If arthritis has caused damage or chronic pain in your knee joint, you would likely benefit from a total knee replacement. This treatment can help to relieve the pain and improve your mobility.
The recovery process after knee replacement surgery is a bit lengthy, but most patients say that it is well worth it. Let’s talk about what you can expect during recovery after having a knee replacement operation, and where you can go for an evaluation and treatment of your knee pain.
How Long Does Recovering From Knee Replacement Surgery Take?
When patients and their orthopedic surgeons agree that knee replacement surgery is a good option, one of the first questions or concerns usually is “how long will the recovery process take?” The simple answer would be about 13 weeks to recover. This timeline is dependant on a lot of factors such as type of procedure, limiting complications, and being consistent with their doctor and physical therapy visits.
Patients typically have a good understanding of the benefits of having a knee replaced, but they also appreciate knowing what is required to reach those benefits. A knee replacement, otherwise known as knee arthroplasty, is one of the most successful surgeries performed throughout the world. If you want to be a part of the 90% of people with a well-functioning knee, 15 years post-surgery, understanding each part of the recovery process can help you with that goal.
Balanced Physical Therapy has combined real-world experience with proven clinical research from around the internet to help you better understand each part of the recovery process, specific timelines for recovery, and why each element is essential.
THREE FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT HOW LONG IT TAKES TO RECOVER FROM KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY:
• Your condition before surgery — A body that is fit, well hydrated and energetic tends to take less time to recover from surgeries. However, the pain you feel from your injury might make it tough to meet these goals. Physical therapists offer pre-surgical rehab that can help reduce your pre-surgical pain. This service can help strengthen your body and prepare you for surgery, too.
• Additional medical issues — How long it takes to recover from knee replacement surgery can also be affected by other medical problems you have. Some examples of issues that can slow your recovery include:
• Lung conditions like emphysema.
• Poor blood flow.
• How hard you work to recover — People who recover faster tend to work as hard as they can during their post-surgical rehabilitation. This means they get information from their physical therapist about their recovery, and it also means asking questions about how to improve the quality of their recovery. In many cases, recovering faster also involves putting in work outside of your scheduled PT sessions. Please note, however, that you will want to avoid doing things that your doctor or physical therapist hasn’t approved yet.
Your Week by Week Knee Replacement Recovery Guide
The first 13 weeks following your surgery are vital for your healing. These first weeks set the tone for your recovery. Most people can expect to feel fully recovered after a year.
Here’s a brief overview of what to expect as you recover.
Typically, you will be discharged home one to five days after surgery. You will be expected to stand and sit without assistance and be able to walk using a walker or crutches.
You may need help at home with:
• Meal preparation
• Doing exercises
• Doctor’s appointments
At this point, you will most likely notice a marked improvement in your ability to bend your knee as well as increased strength. Your physical therapist may give you harder exercises and work with you to walk without crutches or a walker.
This is usually the point where you start to feel like yourself again. You may start to be able to do activities like cooking, cleaning, and going out. Most people will not have yet returned to work or be able to drive.
You may still need help with:
• Driving to appointments
• Picking up groceries
Once you’ve made it to week seven, you will probably feel like you are ready to return to normal. You may be able to walk on your own and start doing more physically demanding jobs like housekeeping, driving, and shopping. At this point your most crucial task is to stick to your exercise and rehab plan. This will continue to build your strength.
You may benefit from help with:
• Sticking to your exercise plan
• Regular visits from a professional caregiver to keep you motivated.
4 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL KNEE REPLACEMENT RECOVERY AT HOME
• STAY SAFE, AVOID FALLING OR GETTING HURT!
• MANAGE PAIN AND INFECTION!
• EAT WELL!
• GET MOVING, DO YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPY!
Other than that, if you need any online support before or after your surgery, you know where we are.