What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery?

Hpfy Article image

Aging, chronic knee pain, arthritis, or knee tendinitis can impact your quality of life, making walking and routine chores difficult. Knee replacement surgery may be the best option available to return to an active and healthy life.  

Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is a type of surgery done when the knee joint wears out. As the name suggests, it is the procedure of replacing parts of the knee joint with an artificial implant. Over the years, knee surgery has become a common resort for osteoarthritis pain relief.  

In middle-aged or older adults, osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease, may cause the breaking down of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the knees. Similarly, a different yet equally serious type of arthritis, called rheumatoid arthritis, may cause painful inflammation in the synovial membrane, which may lead to an excess of synovial fluid. This fluid is responsible for knee pain. 

When is knee replacement surgery required?  

Knee replacement surgery is required when the cartilage and synovial fluid between the knee bones is depleted, and both knee joints start rubbing against each other, causing extreme pain. Knee replacement surgery may be warranted  when a person is:   

  • Not able to walk properly  
  • Has long-lasting inflammation and swelling 
  • Unable to get in and out of a chair  
  • Is unable to straighten their knee When the knee is bent  
  • Has severe pain at rest  

Ignoring knee pain for a long time can be very risky as delaying it can cause severe problems. If the pain is not reduced and improving over time, your doctor may suggest you go for knee replacement surgery. 


What happens during knee replacement surgery?  

During knee replacement surgery, the doctor removes the damaged parts of the knee cartilage and attaches the artificial joint implant, and places a plastic spacer in between to hold the implant in place. The aim of knee surgery is to help curb the pain and allow the joint to move smoothly.  

Usually, the knee replacement procedure takes 1 to 2 hours, and the patient is discharged within one to three days, depending upon the injury type and the gravity of the surgical procedure.  

What to expect after knee replacement surgery?  

Knee replacement surgery recovery time varies from patient to patient. After the surgery, the patient is observed, and certain readings are taken, such as blood pressure, pulse, and breathing. If all of these metrics seem stable, the patient is then asked to keep their operated knee moving. Moving the new knee improves blood flow and helps the healing process. 

Knee replacement rehab timeline  

  • After 24 hours - A physical therapist will help you stand up and walk using walkers or walking canes. They can also prescribe the use of a continuous passive motion machine, also called a CPM machine to move the joint slowly. Some swelling, bruising, and pain after knee replacement surgery is expected. The rehab therapist may also suggest some pain relief methods to curb pain.  
  • After one month of surgery – At the time of discharge, you will be given some leg movements and exercises. By this time, you should notice improvement in your knee because of the medication and exercises. Your pain, swelling, and bruising should have reduced. As per the doctor’s suggestion, you should do your daily tasks, take a long walk, and if you have a desk job, you may be able to return to work.  
  • 3 months after total knee replacement – 3 months after total knee replacement, you should have little to no pain in the knee and may get back to your normal routine and start working also. The prescribed exercises should continue. You can experience visible improvements in gait and posture. While walking is encouraged in this phase, refrain from running, cycling, or playing sports that can put extensive stress on the new knee joint.  
  • What to expect 5 months after knee replacement – By this time, knee pain is rare. However, slight swelling may be normal, which eventually goes away. To be on the safer side, consult a therapist throughout knee replacement surgery recovery time for advise You can now walk, run, play games, or do any other activity depending on where you are on the road of recovery.  
  • 6 months after a knee replacement – After 6 months, the you may have made a complete recovery from the knee surgery. Bruising or pain is rare, but some swelling may persist. For the swelling to go away completely, it would take at least a year or so. You can live an active lifestyle and perform activities and movements without any external support.  

What is the fastest way to recover from knee surgery? 

Recovering from any surgery takes time, but following correct instructions can speed up the recovery. For recovery from knee replacement, there are certain things to consider for a quick recovery: 

  • Doing exercises as suggested by the physician  
  • Eating a healthy diet to prevent weight gain  
  • Sitting in a correct & relaxed posture  
  • Walk slowly & steadily  
  • Use ice bags for swelling and pain  
  • Keep your stitches and wounds clean and dry  
  • Use a walking cane or walker  

Precautions after knee replacement surgery  

Following proper medication and exercises are a must after knee replacement surgery. It takes a little time but works effectively. You need to take some precautions during recovery; ignoring them may increase the chances of knee problems. Some considerations of the things to take care of after knee replacement surgery include: 

  • Avoid standing for long periods 
  • Avoid crossing your legs  
  • Climb stairs one at a time  
  • Avoid sleeping on the surgery side  
  • Walk properly with support  
  • Place a pillow under the heel, not under the knee  
  • Avoid gaining weight  


Knee replacement recovery takes a little time, and if you follow the prescribed protocol, your recovery time can be less. It takes 3 months to return to your daily activities and 6-12 months for your knee to strengthen.  become stronger. Experts opine you have a 90-95% chance that your joint will last 10 years, and 80-85% chance that it will last 20 years.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.