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Get Back on Your Feet: Six Tips for a Smooth Recovery after Knee Surgery

Knee replacement infographic

When it comes to knee surgery to recovery, patience and due diligence are key—especially during the first three critical weeks that account for 70 percent of healing.

Prepare Your Home

Prior to surgery, it's important to prepare your home by stocking up on groceries, clearing pathways for your mobility devices, and removing any tripping hazards. If you don't already own comfortable slip-on shoes, now is the time to buy a pair and start breaking them in.

Get in Pre-Op Shape

Get on the road to recovery before surgery by speaking with your doctor about ways to improve and manage medical conditions that could potentially complicate the healing process. Strength training will also help prepare your body for the challenges ahead.

Follow Doctor's Orders

Self-care is of utmost importance during the critical first two weeks of recovery. During this time, you must diligently avoid certain daily activities such as driving and housework and follow your doctor's orders, which will include an intensive rest-ice-elevation routine and short daily exercises.

Get Moving

Expect to do some form of physical therapy (in-person or app-based) two to three times per week for up to six weeks, then follow a prescribed exercise plan for the remaining months of recovery. The goal is to fully extend and bend the leg to at least 110 degrees within the first three months.

Don't Overdo It

Although exercise is the key to healing, you could be backpedaling progress by overworking your knee. Signs of over-exercising include swelling of the entire leg and lingering pain that stretches into the evening or into the next day.

Watch for Warning Signs

Contact your doctor if you see any warning signs of a possible infection. Side effects, such as drainage, redness, and unusual swelling, should be reported if they persist after the first two to three days of surgery.