Average Recovery Time For Knee Replacement

recovery photo

After having knee surgery, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. “Why can’t I lift my leg?”, “How am I supposed to use the bathroom?”, “Is this amount of pain normal?”,  and last but certainly not least, “What’s the average recovery time for knee replacement surgery?”etc.

Before you say anything realize this: It’s normal for anyone that’s uncomfortable or in a bit of distress to want to get out of it as soon as possible. You’re not the only one who’s had these questions or similar ones. It happens with most anyone after they’ve had a knee (or two!) replaced.

I have personally asked people who have recently gone through the surgery “What’s the one question you have about your rehab program?”

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What’s The Timeline For Total Knee Recovery

The answer they give more than any other is they want to have a better understanding of the knee replacement recovery timeline. It seems that during the whole process that this bit of information has either been forgotten or lost site of.

That’s probably because it wasn’t adequately emphasized during the build up to the knee replacement surgery date. When you’re getting ready to undergo a major surgery like this, there is a lot of preparation that your doctors and you have to go through.

The long and the short of it is that people really want to know what to expect after having a total knee. They want to get back to their lives. They have stuff that need’s doing and they can’t remember if anyone has said exactly how long is recovery after knee replacement surgery.

There is no ball park answer to recovery time. But, for a lot of people about 3-4 months is usually when they start feeling really confident about their abilities. But, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be totally healed by this time. Many doctors say 6 months to a year.

Many people, after getting a tkr, don’t realize that their muscles are going to be very weak after being down for several months. It takes time to heal, and then build strength, and them place demands on the repaired leg. Keep in mind, it is a major surgery.

How Long Will It Take To Get Better After TKR

And, your recovery time is also dependent on how well you heal, if you have any co-morbidities like diabetes, obesity, heart problems, etc. If you have other things that will slow you down or affect your healing process, then you may take a little longer than they next person to get back in the saddle.

TimeLine Example

Week 1-3
You’re usually discharged to home within the first week of surgery. And, you’re going to feel pretty useless during the first couple of weeks after surgery. But work on your range of motion and keeping your swelling down by elevating and using a good ice pack.

STAY AHEAD OF YOUR PAIN! By taking your pain meds routinely and using ice.

By about the end of week 2 you’ll be walking pretty well but still using the walker. You’re going to still need to really focus on your bending and straightening.

At the end of week 3 you’ll probably start feeling a lot better about yourself and see some light at the end of the tunnel. Your leg will still be stiff but it won’t hurt as much and you’ll be able to move it around better.

Week 4-6
This is when the inflammatory process starts to wind down. Having gotten the staples removed and with the swelling diminished, you should start seeing good gains in range of motion. That is if you’ve been diligent with your exercise routine.

You will probably start forgetting to use your walker and find that you’re pushing your limits a little too much. You’ll know this because you’re going to find that you “over do it” and have to spend time recovering.

Week 7-12
Now you’re probably really feeling a little more “frisky”. However, just because you feel this way does not mean that you and your knee are “ready to get back in the game”.

This is a critical time that you really need to be careful. You’re going to feel like doing a lot more physical activity and feel as though you’re a super hero. But, you’re still not out of the woods. Your body is still recovering from the trauma of the surgery.

Getting some insight from your outpatient physical therapist at this time is a good idea. Progress slowly in the amount of activity that you want to do and remember, high impact things like jogging or playing tennis are things that should be avoided.

How To Best Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery

The best thing to do to ensure a swift and speedy recovery is to follow your doctor’s recommendations and those of any other health care professional you’re working with.

Get into a daily routine of working on your range of motion and managing your swelling. Rest so that your operated leg is not constantly irritated and inflamed.

Make sure that you’re diet and water intake is good enough to nourish your body and supply it with all the healing nutrients you need.

And, be patient.

Nature may seem like it’s taking ages to do it’s job. But, that’s just because we don’t understand all the things that are going on behind the scenes. Trust that your body knows what it’s doing and things will probably turn out just fine.

