Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery: Rehabilitation Protocols

Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery: Rehabilitation Protocols

Now that your knee replacement surgery is over, it’s time to focus on your recovery and rehabilitation.

Now that your knee replacement surgery is over, it’s time to focus on your recovery and rehabilitation.

Resuming Daily Activities

Keep in mind that immediately after your surgery, it is normal to feel some pain and discomfort. However, the pain will subside quickly, and you may be surprised how soon you can be up and moving again. In fact, most doctors like to get their patients mobile as soon as possible after the surgery. You should be able to resume most normal light activities of daily living within the first 6 weeks after surgery, noting that it is normal to experience some discomfort for 3 months or longer post-surgery.

Smiling face of two women walking in a park


Usually, you are able to take full weight on your new knee joint immediately. You will most likely need to use crutches or a frame when you first return home. Your physiotherapist will advise when you are ready to walk without support based on your pain, strength and balance.

Man with his hand on knees walking on stairs


You will need to be shown the best way to get up and down stairs and how to manage stairs from your Healthcare Professional.

Man Sitting on a chair with his dog and phone in his hand


Use a high, firm-based chair with arms. Do not cross your legs. Consider a raised toilet seat.

Shower head with water coming out


Shower whilst sitting on a highchair or stool with rubber feet. As your balance improves, you may resume showering standing up.

men's collared shirts hanging on hangers


Remain seated to dry and dress. Long-handled aids can be useful in assisting you to manage this safely. Put the operated leg into your pants first when getting dressed. Take it out last when undressing.

Man sleeping on a bed


Continue to sleep on your back. As pain allows, you may move to sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs. Avoid this if possible, for the first 6 weeks.

person cleaning bathroom sink


Heavy or awkward cleaning tasks will be difficult at first. You may need to arrange for some help during the few weeks after returning home from hospital.

man driving a car

Car Travel

You should consider stopping and taking a short walk every 45 minutes. You should not drive until advised by your surgeon, which may be 6 weeks or more after surgery.

Woman sweating while exercising


Following your exercise program is critical. Exercise is essential for regaining strength, flexibility, and mobility after knee replacement surgery. Do your exercises regularly as instructed by your physiotherapy team.

Couple laughing

Sexual Activity

Sexual activity can be resumed after surgery, remembering safe leg positioning. A member of your care team can answer specific questions you may have.