Instructions After Knee Replacement

Exercise

It is very important for you to work on exercises to bend and straighten your knee in the first weeks after surgery. Patients who quickly regain their motion are generally happier after their surgery.

The goals of therapy are to:

  • Gain full extension (be able to fully straighten the knee).
  • Be able to bend your knee more than 100 degrees.
  • o help you bend your knee, you should (4-6 times a day) sit and pull your foot back under your chair as far as you can. Then, place your other ankle on top of the ankle of the side being stretched and use the un-operated side to help flex the operated side.

    It is also important to be able to fully straighten your leg. Sitting with your foot on a footstool and keeping your leg completely straight will help (4 times a day) or pushing down on your leg when in bed.

    A more advanced exercise is to stand by a staircase using the handrail for support. Place your foot (on the operated side) on the 1st or 2nd step and then lean forward; this will stretch (bend) your knee.

    Activities

    Walking is important to regain your strength. You should put full weight on your operated leg. You may advance from walker/crutches to a cane and then to no support as you feel secure. It is normal for your knee to be sore after exercising; this will improve with time. Using an ice bag on your knee after you exercise will help your pain.

    Most patients are able to drive 4-6 weeks after surgery; check with your doctor.

    Most patients will have home physical therapy arranged at time of discharge to help them with their exercise and walking. As you walk more, you will gain strength and confidence.

    It is okay to shower when your incision has stopped bleeding, usually 5-7 days after surgery. After showering, pat dry and apply dressing and support hose.

    Swelling of your leg is common after surgery. This is usually noted in the first days at home after surgery when patients have a tendency to sit more with their legs dependent. To decrease swelling, we recommend that you: a) wear your support stockings when up during the day for the first month after surgery; they may be removed at night when you are lying down, and b) elevate your legs on a footstool or lie down and elevate your legs on 2 pillows.

    Wound Care

    Notify your doctor if there is a change in your incision, such as increased bleeding or drainage. Your staples will be removed approximately 10-14 days after surgery at your first office appointment.