist will meet you within 24 hours of your total knee replacement surgery and start to work on a PT plan. Some of the exercises after total knee replacement include -
  • Ankle Pumps - Lay flat on your back with your legs straight and move your ankles up and down.
  • Quadriceps Sets -Lay down on your back and tighten the thigh muscles pressing the back of your knees to the bed. Hold for a count of 5 and then relax.
  • Gluteal Sets - Lay flat on your back. Squeeze your buttocks together and hold for a count of 5. Relax.
  • Seated Knee Exercise - Sit erect in a chair. Now slowly straighten your operative knee. Return the leg slowly to the starting position.
  • Assisted Knee Bending - Sit erect in a chair. Now, slowly bend the operative knee as far as it will bend. Use your other leg to support it. When you feel a mild stretch, hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position.
  • Assisted Knee Straightening - Sit erect in a chair. Now, slowly stretch the operative knee as far as it will go. Use your other leg to support it. When you feel a mild stretch hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position.

Working With a Physical Therapist after Surgery

You must enlist the help of a physical therapist following your surgery. This will help shorten your total knee replacement recovery time and help you gain full flexibility and function as soon as possible. The physical therapists at BLK Max Hospital will help you get back to routine activities in a gradually phased manner to avoid damaging or injuring the surgical prosthesis while allowing time for the site to heal.

Your doctor at BLK Max Hospital will recommend the length or duration of physical therapy needed; most patients require at least 4 weeks of formal physical therapy following the surgery.


To restore the functions and relieve the pain of the severely diseased knee joints, operate them with a knee replacement surgery. If you have a fear of pain after surgery, rest assured. It will never be excruciating or intolerable. With the help of an ice machine and compression socks, you can tolerate the pain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q What activity should be avoided immediately following a total knee replacement?

Most high-impact, high-risk activities are to be avoided immediately following the total knee replacement surgery. Squatting, jogging, any exercise that stresses the knee should be avoided till you are cleared by the physical therapist. You may have to completely avoid high-impact activities. It is best to discuss precautions with your doctor and physical therapist.

Q Can you crawl on your knees after total knee replacement?

Even as the healing process starts and you gain both strength and range of motion, there will be certain activities that are best avoided due to the risk of injury or fall. Kneeling may be possible if the physical therapist clears you to. Crawling on your knees, however, carries a risk of damaging the prosthesis and should be avoided.

Q What is the most commonly reported problem after total knee replacement surgery?

Most patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery are happy with the freedom from pain, increased range of movement, and activity levels. There are, however, certain problems that could be reported. These include stiffness of the knee, infection of the surgical site, clicking sound during movement, and wearing out of prosthesis (in the long run). If you are concerned about these, it is best to discuss the risks with your doctor at BLK Max Hospital.

Q How long after total knee replacement will you be pain-free?

Right after surgery, most patients report mild pain for 2-4 weeks. This pain reduces as the knee starts to heal. Some stiffness and soreness can be expected for a few months and total recovery could take up to a year.

Q When can I go back to work?

Normally, it takes 4-6 weeks for patients to resume their desk job after surgery. But, in the case of a physically demanding job, it takes quite a long recovery time.

Q How long will it be before I feel normal?

Within six months, you can resume your normal easy activities and get freedom from all crutches. Generally, it takes a year to regain knee strength and perform all normal activities.

Q When can I do the housework?

For the starting three months, you can only be able to manage light chores like dusting, washing, etc., and can perform in the starting three months. Till then, avoid any heavy activities like vacuum cleaning, etc.

Q Will, I have to go back to the hospital?

It takes 4-5 days for a patient to leave the hospital after surgery. Nowadays, some hospitals provide outpatient surgery facilities. You can get discharged within 23-24 hours after this surgery.

Q Will, I need another new knee?

The implanted knee can long for 15-20 years. Suppose you have surgery at a younger age. In that case, you usually need to undergo a second operation when the period is over.

Written and Verified by:

Medical Expert Team