How long does it take to recover from knee replacement

Most patients undergoing ‘Total Knee Replacement’ surgery want to know when they will be able to resume their normal lives and routines. Orthopedic Surgeons claim that normally people take three to six months to completely recover post surgery.

Recovery is an aspect that is completely  different and varies from person to person depending on his or her body structure, immune system, mental health and even attitude towards life. Knee Replacement Surgery is a life changing experience where one’s body undergoes extreme changes because one of the important and sensitive  organ gets replaced.

There are two types of recovery phases which are either short-term or long-term. Short-term recovery requires the patient to walk with minimal aid or no aid and to give up major pain medications in favour of over-the-counter pain relief. This occurs within twelve weeks post surgery. Long-term recovery is what patients normally ask about returning to work and resuming normal life activities. An Orthopedic expert will suggest the recovery measures. Many small or large issues can crop up during a recovery from a small pimple near the wound to a terrific pain.

As one person is different from others, the recovery will also vary accordingly. Usually, doctors make a patient stand on his or her feet within 24 hours post surgery. Walking with a frame or crutches is suggested and encouraged. Most people are able to walk independently with sticks, a week after the surgery but this can vary depending on the individual.

When the patient is in hospital, physiotherapist teaches him exercises to strengthen the knee and such a patient must perform these exercises for a month or two as the orthopedic surgeon suggests. Post surgery, one can find discomfort in walking or exercising and can even experience swelling. In that case, passive motion machine can give relief by relieving pain.

Such a patient can stop using crutches or walking frame about 5 to 6 weeks after the surgery. Even after his or her bones have recovered, it is best to avoid extreme movements where there is a risk of falling or receiving injuries. One can resume driving when he or she can bend the knee smoothly without any discomfort and when one can get  in and out of a car and control the car properly . This is usually around four to six weeks post surgery, but one has to check with physiotherapist or orthopedic  doctor whether it is safe to drive.

For three months, one should be able to manage light chores, such as dusting and washing up. Such a patient should avoid heavy household tasks like vacuuming and changing the beds. One should not stand for long periods as it may be painful and may also cause ankle swelling and avoid stretching up or bending down for the first six weeks.

A patient who has undergone Knee Replacement surgery can continue to take  prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications  to help manage any pain and swelling on the operated areas or even on the toes. One can avoid twisting the knee  and take help of supportive shoes while walking and doing any physical activities. Sitting legs crossed can increase the pain around the knee so one can avoid such sitting posture. For couple of months after knee surgery, one can keep leg escalated and can use ice packs whenever needed.