Rehabilitation after knee replacement: Dr. Levine

The decision to undergo total knee replacement, or any surgery, is not one to be taken lightly. During the operation, surgeons attempt everything possible to ensure adequate range of motion and function. However, preoperative deficiencies may provide limitations to postoperative outcome. Although the knee replacement can be performed with expert precision, the work does not end in the operating room.  Physical therapy plays a large role in the overall functional outcome and patient satisfaction.  Without adequate strength and range of motion rehabilitation, the patient may perceive less than their desired outcome. Nevertheless, hard work with your physical therapist will pay dividends throughout the recovery process.

What to expect during recovery:

Our goal is to have the patient back on their feet as soon as possible. In fact, the expectation is to have the patient standing or walking the day of surgery.  Upon your discharge from the hospital or outpatient surgery center, your surgeon will either recommend immediate outpatient physical therapy or home physical therapy. But with either therapy option there are various milestones to achieve. These benchmarks include appropriate strengthening and improvement to the knee’s range of motion.

Rehabilitation after knee replacement

These strengthening exercises and range of motion activities begin early after surgery. During the initial two week period, various therapeutic methods may be used as well as medication for pain control and ice to help decrease swelling. This may assist in making therapy more tolerable for the patient and therefore improve knee function.

Once appropriate achievements have been reached, various activities may be added to the recovery process. This may include the use of a recumbent bicycle to assist with overall stretching as well as range of motion.

Rehabilitation after knee replacement

Most patients are able to drive a car six weeks after surgery. This does depend on the patient’s knee strength to stop in an emergency situation as well as no longer using any prescribed narcotics. If the patient underwent a left total knee replacement and the vehicle does not have a clutch, the patient may drive once they stop use of narcotics.

If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and are planning on knee replacement, call or visit our website at to request an appointment today.  Our highly trained physicians and rehabilitation experts can help you get back to doing the things you enjoy.