It is important for you to take an active role in your recovery process after surgery. Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help return strength, movement and function to your new knee.
You can help your recovery by:
After your Total Knee Replacement surgery, you will be encouraged to get up and move as soon as possible (on the day of surgery OR day 1 post-surgery), as allowed by your surgeon. Research has shown that moving early reduces post-operative complications and enhances your recovery. This minimises stiffness and pain, and reduces the formation of scar tissue over your knee.
It is normal to experience pain, discomfort and swelling in your knee after the surgery. You can manage it by doing the following:
Take your pain medication. If you feel that it is not sufficient, discuss this with your doctor.
Ice your knee for 20min each time, 3 to 5 times a day.
Elevate your leg by placing a pillow under the ankle and NOT the knee where possible.
Although it is normal to have pain and swelling after the operation, if you experience severe pain, numbness, discolouration or new bleeding, do inform your nurse or doctor immediately.
To reduce the risk of chest complications.
To maintain circulation in your legs.
Besides being able to walk safely with or without a walking aid, you should be able to achieve the following on discharge.
Note: The goals illustrated here should be used as a guideline only. The recovery process may differ for individuals according to their medical condition.
Your physiotherapist will guide you on the following exercises designed to improve range and strength of your knee. It is important to perform these exercises daily to help you return to your daily activities as soon as possible.
Aim: Reduce stiffness in the knee.
Aim: To straighten the knee and strengthen the thigh muscles.
Perform these exercises 3 times daily with the operated leg. Apply ICE after each session
Aim: To strengthen the thigh muscles.
Aim: To strengthen the thigh and knee muscles.
DO NOT MODIFY ANY OF THESE EXERCISES UNLESS INSTRUCTED BY YOUR PHYSIOTHERAPIST.
Things that you need upon discharge:
Do not rush to purchase a walking aid! Your physiotherapist will assess your walking ability and advise you accordingly.
We encourage you to attend your Outpatient Physiotherapy appointment upon returning home so that we will be able to assist with improving your knee range and strength, alongside with achieving your goals.
We will also monitor some outcome measures to help you keep track your recovery, and to understand what exercises you can do to return to your daily activity prior surgery. They include the following:
You may use the following as a guide as per to what you should be able to do at 2 months after your operation. If you require guidance, do discuss with your doctor to get a referral to see the physiotherapist.
Besides helping you return you to your normal activities, our physiotherapists are able to help you monitor and optimise your knee range, strength, and movement patterns through specific exercises to enhance the outcomes of your surgery.
No, walking is insufficient to strengthen your knee. Specific knee strengthening exercises are needed to improve your knee strength.
Swelling in the knee or leg can be expected up to 3 months after your operation. This is normal and part of the recovery process. You may use ice packs and elevate your leg to manage it.
Your recovery is dependent on your progress. Generally, you should be able to return to basic activities of daily living such as walking outdoors and climbing stairs independently by 3 months, depending on your condition before the operation.
Exercises are beneficial for your health. We strongly encourage you to continue to exercise 2-3 times a week and lead an active lifestyle as a form of maintenance.