Recovering from knee replacement surgery can be a long, arduous, and emotionally taxing.
But, with the right support and a tailored individualised recovery plan in place, it is much more likely that the patient will make a better recovery.
Our experienced team of physios will recommend different exercises based on your progress and recovery goals.
We share a comprehensive guide on how North West Physio Lutwyche can help with recovery, plus we highlight a real-life success story for one of our patients!
Typical timeline for a recovery knee replacement patient
Whilst the recovery times following a knee replacement vary between individuals, it’s common to return to regular exercises such as walking, cycling and light gym workouts after 3 months.
Recovery of knee replacement and physiotherapy
Our main priorities with physio for a knee replacement recovery is to restore range of motion and strength. These are the foundations of healthy, pain-free, knee function.
In the clinic, we encourage:
- Manual therapy – e.g., deep tissue massage, joint mobilisations
- Range of motion and strengthening exercises – e.g. targeting the muscles around our hip, knee and ankle
- Functional activities – e.g., walking, stairs
Rehab for knee replacement: day-by-day recovery plan
Day 1-14 – The first 2 weeks are primarily focused on reducing pain and swelling. We commence gentle range of motion and strength exercises Gait retraining is also a big focus in the early stages.
Week 3-6 – Once your pain and swelling settles down, we gradually progress exercises to target the hips, knees and ankles.
Week 7-12 – Our goal prior to entering this stage of our rehabilitation is to be able to walk unaided and achieve greater than >90° of knee flexion. Physiotherapy management will focus on increasing our knee’s range of motion through deep tissue massage and joint mobilisations. We aim to advance from the exercises in the previous stages and introduce activities such as driving and riding on an exercise bike. Improving your walking gait remains a focus in this period.
Week 13+ – Once you have achieved full knee range of motion strength, and a normalised gait, we will continue with an ongoing, tailored exercise program. Plus, depending on your progress, your exercise program could include a return to sport, gym, or generalised exercise such as walking.
Rehabilitation knee replacement: common challenges and how we can help
Pain and stiffness are often described by our patients with knee replacements. It’s completely normal to experience these symptoms after your operation, and we can help you in your recovery journey to alleviate them.
For knee pain, continued manual therapy such as soft tissue massage and gentle range of motion exercises can help significantly.
Stiffness can be improved by introducing exercises immediately post-op and continuing to perform these exercises regularly.
Our team can complete a thorough assessment to determine where the stiffness is coming from and perform certain techniques that can complement the prescribed exercises.
Recovery from knee replacement surgery
For a full recovery and to return to your everyday activities uninhibited, regular exercise to restore strength and range of motion to your knee are incredibly important.
At Northwest Physio Lutwyche, we advise to start your rehabilitation program as early as possible and be consistent. There will be tough days throughout the rehabilitation process but don’t be discouraged! Progress over perfection is key with your daily exercises and your physiotherapist will help support you through the entire process.
Knee replacement physio success story
A recent patient of ours underwent total knee replacement surgery after suffering from knee pain for more than 5 years.
He was unable to work once the pain worsened and his weight and general health decreased.
He was fearful of surgery at first, but now he is 3 months post-surgery and hasn’t looked back!
He’s almost pain-free, losing weight, enjoys exercising and looking forward to return to work.
Knee replacement exercises pre-op
Before considering a knee replacement, there are exercises and lifestyle changes that can help improve knee function and reduce pain, such as:
- losing weight to reduce the stress placed on our knees, and
modified exercises such as low-impact exercises performed regularly has shown to reduce pain and increase the strength around our knees.
Recovery for knee replacement: day-by-day guide
Knee replacement surgery is a major undertaking that requires commitment and dedication to the recovery process.
North West Physio Lutwyche provides excellent guidance through the recovery process and a proven track record of successful results.
Our commitment to providing high-quality, personalised care ensures that each patient’s journey is as smooth as possible.
We are proud of our patient’s success stories and are confident that we can provide similar support for those who come through our doors.