Physical Therapist

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38 thoughts on “Average Recovery Time For Knee Replacement
  1. Val connolly

    I have had knee replacement surgery 9dec and today26jan 2017im only getting not much pain .ican bend my knee and walk with no crutches or walker the pain is still effecting me I want the pain to go away but when everything is true with the exercise and keep doing it

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hello Val,
      Along with the exercise, your doctor may tell you to keep using your ice packs to keep your swelling down. It’s really not about “how much you can do” that gets you better. It’s about how much you “rest” your knee and work on your range of motion. The more active you are, the more pain and swelling you’re going to have. Have you started outpatient physical therapy yet?

      Best of luck

       
      Reply
  2. Patricia Elizabeth Green

    I had a full knee replacement on 31st December 2016. I developed a severe infection and was given amoxiclav. I was told to tell the nurse when my staples had to be removed to only take every other one. But she took them all, the next day my scar split and I was back in hospital for steri strips. I also caught a second infection. I was put back on amoxiclav. I can bend my knee slightly and go for short walks. My sleep is practically non existent. My infection has gone but my knee still has a slight seeping.

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Patricia, I am so sorry to here about this. Its a common practice to remove every other staple if there is a potential for dishiscence. This gives the wound a little more time to heal.

      It sounds like your case has had a couple of complications and you should keep in close contact with your surgeon and seek out a physical therapist that you have confidence in. Your therapist and you will need to partner in your rehab program, you being able to communicate just what you’re feeling and they being able to modify your treatment for the best gains.

      I wish you all the best as you continue to recover.

       
      Reply
  3. fenando ramirez

    Hi, I am a 55 year old active athlete. I had right knee total replacement. I had my first ACL surgery when I was 28. After my first surgery I had 4 more with cleanups and meniscus tears as well as another ACL .

    Finally after a couple of years on bone to bone, I was a candidate fo the surgery on Dec23 2016.
    As of today January 30 my bending is 115 and flexion 0. The swallowing is there all the time. Questions: my range is much better now than before surgery, but will I be able to get my bending back from 20 years ago.
    will I be able to play soccer, as I was doing until the bone to bone problem 2 years ago?

    By the way—I KNOCK ON WOOD—-NO PROBLEMS AT ALL WITH MY LEFT KNEE

    THANK YOU

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      That’s a great story Fernando! I am happy that your surgery and recovery have been as smooth as it is. The one thing to keep in mind about the swelling is that you need to manage it well. Make sure you elevate your leg above your heart level. Lay on the bed and get your leg as high as you can and be comfortable. This will get help get the good blood in and the bad blood out. It will probably need to be done several times a day as you go through the healing process.

      Your Range of motion sounds great right now. Since you’re in pretty good shape ( I am assuming) and used to being active, there’s no reason to think you shouldn’t continue to progress. Keep this in mind though, your right knee is not the same as your left knee. You have “after market parts” in it. So, it may always move and feel a little different than your other knee.

      As far as playing soccer goes, this is something that you and your doctor need to discuss. There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to how much and what kind of activity to do after a joint replacement.

       
      Reply
  4. Caren calvert

    I had total knee replacement on aug 30 2016 and I am still having a lot of trouble. I was extremely sick from the pain Meds and anisetic for almost 3 months but I did the machine and also theraphy. My dr had me do theraphy for almost 4 months. I can only raise my foot about 6 ” off the ground and can not bend much at all. I can straighten with not problem. I got to a 115 in bend in theraphy but that was painful and most of the time it was in the 90’s at best. My dr says it is my fault I am not better but I have done what I was told. Any help you can offer Thanks

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hi Caren,
      I am sorry to hear what’s happening with you. Sometimes it takes a long time because of pain, swelling, and persistent inflammation. I cannot really tell what may be limiting your progress, but, I do recommend that patients understand that its not just a matter of doing the exercise but understanding why you’re doing them and what you should be feeling as you do them.
      Too many people think that forcing themselves to do this or that is what the therapist wants. But if you’re to aggressive and you’re only working on range of motion with the therapist, many times, you don’t have good progress if you only exercise 1 to twice a week instead of 3-4 times daily.
      What I could say is that if you elevate above your heart level and keep the swelling out and then gently but firmly work on your bending and straightening exercises, you are doing essentially what you need to do.
      You may need to fire one therapist and hire another that may try a different approach.
      Best of luck to you

