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Having a Knee Replacement

Personal care

This information will help you learn how to care for yourself after your knee replacement surgery and once you get back home.

Sitting on a chair or toilet

When sitting on a 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.

Getting in and out of bed

Getting dressed

Bathing

You won’t be able to sit in the bottom of the tub to bathe for about 3 months after your surgery. For the first 3 months, you’ll need to wash yourself:

  • sitting down at the sink
  • sitting in a bath seat in the tub
  • sitting in a walk-in shower with a chair

For your safety and comfort:

  • Have someone help you get in and out of the tub and help you wash until you can do it safely on your own.
  • Have someone turn the faucet on and off if you can’t reach it safely. When you’re steady enough, you can stand up to turn it on and off yourself.
  • Use a hand-held showerhead, long-handled sponge, or soap-on-a-rope.

To get into the tub:

  1. Back up slowly and carefully until you can feel the tub against the back of your legs. Hold onto the tub grab bar for support and, with your other hand, reach back for the bath seat, and lower your buttocks onto it.
  2. Pivot on your buttocks and lift your legs one at a time, up and over the side of the tub.
  3. Face the faucet and use any special equipment to help you wash safely and comfortably.

To get out of the tub, reverse the steps by doing step 3, 2, then 1.

Getting into the shower

It’s helpful to use the following equipment in your shower:

  • a shower seat or chair (If your shower is too small for a seat and you’re steady on your feet, you can stand in the shower.)
  • a grab bar to hold on to as you get into the shower (If you don’t have a grab bar, hold on to your walker or have someone help you get into the shower and keep your walker steady.)
  • a rubber bath mat so you don’t slip

To get out of the shower, reverse the steps by doing step 5, 4, 3, 2, then 1.

Having dental work

Talk to your surgeon or case manager about using antibiotics (to prevent infection) before you have any dental work. Tell your dentist (or other healthcare providers) that you’ve had a knee replacement surgery in case you need to take antibiotics before having dental work.

Credit: All images on​ this page belong to the Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services.​

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