Total Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery Time and What to Expect

It is important for people who are about to undergo total knee replacement and the people who will be supporting them to understand how quickly they will be able to recover various activities and mobility after the operation.

There is a wealthy of information about the operation but not much about recovery times. After patients are transferred to a post-operation recovery room for several hours and then moved to a hospital room. After several days and various tests patients go home.

Generally the after surgery, a physical therapist shows patients how to exercise their your new knee. Patients are also given lots of advice about wound care, exercise and diet. Patients are encouraged to be as active as possible and to undertake a staged walking mobility program, initially indoors and then outdoors.

Patients are also encouraged to resume their normal activities such as walking up and down stairs, and driving the car. They are also encouraged to do knee-strengthening exercises taught to them by physical therapists several times a day.

Walking is initially done with a walker, then a cane and then unassisted. Knee replacement recovery time vary from person to person, but what can patients expect for recovery times and resuming normal activities without pain?

Lateral view of a total knee prosthesis taken from a radiograph
Lateral view of a total knee prosthesis taken from a radiograph . Source: Public Domain
Knee Replacement wound close by staples
Knee Replacement wound close by staples. Source: Public Domain

General Recovery Time Expectations Guide for Total Knee Replacements

Most people recover well and quickly after surgery and patients are encouraged to go home in just a few days as this helps them adapt and resume their normal lives. Most people will be able to stand up on your their new knees within 24 hours, and to begin walking using a frame or crutches. After a few days most people can progress to walking short distances with a cane.

Key Aspects of the Recovery

Most people notice a dramatic improvement in their knees and improved mobility after about a month. Pain and swelling can take up to 3 months to disappear completely. The total knee replacement recovery process generally continues up to 2 years after the operation.

Things to Avoid for 6-8 weeks after surgery

Variability of Recovery Rates

Recovery times vary between individuals for various reasons. The two graphs provide an idea of the variability of the recovery rates for various activities and pain thresholds.

Pain Expectations when Walking

Recovery of Various Activities after Knee Surgery
Recovery of Various Activities after Knee Surgery. Source: Public Domain
Distance walked before pain gets severe
Distance walked before pain gets severe. Source: Public Domain
Knee Surgery Activity Recovery Times
Knee Surgery Activity Recovery Times. Source: Public Domain