       
      Reply
  5. Terry K Lind

    It was good to read that it takes months to get back to 100%. I’m just 6 weeks out and doing really well. But still tire easily. I seen a fella at rehab yesterday who had TKR 2 weeks before be and still was not bending his knee.
    I think rehab has a lot to do with how bad the knee was before surgery. He had gone to knee brace could not straighten before.
    I was early on and not even using cane or etc.

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hey Terry,
      It sounds like you’re doing pretty good. Thank you for sharing your experience. It does take longer than people realize or want. We’re used to immediate gratification, but that doesn’t work with a surgery. And, it will take longer to rehab your knee if you have been walking on a bent leg for several years.

      Thanks again and best of luck with your rehab

       
      Reply
  6. susan

    I had one total knee replacement in Oct. 2015 — bone on bone — I could hardly walk. In April 2016 I had a partial knee replacement on the other knee. I am able to walk fine, but as far as pain goes, when I’m sitting and stand — it takes a few seconds and I’m very stiff for a bit. When I move in bed at night from side to side, I feel pain. Kneeling on my knees is very hard. I’m just wondering if this is as good as it gets or can I exercise and feel like these knees are really mine as some point. My range of motion is excellent.

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hello Susan, wow. It seems you’ve had both knees worked on, right? To be upfront, your questions should be directed to a physical therapist or doctor that is actually treating you. It’s impossible (and unethical) for anyone online to diagnose and give any reasonable medical advice.
      But, with that being said, there are a couple of things to consider: 1) Generally kneeling on your knee caps is not a good idea. When your knees have been replaced, the doctor usually replaces the back of the patella, or knee cap, also. Kneeling on these replaced knee caps puts a lot of pressure on the replaced areas and will be uncomfortable. Most doctors I know say not to do it. 2) With a successful knee replacement surgery, most of the residual pain is from muscles and tendons. Keeping the muscles and tissues in your hips, knees, and ankles, stretched and limber will help with pain management. In addition, you may need to ice your knees from time to time if there is any inflammation in the area.
      If you see a physical therapist again for this problem, ask them specifically to help you to determine if your lifestyle is keeping your knees irritated and inflamed. You can also ask them to assess the range of motion and strength in your hip, knee, and ankle muscles. This may give you a little better insight into why you’re having these persistent problems.

       
      Reply
      1. susan

        Thanks for your reply. It was helpful. I did get back with my surgeons office and I’m guessing I’m one of the over 40% who will always have pain after these surgeries. I haven’t given up and will continue with the stretching and exercising which in the past several months I have been very remiss with. I was never given a long range plan except that my PT did say I should bicycle.

         
        Reply
        1. Physical Therapist

          Hi Sue, I was happy to hear that you did get something from my reply. While every surgical patient wants to be “normal” or better, at the same time it must be remembered that any surgery is an “un-natural” act and interrupts the delicate balance we all have in our bodies. Especially if the surgery introduces some foreign objects into our bodies that weren’t there at our beginning.

          But with that said, it’s also good to understand that rehab can sometimes take year(s). It depends on a lot of thing like your commitment level, your physical health, your understanding of what’s expected, how to do what’s expected and so on and so forth.

          I would encourage you to not just focus on your knee but on your hips and ankles as well. It might be good to find another approach to exercising to help you get and stay flexible through out your lower half. Things like yoga, tai chi, myofascial release, and even acupuncture may provide more relief and improvement. Look up different health forums and reach out to others who may have had or who may know someone who has had a good recovery with their tKR to get even more information.

          Don’t give up just yet. You may find something you haven’t thought of yet.

          Best of luck.

