01st February 2023

6 Things You Should Know About Knee Replacement Surgery

Dr. Devan Patel, PharmD
6 Things You Should Know About Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. It can significantly improve your quality of life, but there are certain factors to consider before opting for the procedure.

Knee replacement surgery is growing increasingly common among adults over the age of 65, who are suffering from significant joint problems. 

The procedure involves replacing part or all of the knee joint with prosthetic components to reduce pain and improve mobility.

If you’re considering knee replacement surgery then it's important to know exactly what you can expect during recovery. 

This article will outline 6 things you should know after undergoing knee replacement surgery.


How Long Is Knee Replacement Recovery?

Knee replacement surgery recovery time depends on the individual and the type of surgery performed. Generally speaking, most people take up 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover. 

Physical activity starts soon after the operation but needs to be done cautiously in order to protect the fragile new joint.

Recovery time includes practice with proper body mechanics, rest, and physical therapy exercises to regain movement and strength. 

Patients can expect full recovery sometime 2-3 months following surgery, but it is important that they follow their surgeon's instructions and attend regular follow-up visits for monitoring of their progress.


How To Prepare for Your Knee Replacement Recovery

Recovering from surgery can be a difficult and challenging process, so it's important to prepare for your recovery in advance. 

Before the procedure, make sure you have the necessary equipment such as crutches or a walker.

It's also important to arrange for transportation home from the hospital and assistance with everyday tasks such as cooking, bathing, and doing laundry.

To make your home safer and easier to navigate during recovery, consider making some modifications. Create a living space on one floor since climbing stairs can be difficult.

Install safety bars or a secure handrail in your shower or bath. Secure stairway handrails to ensure that you are safe while navigating around your home.

Taking these steps before surgery will help ensure that you have a smooth and successful recovery process.


6 Things You Should Know About Knee Replacement Recovery


1. You'll Be Treated for Pain Upon Entering the Operating Room

Patients undergoing knee surgery will generally be given an epidural, or spinal anesthesia by their care team at the hospital. 

Spinal anesthesia doesn't wear off as quickly as general anesthesia, meaning when you wake up from your surgery, you won't be in as severe pain. 

You may then be offered nerve blockers in the area around your knee joint replacement. Nerve blockers can offer pain relief for 24 to 36 hours. 

Other kinds of medications can help with pain relief as well including nerve pain medications, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants (though not its intended use, antidepressants may offer nerve pain relief), and narcotics. 


2. You'll Be Up and Walking Within a Few Hours

The goal of most successful knee replacement surgeries is to get patients up and walking within a few hours of waking up. 

Your doctor and nurses will make sure you are able to safely get from your bed, to your chair, and to the bathroom. 

They'll also make sure you can successfully walk using a walker before sending you home. Getting movement in your new joint is important for ensuring a faster recovery.

Some patients may be able to walk with assistance and go home the same day after surgery. 

However, many knee replacement patients spend at least one night in the hospital while some stay longer depending on the success of their surgery. 


3. Physical Therapy Is Necessary

Physical therapy is necessary if you hope to make a full recovery. Your doctor or surgeon will refer you to a physical therapist to regain mobility and flexibility in your joint. 

Ideally, physical therapy should begin from the time you wake up from surgery and get out of bed. Your surgeon or physical therapist will ask you to straighten and bend your knee to see how full your range of motion is.

Regular physical therapy sessions will improve your range of motion and strengthen the surrounding muscles. 

You can expect to be in physical therapy anywhere from 6-8 weeks or more depending on your progress. 

It's important not to skip your physical therapy sessions and listen to your therapist's instructions. 


4. Nutrition Is Important 

You should be able to eat normally after your knee replacement surgery. Proper nutrition is important for recovery as it gives your body the energy and nutrients it needs to successfully rebuild damaged tissues. 

A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein is an ideal recovery diet for ensuring you get the nutrients your body needs. 

Dietary supplements can be helpful for getting the proper amount of nutrients in your diet. 

WoundVite is formulated by a team of physicians and pharmacists for wound recovery patients. It contains multiple vitamins, minerals, and herbs backed by science for supporting wound healing.* 

A multi-nutrient supplement like WoundVite may help aid in your knee replacement recovery.*


5. You Should Be Able to Walk Normally After 6 Weeks

Although recovery is different for everyone, most knee replacement patients can walk without the assistance of a walker or cane 6-weeks after knee replacement. 

Your ability to walk normally will depend on whether you had one or both knees replaced, your current health, fitness, and the condition of your joints. 

Most patients should expect to need assistance from a walk for the first few weeks after surgery before transitioning to a cane for the other 2 to 3 weeks. 


6. Full Recovery Is Possible 

Every knee replacement surgery is different but it's possible for patients to return to their daily activities and active lifestyle, eventually. Most people can participate in activities like biking and walking within 2-3 months. 

More vigorous activities such as running or playing sports may be possible later in recovery. Due to advanced surgical procedures, a full recovery and return to normal activity is common with knee replacement surgery. 


The Bottom Line

A knee replacement is a major surgery with a high success rate. Most people will recover fully from a knee replacement and lead a normal life resuming their normal activities. 

Your recovery is dependent on how well you follow your doctor or surgeon's instructions, your physical health prior to surgery, and whether you experience post-surgical complications. 

Proper wound care and nutrition (such as dietary supplements) may improve your chances of a better recovery and a faster timeline for returning to normal. 

 *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease