When you leave the hospital, you should be able to move around with a walker or crutches. But you will need someone to help you at home for the next few weeks or until you have more energy and can move around better. If there is no one to help you at home, you may go to a rehabilitation centre.
You will go home with a bandage and stitches or staples. Change the bandage as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor will remove your stitches or staples 10 to 21 days after your surgery. You may still have some mild pain, and the area may be swollen for 3 to 6 months after surgery.
Your knee will continue to improve for 6 to 12 months. You will probably use a walker for 1 to 3 weeks and then use crutches. When you are ready, you can use a cane. You will probably be able to walk on your own in 4 to 8 weeks.
You will need to do months of physical rehabilitation (rehab) after a knee replacement. Rehab will help you strengthen the muscles of the knee and help you regain movement. After you recover, your artificial knee will allow you to do normal daily activities with less pain or no pain at all. You may be able to hike, dance, ride a bike, and play golf. Talk to your doctor about whether you can do more strenuous activities. Always tell your caregivers that you have an artificial knee.
How long it will take to walk on your own, return to normal activities, and go back to work depends on your health and how well your rehabilitation (rehab) program goes. The better you do with your rehab exercises, the quicker you will get your strength and movement back.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
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