           
          Reply
  7. Becky

    Hi my name is Becky. I had left knee replacement on Dec 6 2016. My last range of motion was 115. Still having a lot of stiffness and a little pain. Is there anything I can do to get the stiffness away or is this a part of the recovery.

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hi Becky. Your range of motion sounds great.

      I have to tell all my visitors that any information that is provided on this website through articles, videos, or comments are not to be substituted for medical advice but is for education and for information only.

      As far as stiffness goes, in my mind it could be related to 1 or 2 things…or a combo of each. 1) swelling or 2) tight muscles from inflammation. I tell my patients to keep elevating the knee above heart level to manage any swelling that may be there. As far as stiff muscles, most patients (and therapists) focus only on the knee muscles. It’s important to stretch the hip muscles and the ankle/foot muscles also.

      Specifically the psoas, the ilio-tibial band, the hamstrings, and the calf muscle (gastroc nemius). Keeping these muscles limber will give you more motion at the knee. Seek out a physical therapist that can help you develop a program for these specific muscles before you start out.

      Hope things continue to progress for you. Keep up the good work.

       
      Reply
  8. Fran

    I had TKR of the right knee on 1/23/2017. Just today measured rom of 112/0. I was 138 before surgery. Is it possible to get back there?

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hello Fran, You can definitely make much more progress where it eventually stops is unknown. But, you probably have a lot more room to go. Remember that your healing/rehab process will take months to complete. Not days or weeks. You’re going to probably still be able to make gains way after you thought you had finished.

      best of luck in your rehab

       
      Reply
  9. Brenda

    TKR on Feb 22, 2017 I’m 3 weeks out but have only had PT for 2 weeks. I’ve only been able to get to 85 degrees so far. Every PT visit starts out @ only 30 to 40 and I have to work to stretch to get back to 85. Very frustrating. Is this normal? They make me feel as though I’m behind. How often should I elevate and ice? I would do this every hour but they also told me not to irritate the area because inflammation would be bad as well.
    Any suggestions for stretching more often. Every time, I feel as though the knee is swelled too much to stretch.

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hi Brenda. Keep up the good work with your exercises. That’s what I will say first.

      Getting to 85 degrees is good but you do want to be better. But, thats going to take time and determination on your part. As for your questions, the main thing that I am getting from you is that you want to know “how much exercising and icing” should you be doing, right?

      My answer is: “That depends.”

      I tell my patients to mark 4 weeks off on their calendars, set aside 3-4 specific times ( for instance, 9am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm) during the day to perform their exercises and end with elevation and ice for 15-30 minutes. Pick round numbers of reps for your exercises like 10 or 20. And then do your exercising and icing/elevation at the same times everyday for those 4 weeks.

      If you’re hurting a lot, back off on the number of repetitions or sessions and increase the amount of time elevating and icing. But the trick is to stay consistent with what you’re doing on a daily basis. Don’t do 10 today, 50 tomorrow and then 22 then next day. Or don’t do 2 sessions today, skip tomorrow and then try to make up by doing 6 sessions the next day. Make it consistent. See if your progressing and if so stick with that routine. If you’re not progressing, modify it as needed.

      Your physical therapist should be able to help you set something up like this.

      Best of luck to you.

       
      Reply
  10. Kathy Fischer

    I had total knee replacement 3/7/17, came home 3/9/17. I take pain meds every 3 hrs, but try to stretch it to 4 hrs. I can sleep thru the night, 5 – 6 hrs. I have what they call a “drop foot.”. This makes it hard to do my walking; have to get a cast for my left foot. Is this common? How long can I expect this to last?

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hello Kathy, Your surgery is quite recent it seems. A lot of people try to stretch out their pain medications also. However, it’s a common misconception that this practice helps you recover more quickly or adds to the healing process. It really has nothing to do with how fast you recover. But, some people just don’t like to take pain medications and try to avoid it for personal reasons. I usually encourage people to avoid pain if it’s possible. When you have less pain you can do more exercising.

