If you have knee replacement surgery, your individualized rehabilitation program is important. You must follow your care plan step by step to achieve the goals set by you, your orthopedic doctor, and your physical therapist.
Let’s learn more about knee surgery rehabilitation and how long it takes to regain independent, pain-free, and normalized function.
How Important Is Rehabilitation After Knee Surgery?
Careful, consistent, and persistent rehabilitation after knee surgery is crucial to long-term success. As hard as living with an arthritic or injured knee joint can be, the first few weeks after a knee replacement or other knee procedure can also be challenging.
However, orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists agree that individualized plans to recover and rehabilitate produce really good results, helping people:
- Experience education of pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee
- Speed healing of the operative site
- Improve limb strength
- Develop endurance, balance, and coordination of movement
- Develop new and safer ways to ambulate, accomplish their activities of daily living, and return to athletic pursuits once enjoyed
- Become more independent
- Limit scar formation
- Decrease their chances of blood clot formation in the immediate postoperative period
- Be far less dependent on prescription and over-the-counter pain medications
- Have the ability to drive a car and return to work and home/family responsibilities with fewer and fewer limitations
- Normalize balance and coordination
- Enter and exit a car safely
- Climb and descend stairs safely
- Resume sexual activity
- Flex the knee to a full 100 to 120 degrees and straighten it completely with little to no discomfort or stiffness
What Will My Rehabilitation Timeline Look Like?
You may be surprised to learn that your rehabilitation after knee surgery begins in the hospital either the day of or the day after your procedure. Your therapist will get you up and walk with assistance and durable medical equipment–typically, a walker at first, advancing to a cane soon after.
Depending on your individual health needs, age, and surgery, your rehabilitation may take just a few weeks. For instance, partial knee replacement takes three to six weeks to recover strength, endurance, balance, and other aspects of recovery. Total knee arthroplasty takes significantly longer–weeks to months–because of the larger prosthesis, longer incision, and other factors.
Also, if you are an athlete recovering from knee surgery, your timeline will depend on the return to play skills specific to your sport or activity. Your doctor, therapist, and others will work with you and your coach to determine when you can safely and successfully compete in the sport you love.
Knee Surgery Rehabilitation at Paul Meli MD Orthopedics
If you are having knee pain that is not getting better at-home measures, visit our orthopedic doctor here at Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgery. With more than 30 years of experience in work-related injuries, sports medicine, joint replacement surgeries, and non-operative orthopedic treatments, Dr. Meli ensures his patients successfully complete the rehabilitation programs they need to enjoy free and independent musculoskeletal movement.
If you would like to schedule a one-on-one consultation with our orthopedic doctor, call us today at (954) 324-7711 or fill out our online appointment request form.