Rehabilitation Following Knee Replacement Surgery

In order for you to meet the goals of knee replacement surgery, you must take ownership of the rehab process and work diligently on your own, as well as with your physical therapist, to achieve optimal clinical and functional results. The rehabilitation process following total knee replacement surgery can be quite painful at times. However, if you commit to following your program and overcome the challenges in rehab, you will succeed in meeting the goals you set when deciding on surgery. The following outline will summarize the process you will adhere to during rehabilitation:

1. In the Hospital

  • CPM (continuous passive motion) beginning day one or two
  • Ambulation with a walker or crutches (weight-bearing status determined by your surgeon)
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Edema control (ice, compression, elevation)
  • Instruction in home exercise program
  • Discharge goals are as follows:
    1. Independent getting in and out of bed
    2. Independent in walking with walker or crutches
    3. Independent in walking up and down 3 steps
    4. Independent in your home exercise program
    5. Ability to bend your knee 90 degrees
    6. Ability to fully straighten your knee

2. At Home

  • Begin ambulation with a cane as tolerated.
  • Continue CPM (if necessary) and range-of-motion exercises.
  • Keep incision clean and dry; watch closely for signs of infection.
  • Continue home exercise program.

3. Outpatient Physical Therapy

  • Advanced strengthening program, adding weights as tolerated
  • Stationary cycling
  • Walking program
  • Aquatic therapy program

4. Long-term Rehabilitation Goals

  • Range of motion from 100-120 degrees of knee flexion
  • Mild or no pain with walking or other low-impact physical activities
  • Independent with all activities of daily living

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Every patient’s case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor’s specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

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