      As far as your drop foot goes, that is something that is better addressed by someone that is working with you personally. It’s not unheard of to have a “drop foot” after a surgery like yours and could have happened for any number of reasons which makes it difficult to say how long it could last. I know that may sound a little vague but it’s the best answer I can give you.

      What I would encourage you to focus on is what you have direct control over. When, how, and how often you are bending, straightening, and elevating your knee. These 3 activities will see you through your knee rehab. Once you’re done with that, maybe your drop foot will have resolved.

      Best of luck with your knee rehab.

       
      Reply
  11. Dave

    I had bilateral knee replacement on Jan. 30th. The first couple of weeks were a little difficult but ever since then I have been making excellent progress. I started back to work last Monday (3/20) and am feeling that I am making progress each day. The only thing that is really bothering me are leg cramps that I am getting on the outside of my lower left leg. My therapist gave me some exercises to do to help with them. They sometimes keep me up at night.

    Any advice?

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Dave, you took the big dive and had both replaced at the same time. That’s pretty rare air you’re in. I am glad to hear that you’re back at work. That’s pretty quick to get back at it (although I don’t know what you do) many people with 1 knee replaced take that long to get back to working.

      Up front, I am not your therapist and so, I only provide you with how I would think about approaching your problem if I was treating you.

      As far as the cramps go, I can only guess at what might be causing it. But you have to find the cause before you can find a treatment. As a physical therapist, I only really deal with the muscular system. That’s because I really can’t influence the nerves or the bones. So, as I consider your question, I consider what may be going on with your muscles.

      Your peroneal muscles run down the outside of your lower leg and attach at the foot. Their action is to relatively tilt (evert) the outside of the foot up with walking.

      You may be getting cramps on the outside of your lower left leg because your peroneal muscles are being overworked because your calf (plantar flexors) is(are) too tight. This will limit the amount of dorsiflexion that you’re able to perform on the left foot. This is necessary for a smooth “swing through” during normal everyday walking. In order to compensate for the lack of dorsiflexion you may be unconsciously performing more “eversion” with your foot in order for your left foot to clear the floor as you’re walking (this stops you from tripping or stubbing your toe). So, doing a calf stretch in addition to a peroneal stretch may be helpful.

      Another thing that may be going on (but its a long shot) is that the muscles on the outside of your right hip may be tight also. These are the gluteus minimus/medius and the tensor fascia lata muscles. If they are tight they may not be allowing you to weight shift far enough to the right in order to clear your left foot over the floor as you’re walking. The remedy to this is to simply stretch the said muscles to relieve some of the tension there and normalize motion.

      While I cannot recommend that you do either of these as I am not your therapist, it is the first thing that I would explore to see if I could correct the problem.

      Hope you were able to glean something from that and keep up the good work on your rehab. Sounds outstanding.

       
      Reply
  12. Debi

    TKR on left knee was 10/13/16. ROM is good, but even after pt beginning hours after surgery for 5 weeks and muscle building/strengthening, I’m 6 months out and still having difficulty building muscle. Even my pt is perplexed. He calls me an ectomorph. ??? I have “holes” on the inside of my knee and quad areas and calf area. I do strengthening/building daily for the quads, hips and calf muscles. I am unable to take NSAIDS so I still have inflammation regardless of icing. Needless to say I am starting to really get depressed, feeling vulnerable and just plain old bitchy, not my normal outlook. I also have a constant feeling that my knee inside is wrapped in bubble wrap, which my surgeon just doesn’t grasp. He says I’m progressing nicely as my ROM is 135. But I’m not happy. I ride on a stationary bike to warm up, do leg and hip strengthening routines, stretches. What am I doing wrong?

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hi Debi,

      Hmmm…. That sounds like a pretty tricky situation. Let me say up front that with situations like this (you’re doing all the right things and not getting results) it really has nothing to do with whether you’re doing something right or wrong.

      Your muscles don’t know your motivation so to speak. They just know if they are being worked or not. Muscle only responds to 1 type of stimuli. It’s pretty basic. If you challenge the muscle to the point of fatigue and failure, it will grow new tissue. Its pretty straight forward. Your age may have something to do with it as older people do not grow muscle as fast and as dense as younger people.

