What is Recovery Like After Knee Replacement Surgery?

What is Recovery Like After Knee Replacement Surgery?

A knee replacement is a necessary surgical procedure for people with severe arthritis in the knee joints. It's a successful operation that restores functionality and movement in the knees by removing damaged bone and cartilage and replacing it with prosthetics.

Although knee replacement surgery is a big deal, the recovery is even more essential to the long-term outcome. Knowing what to expect from the recovery process is the best way to ensure you have healthy knees for the future.

At Orthopaedic Specialists, Dr. Brandon Downs and his team offer joint replacement procedures, including knee replacement surgery. Dr. Downs is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon using the best technology to give you a healthy knee joint and reduce pain to improve your life.

What is knee replacement surgery?

A knee replacement is an essential procedure doctors utilize to help patients with severe knee joint damage from an injury or arthritis. It's often the last resort because it's the most invasive treatment, but it yields unrivaled results compared to conservative measures.

If your knee pain persists despite home care, injections, and physical therapy, you may require a knee replacement. These treatments may help for a while, but they don't always fix the underlying problem — joint damage.


Arthritis is one of the leading causes of joint damage in the knees. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the prevalent forms of the disease that affect the knees.

During joint replacement surgery, Dr. Downs makes incisions in the knee to access the damaged tissues. He carefully removes the damaged cartilage and bone to make room for the prosthetics.

The prosthetic parts of the knee joint are either metal, plastic, ceramic, or a mix of all three. He measures the area in the joint and places the prosthetic in the knee — the prosthetic works just like your natural knee joint and restores functionality and range of motion.

Most knee replacements last 15 to 20 years. Following the recovery plan and adhering to post-op instructions helps keep the knee replacement solid and healthy.

Recovering immediately after a knee replacement

After a knee replacement, most people go home the same day to begin the recovery process. However, you may require a short stay in the hospital if you're not healthy or for pain control.

The first 24 hours may be difficult, especially after the nerve block wears off. You may have some pain for the first few days, but we give you medications to control it. Elevating the knee and applying ice daily helps with pain and swelling.

When your pain is under control, you can get up and move around with assistance. You can use a walker to help you keep your balance. The earlier you get up and move, the better your recovery is.

Physical therapy is an essential part of recovery, especially in the first few weeks after surgery. Its goal is to help you regain motion in the new joint and improve function over the next few months.

How long does the recovery take?

Everyone's recovery differs from a knee replacement, depending on their overall health, the type of replacement, and the condition of the bone. However, the earlier you get up and move after surgery, the quicker you return to normal activities.

Most people can resume their normal activities within six weeks of surgery, with some limitations. For example, you should be able to drive and return to work or school when you're off pain medications and can move the knee without assistance.

Depending on your condition before surgery, it may take longer to get back to sports and physical activities. It may take several months to regain enough strength and stability to return to low-impact activities like swimming, biking, and walking.

You may need up to a year to fully recover from a knee replacement. Following your home exercises and physical therapy schedules helps you recover quicker and return to everyday life within a few months.

To find out if a knee replacement is in your future, call Orthopaedic Specialists today for an appointment. You can also request a consultation using the convenient online booking tool.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Have you been experiencing bothersome tingling in your fingers or numbness in the hand? If so, you may have a condition called cubital tunnel syndrome. Read on to learn about cubital tunnel syndrome and when numbness and tingling are problematic.
My Knees Always Hurt: Can Physical Therapy Help?

My Knees Always Hurt: Can Physical Therapy Help?

When your knees are constantly painful, you can't get anything done or enjoy life – but what can you do? Physical therapy may be a good option. Keep reading to learn how physical therapy exercises ease knee pain and improve joint functionality.

Four Benefits of PRP Injections After an Injury

Sports injuries happen and can keep you from your normal activities and playing the sports you love – which is why PRP is an excellent option. Read on to discover the many benefits of PRP therapy on an injury and what to expect during recovery.

When to Consider a Total Hip Replacement

Hip pain that continues no matter what is devastating and can make life difficult. If you're sick of dealing with chronic hip pain, it’s time to consider a total hip replacement. Read on to learn about hip replacement surgery and if it’s for you.

Signs It May Be Time for a Knee Replacement

Chronic knee pain threatens everyday activities, especially when you can't find relief. If other treatments aren’t working, it may be time for surgery. Read on to discover the signs that a knee replacement is in your future for knee pain relief.