Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery & Rehabilitation

Post-surgery recovery and rehabilitation is as important as the surgery itself and necessitates active participation from both the patient and his/her caregivers to ensure a successful outcome. Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery timings may vary according to the patient’s age, overall state of health, attitude and type of surgery carried out. The most important thing is to maintain a positive outlook, follow the hospital’s instructions closely and be prepared for some hard work.

Recovery & Rehabilitation Program

A typical knee replacement surgery recovery and rehabilitation program lasts about 12 weeks. During this time, it is essential to follow a plan and ensure that the patient pushes himself/herself to do as much as possible every day. This can play a crucial role in the patient’s recovery timelines. 

It is likely that the hospital will prescribe physical therapy for the first 6 weeks. This will help improve the knee’s range of motion and enable a natural transition back to everyday activities.  Patients who comply with physiotherapy exercises tend to recover much faster.

Day 1

Within the first 24 hours of knee surgery itself, it is likely that the patient will be able to start walking with the aid of a walker or crutches. The physical therapist may start guiding and instructing the patient on safe methods for movements such as getting in and out of bed, walking up and down stairs and sitting and getting up from a chair. The physical therapist will also start developing an exercise plan for the patient to do once he/she returns home.

Day Two

After day one, the patient will gradually increase his/her level of activity. For instance he/she may be able to start walking across the room with the help of an assistive device like a walker or crutches, going to the bathroom and/or start climbing up or down 2 or 3 stairs.

Day 3 to Discharge

It is likely that the patient’s knee/knees will grow stronger day by day and he/she will be able increase his/her activity level accordingly. The patient may start working closely with the physical therapist, which may involve reducing the use of assistive devices for daily movement and taking longer walks outside the hospital room. Meanwhile, the doctor is likely to be lowering the dosage of pain medication taken by the patient. By the time the patient is discharged, they will be able to bend their knees well, preferably to a minimum of a 90-degree angle, dress and bathe on their own and rely only minimally on an assistive device.

Six Weeks

Six weeks post-surgery, many patients are able to resume work and other activities such as driving and housekeeping. They may no longer need an assistive device to move around. However, physiotherapy sessions may continue during this time as itr is important for the patient to keep doing exercises at home.

Twelve Weeks

Three months post-surgery, many patients enjoy a variety of low impact activities such as brisk walking, bicycling, swimming or playing tennis. (However, it is important to check with a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting the same). Patients are known to feel much less pain and start living live the way they were before osteoarthritis started limiting their activities.


Disclaimer: The recovery timelines and other details specified are only indicative in nature. Specific professional advice about your specific recovery timelines should always be sought separately and any reference to or reliance on this website shall be entirely at your own risk.