      The question I would ask you is if you’re getting stronger? If you’re getting stronger, then your muscle is working. It just may not be getting as big as you think it should. However, on the other hand, if your leg isn’t really getting stronger and you’re really working it out, then that’s a question for your doctor/2nd opinion needs to address.

      You may want to ask your doctor if it’s okay if you get some bodywork or massage/myofascial release done to the knee. the fact that it has “holes” in the area may possibly due to a restriction of some sort.

      It’s pretty hard to say from afar if you know what I mean.

      In addition, you may want to get another opinion from a physical therapist also. It helps to get other people to look at your problem personally and face to face to really get an idea of what’s going on.

      I am sorry that I don’t have anything more concrete to share with you.

      Best of luck with your continued recovery.

       
      Reply
  13. Mark Handzlik

    I had TKR on right knee June 8th. I’m 57, overweight male (265 – 6′). My advice to anyone reading the thread is to work on losing weight if possible and to exercise several times each day and then rest/relax and ice your knee. My first week was very difficult, no mobility, leg brace, pain, etc. At 14-days I hit my first milestone, walking without walker; using cane. Then 21-days; no cane, no TED stockings, no leg pump and minimal ice therapy. Now at 28-days I’m off to the gym for low weight exercises and recumbent bike/treadmill. While I don’t feel stable enough to run or trek on uneven ground and long term walking is still tiring and causes pain; everything else is going great. So, stay upbeat; don’t give up, do your exercises and REST. Remember, weight loss and exercise; no matter how little – should be your goal. Stay Positive!

     
    Reply
  14. Tim Woodcock

    This is the most excellent advice I have read, I am at week 7 following TKR and can vouch for the fact that though I feel considerably better and have an excellent range of movement, there are still times when I ‘over do’ things and have to rest. Early days still but making fabulous progress. It will give me my life back I am certain, just need to be patient and let nature take its course.

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Tim I am happy you found my blog post beneficial and happy for you that you’re having a good recovery. Just be patient, don’t keep the knee irritated, and make sure to manage the swelling and you’ll be back on your regular walks in no time. At least it sounds that way.

      Keep up the good work and best wishes.

       
      Reply
  15. Greg

    I just read all the questions and great answers on your site I’m having TKR Sept 18 I guess I’m getting anxious Trying to get an idea what I’m up against when I get home after surgery I have lots of family support etc My biggest question is how long til I can climb stairs I live in an old farm house with one bathroom UPSTAIRS !!!! I’ve heard a couple of days and a couple of weeks with everything between lol I’m also wondering if you have a section on your site or a link to a site where I can find out all the things I need at home for my recovery ie bandages etc I’m still waiting for my info pack from my surgeon for a month. with one month to go I want to have everything needed Looking forward to your reply to my lengthy rambling
    Thank you very much
    Cheers
    Greg

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hey Greg, it’s good that you’re getting everything prepared ahead of time. with this attitude, I doubt you will many problems. The thing that limits people on stair climbing is pain in the operated leg. In order to climb steps you need to stand briefly on the operated leg to advance one step at a time. If you have hand rails on either side, you may be able to manage pretty quickly, say in a couple of days. But, you may want to limit stair climbing to once or twice a day at the most. It’ll feel like you did a days work.
      You may want to get a bedside commode to take care of nature’s calls. It may make life easier for the first week or so and also, sponge baths versus showers until you can get up and down the stairs easily. Let the therapist in the hospital know how many steps you have and they will probably show you how to negotiate steps before you leave the hospital.

      As far as what you should have prior to the surgery, I don’t have a reference for that. But its a good idea to add to this blog. There is probably something out there online, but different doctors recommend and require different things and so the best place to get that info is from your surgeon or his staff.

      Best of luck with your pending surgery and if you have any more ideas about the website let me know. Thanks

       
      Reply
  16. LindaNewYork

    I had total knee replacement on 7/31/17. Monday will be be 7 weeks since surgery. My knee was not in such great shape prior to surgery. bone on bone due to several meniscus tears and arthritis.

