You’ll go home 1 to 2 days after surgery if the doctor thinks you’re ready. Before you are ready to go home, your healthcare team will check that you’ve met the goals for your new knee:
Your healthcare team may decide you need more help before you can go home.
How you do after your surgery depends mainly on you.
You may still have some discomfort for a long time after surgery. If so, talk to your Case Manager about the best way to manage it.
You’ll learn new ways to do your everyday activities safely and lower the risk of injuring your new knee while you’re recovering. Do a little more at a time, being careful not to do any movements or positions that could injure your knee (see
Chair: Choose a
sturdy chair with a firm seat and armrests. You can raise the seat height by adding a firm cushion. Don’t sit on low or soft chairs and couches. Don’t use chairs that have wheels or that rock or swivel.
Toilet: You may need a raised toilet seat and toilet armrests. Make sure the toilet paper is within easy reach.
Do the reverse to stand.
Don’t use your walker to raise yourself from the chair or toilet. Always push up with your hands from where you’re seated.
Support your operated leg with pillows when lying on your other side.
To get into bed:
Do the reverse to get out of bed.
Use special equipment to help dress yourself (for example: a reacher, long-handled shoehorn, dressing stick, elastic shoelaces, or sock aid).
You won’t be able to sit in the bottom of the tub to bathe or stand to shower for about 3 months.
You should bathe from a sitting position at the sink, in the tub, or in a walk-in shower with a chair for the first 3 months. Have someone help you get in and out of the tub and with showering until you can do this safely on your own.
Once you’re in the tub,
don’t reach forward for the faucet. Instead, have your buddy, family, or a friend turn the faucet on and off.
If you’re steady enough, you can stand up to turn it on and off yourself.
To get into the tub:
Do the reverse to get out of the tub.
Have your buddy, family, or a friend help you get into the shower and keep your walker steady, if needed. If there’s a grab bar on the wall, use it instead of the walker. A grab bar is more stable.
To get into the shower:
Do the reverse to get out of the shower.
Note: You can stand in the shower if it’s too small for a seat and you’re steady on your feet. Install grab bars and use a rubber bath mat to prevent slipping.
Do the reverse to get out of the car.
Your surgeon will tell you when it’s safe to start driving again. Most people can drive starting 6 weeks after surgery. Your healthcare team will give you information about transportation services in your area.
Note: Some grocery stores will deliver. Check with the store you shop at.
Make sure you speak with your surgeon or Case Manager about using antibiotics before any dental work.
Some activities and sports are harder on the knees than others. Talk to your surgeon about when you can start doing the ones you enjoy. As a guideline, you should walk every day, beginning with short walks taken often. Increase your distance a little at a time and be careful not to overdo it. Be careful not to fall and injure your knee (see
You may feel some stiffness in your new knee, especially when doing activities or sports where you have to bend your knee. One of the goals of surgery is to improve your knee’s flexibility or range of movement, and reduce the stiffness. How much knee movement you have often has to do with how much stiffness you had before surgery.
You may sometimes feel clicking in your knee when you bend it or when walking. This should lessen over time, as the muscles around the knee get stronger. Kneeling on a new knee is usually uncomfortable. Don’t kneel on the knee until your surgeon tells you it is safe to do so.
Your new knee may set off the metal detectors at the airport. Before you go through the security check, tell the security agent you had a knee replacement and have metal parts in your knee.
Current as of: May 6, 2019
Author: Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
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