There is no official medical answer to the question “how long does it take to recover after knee replacement surgery?” It very much depends on you as an individual.
Your recovery will depend on your rehabilitation process after surgery. This will play a very important role in getting you back on your feet and then resuming your active lifestyle. Miss Tross and her Anaesthetist will use treatments to minimise your pain post operatively. So what does the recovery and rehabilitation process involve? What can you do to increase your chances of recovering quicker?
Get Moving Straight Away
It’s important that you get up and moving on your new knee joint as soon as possible. Within the first 24 hours, you should try standing and then walking, with the use of a walking aid to begin with. Your physical therapist will guide you through the early exercises. On the first day, it might be simply sitting up in your bed and stretching your leg as much as you can. You will then be asked to walk a few steps. Don’t worry if you can’t manage all of this – it will take time.
Time to go Home
Most knee replacement patients will be discharged from hospital around 3 days after they have had surgery although, as always, this will depend on you as an individual and your doctor’s assessment of your recovery. Within the first couple of days in hospital, your physical therapist will try get you moving as much as possible. By the time of discharge, the average person will be able to bend their knee to a minimum of a 90 degree angle, dress on their own, move without much assistance and should be relying on the walking aids a lot less.
When back home, it’s important that you don’t try and rush your recovery. Whilst it’s natural that you want to be back on your feet as soon as possible, it’s not worth risking your health. You should keep stair activity to a minimum – only go up and down them when necessary. Driving should be avoided until you have been given the all clear by your doctor. You should be off any strong medication by now – your doctor will prescribe you something milder for the pain.
Continue to Regain Strength
The first couple of months after knee replacement surgery are vital to your recovery. You need to increase the strength of your knee as much as possible. You can do this by attending regular physical therapy sessions and by attempting to keep active whilst at home. It can be tempting to lie in bed all day when the pain is too much but you should try to get out and about whenever possible. Returning to everyday activities will depend on how you feel but should be attempted within the first 6 weeks.
After 3-4 months, the average knee replacement patient should be relatively pain free. They should be resuming most everyday activities, including driving and going back to work.
If you’re suffering with joint pain and would like to speak to a professional, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can give us a call on 07943 947 639 and we will be more than happy to make you an appointment for a 30 minute consultation.