Total Knee Replacement Surgery

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Postoperative Knee Replacement Goals

Postoperative exercise will be imperative to the success in your recovery after your total knee replacement. Upon discharge from the facility, you may receive physical therapy either as an outpatient, at home, or at another facility. It is also recommended that you continue to follow a home exercise program on a daily basis. A home exercise program will be provided for you prior to discharge from the hospital.

Weeks 1-2

  • Anticipate discharge from the hospital after 3-4 days to either home or another facility (depending on your individual needs and insurance coverage)
  • Continue walking with a walker as instructed by therapist
  • Your therapist may advance you to a single point cane as you are ready
  • Walk at least 300 feet
  • Straighten your knee
  • Bathe and dress independently
  • Shower only after wound is sealed (after staples have been removed) approximately 2 weeks
  • Perform simple homemaking tasks
  • Perform home exercises twice per day
  • Exercises will be advanced with your physical therapist

Weeks 2-4

During this time you will gradually increase your independence. The home exercise program you received remains an important part in the ongoing management of your total knee replacement.

  • Progress ambulation to a cane as able
  • Your therapist will guide you and instruct you in the use of a cane
  • Climb a flight of stairs as needed
  • Walk approximately ¼ mile
  • Independently shower
  • Resume driving only if you had a left knee replacement
  • Resume homemaking tasks
  • Bend knee up to 90 degrees unless otherwise instructed

Weeks 4-6

During this time your outpatient or home health physical therapy will probably be completed. It is important to still continue with the home exercise program at least once per day.

  • Continue with a cane as indicated by your therapist. You may begin walking without the cane as directed by your therapist.
  • Progress walking to ½ mile if able
  • Advance walking up stairs to step-over-step pattern
  • Ok to resume driving at six weeks if right knee replacement was performed
  • Actively bend the knee to 110 degrees
  • Straighten the knee completely

Weeks 6-12

By the completion of 12 weeks you should be able to resume all of your activities.

  • Progress walking without the aide of a cane or a walker
  • Climb stairs with normal pattern
  • Progress walking to one mile
  • Knee range of motion should be comparable to the uninvolved side
  • Resume activities such as dancing, bowling, swimming, and golf

Above list are expected average goals. Your individual goals will be dependent on your needs. Your physician and therapist will assist you in developing your personal goals.