    I am still only at 85 degrees and PT got me to 102 with A LOT of pain this past Wednesday.

    I still have swelling that I try to control with elevating and icing several times a day. I have PT 3X per week and do on my own on the off days. I also sit at computer for as long as possible keeping my knee bent and moving back little by little, but with pain.

    I am walking OK without assistance, but slowly.

    I’m concerned that I am way behind in recovery and concerned that this is not only swelling, but scar tissue.

    I am completely frustrated, still dealing with pain, though I am now taking Tramadol with Acetominephine.

    I am hoping with continued PT I can go further and i am terrified of going to the Doctor next week as it seems doctors put a timeline of 6 weeks for at least 95 degrees bend, and might recommend a MUA. I do not want to start over.

     
    Reply
    1. Physical Therapist

      Hello Linda,
      I am sorry to hear about your challenges. A lot of readers of this blog have had similar stories like yours. Make sure you’re reading some of the comments in this blog post and others. There may (or may not) be some nuggets in there that will give you some encouragement.

      In cases where people are not making progress with knee flexion, I encourage them to check to see if there is any swelling and if so, how much. A swollen, irritated knee joint is difficult to bend. In addition to the swelling, I ask people if they are stretching their “hamstrings” (the muscles on the back of the thigh). Tight hamstrings can limit the amount of bend a knee has. To check if your hamstrings are tight, try to touch your toes with your knee straight. If you can’t do so without the knee bending, then you probably have tight hamstrings.
      Lastly, I encourage people to stretch their “hip flexors” these are the muscles that rest on top of the thigh. If they are tight, then it’s difficult to bend the knee also.
      Any of these stretches can be looked up on youtube or your physical therapist can design them for you.

      In closing, I would like to address a common misconception when it comes to “bending the knee” after a knee replacement. Many people think that “forcing” it is the way to go. Most of the time this only ends up irritating the tissues. I, on the other hand, like to describe it as “coaxing” the knee to bend. you want to “pressure” the knee and surrounding tissues gently but you want to avoid “forcing” it to bend.

      In general, if something/someone is “forced” to do something, then there is generally a negative reaction to it. Try finding a way to “coax” the knee to bend and make sure you’re managing your swelling. It will help.

      I hope that you’re able to glean something from my comment and I wish you all the best.

       
      Reply
  17. Julia Edwards

    I am in the process of getting a right knee replacement scheduled. I was wondering how to best prepare my home for the recovery period. Is a lift recliner chair a good idea? Also suggestion for other modifications would be appreciated. Also I was wondering if there was a machine to help with passive ROM that would be beneficial. Thanks!

     
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    1. Physical Therapist

      Hello Julie,
      It’s good to think about preparing the home prior to the surgery. As far as what you may need really depends on several factors. Your height, weight, age, any pre-existing conditions, etc. It’s safe to say that if you’re relatively healthy and that you’re in relative good shape, you may not need as much as you think.

      Off the top of my head, some things you will need are a walker and a shower chair. You may need a bedside commode or elevated toilet seat if your toilets are low to the ground or if you happen to be tall.

      With that said, a “wedge” pillow may help you elevate your leg for managing the swelling, a couple of gel ice packs or a ice compression device will also help with swelling and pain.

      If you are relatively young, healthy, and not too much overweight, you will probably do just fine with the chairs you already have in your home. You can modify them with pillows if necessary as your condition of limited mobility is only temporary and you’ll eventually get back to normal or better!

      Having some good books or an Ipad or something to pass the time while you’re lying in bed and recovering is always helpful. You may want to clear pathways to different areas of your home to make sure your walking will be able to make it through without any trouble. And, you’ll probably want to pick up any throw rugs you have in the home. This decreases the potential for trips and stumbles.

      I hope this helps. Specific questions like this are difficult to answer because everyone is different and live in their own unique spaces.

      Best of luck to you.

       
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