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Having a Knee Replacement

Going home

You’ll go home 1 or 2 days after surgery if your healthcare team thinks you’re ready.

Going home checklist

Your healthcare team will check the following things to make sure you’re ready and it’s safe to go home:

  • You have a ride home.
  • You can get into and out of a bed and chair without help.
  • You can stand and walk safely with your walker or crutches.
  • You can go up and down stairs safely.
  • You can walk the distance you need to walk in your home.
  • You can do your home exercises and daily living activities safely.
  • You’re eating and going to the bathroom normally.
  • Your incision is healing. (It’s normal to lose some feeling in the skin around the incision. The feeling should be back in a few months.)​
  • You know how to change your bandage (if you need to). Your healthcare team will show you how.
  • Your pain is under control. You’ll get a prescription for pain medicine.
  • To help with pain or swelling, you can put ice or a cold pack on the incision area for 20 minutes at a time. (Always put a cloth between the ice and your skin). Raise your leg on pillows so your foot is higher than your heart.
  • Eat more fibre like bran cereals, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits (including prunes) to help with any constipation from your pain medicine. If you get constipated, talk to your pharmacist or case manager about stool softeners.

What you need to do when you’re home

There are things you need to do when you’re home to have a successful recovery.

  • Do your home exercises regularly, at least 4 times a day. The sooner your leg muscles are strong enough, the sooner you can get back to your regular activities.
  • Take pain medicine at least 30 to 45 minutes before exercising if you find the exercises make you too sore.
  • Use your walker or crutches until your healthcare team tells you it’s safe to walk on your own.
  • Walk often but don’t go further than you can manage safely and comfortably. Many short walks are better than 1 long walk. Have someone come with you on the first few walks in case you have a problem. Bring your cell phone in case you need to call for help.

You may have some discomfort for a long time after surgery. If so, talk to your healthcare team about the best way to manage it. ​​

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