Knee problems are common among American adults. Arthritis of the knee has nearly doubled since the ’50s. With such knee issues so prevalent, it’s not surprising that many Americans opt for knee replacement surgery.

Knee replacement recovery time can seem daunting. But, orthopedic physical therapy at RPT can help you reduce your recovery time and get you back on your feet more quickly. This guide will cover what to expect following your knee replacement surgery and how contacting an orthopedic physical therapist at RPT before your surgery can benefit your orthopedic rehabilitation after the surgery.

Knee Replacement Recovery Time: How long will it take?

Generally, your knee replacement recovery time will take a few months. You can often speed that along with the help of an excellent orthopedic therapy plan designed by one of RPT’s orthopedic rehab specialists.

Knee Replacement Recovery Phase One

Phase one of recovery will begin immediately after your surgery and lasts about two to three weeks. The primary concern should be the wound from your surgery during this time. Follow your doctor’s directions for keeping your wound clean to avoid infection. Your doctor usually pulls your stitches or staples during this phase, depending on your doctor’s protocol.

If you haven’t already done so by this point, talk to your doctor about orthopedic physical therapy at RPT. Orthopedic rehabilitation plans often start as little as one week and sometimes less than a week, after surgery.

Schedule your orthopedic therapy with a specialist with experience in bone and joint physical therapy and orthopedics. RPT physical therapists specialize in rehabilitation following knee replacement surgery in Utah.

You may need a cane, walker, or crutches during phase one. Usually, these are provided by the hospital, surgical center, doctor’s office, or durable medical equipment provider. You can save quite a bit of money by securing these prior to your surgery. RPT physical therapists in Utah will ensure that they are properly fit for your needs.

Knee Replacement Recovery Phase Two

Phase two is where the rehab really kicks in. Work closely with your orthopedic physical therapist to strengthen your muscles and get back to walking on your own.

Phase two should last around three to four weeks. During that time, your incision site should heal, and you should follow your physical therapy rehab plan to strengthen your new knee. If all goes well, you’ll be walking without assistive devices as you enter phase three. Don’t panic if you are not ready to walk without assistance – everyone is different and we will customize your care for you individually, ensuring that you are safe to advance.

Knee Replacement Recovery Phase Three

By phase three, your recovery from knee surgery should be well underway. Your wounds should be healed, and you should be walking on your own. However, some stiffness and swelling may remain for up to six months.

Managing the pain and swelling during phase three may require ongoing physical therapy.

What will I need help with after knee replacement surgery?

Immediately after your knee surgery, you’ll need help moving around. Even sitting up may be difficult initially. You will need a lot of support in week one and continue needing help until you can walk independently. Even after that, you could require assistance due to pain or functional limitations. Many around you will be happy to help!

Try to enlist friends and family to help you during the first month or two of recovery. Delegate your daily errands and chores to others so you can focus on healing. People strong enough to help lift you can provide the extra help you need as you get to your feet as you develop the strength to move around.

How can I get back on my feet sooner?

Orthopedic physical therapy can improve your overall recovery and shorten the timeframe needed to get walking again.

Rehab begins with “prehab”. Studies show that engaging in some specific exercises and education prior to surgery helps improve outcomes, so contact one of our experienced physical therapists, at your local RPT physical therapy locations and begin following the physical therapy plan they lay out to prepare you for surgery. They will also show you how to do the exercises you need to know as part of your post-surgery rehab. That way, you’ will be familiar with them during your recovery process.

The key to healing and recovering after surgery is following the guidance of one of RPT’s physical therapists who will develop a customized program for your needs, be consistent with your treatment schedule and home exercise program. We look forward to hearing from you!

Knee Diagram - Normal Knee vs. Damaged Knee

Total Knee Replacement Surgery Diagram Comparison

Orthopedic physical therapy includes exercises that can positively impact strength, mobility, and function as you return to your favorite activities

For expert guidance with your knee replacement recovery, turn to RPT.

The physical therapists at RPT are among the best in Utah. All of them are licensed by the State of Utah and are engaged in continuing education. They are all members of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). RPT is home to several physical therapists who are “OCS” or orthopedics-certified physical therapists.

RPT has 9 convenient locations across Salt Lake and Utah counties, so you can do your surgery rehab physical therapy at a convenient location that is likely close to your home!

Don’t let your knee surgery sideline you any longer than it has to. Reduce your recovery time with an orthopedic physical therapy regimen designed by the top recovery therapists at RPT

Schedule your orthopedic physical therapy appointment with RPT