Reclaiming An Active Lifestyle After Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a procedure used to replace diseased knee joints with artificial components made of metal and plastic. This procedure aims to restore the knee's function and enable individuals to return to their daily activities.

After knee replacement surgery, patients can expect a period of recovery that involves managing pain and swelling as well as restoring their mobility and strength. In this article, we go into detail about how this can be achieved.

By Arete Orthopaedic Centre
Medically reviewed by Dr Wang Lushun

Right After Surgery

In the critical period following knee replacement surgery, a well-structured recovery plan is essential for a smooth transition toward regaining mobility and an active lifestyle. Below are the crucial steps to focus on:

  • Physiotherapy: Starting physiotherapy soon after surgery is important. It involves exercises designed to improve strength and range of motion in order to facilitate a successful recovery.
  • Hospital Discharge: Once deemed ready for discharge, patients will receive guidelines for at-home care, including wound care, pain management, and follow-up appointments.
  • Mobility Aids: Walking aids like walkers or crutches may be required to provide support in the early stages of recovery.

Recovery at Home

Recovering after knee replacement surgery involves creating a conducive environment for healing, being proactive with rehabilitation, and managing the wound effectively. Here are some tips:

  • Physiotherapy: Continuing physiotherapy exercises at home and possibly on an outpatient basis (as recommended) is essential. It is important to adhere to the routine prescribed by your physiotherapist and attend all scheduled sessions to monitor your progress.
  • Home Modifications: Before surgery, it is advisable to make some modifications to ensure a safe environment when you return home. This includes removing tripping hazards, ensuring frequently used items are within easy reach, and installing safety features like handrails or a non-slip mat in the shower where there is a higher risk of slipping.
  • Wound Care and Medications: Keeping the wound clean and dry and adhering to prescribed medications reduces the risk of infection and aids in healing. If you notice excessive swelling and redness, heavy bleeding and discharge, or severe pain, please seek medical attention immediately.

Adjusting to Your New Knee

After you have largely recovered and are cleared to resume normal activities, it is important to do so in a mindful manner:

  • Driving and Travelling: You may be able to resume driving 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, depending on your recovery and ability to react quickly without pain. While driving, make sure you take breaks to stretch and walk to promote circulation. Doing so helps minimise the risk of stiffness and discomfort.
  • Returning to Work: The timeline for returning to work depends heavily on the nature of your job. In most cases, patients can return to their desk jobs within a few weeks. However, those with physically demanding jobs may require a longer recovery period. It is essential to discuss a safe return-to-work plan with your doctor.
  • Sports & Exercise: Engage in low-impact exercises such as walking, cycling, and swimming to strengthen your knee and improve mobility. For more rigorous sports, please seek further advice from your doctor.
Dr Wang Lushun
Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS (S’pore), MRCS (Edin), MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho) (Edin)

Dr Wang Lushun is a Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with over 18 years of experience in treating musculoskeletal injuries and rehabilitation. He is skilled in minimally invasive techniques and advanced robotic surgery. Dr Wang’s dedication to his patients’ welfare is evident through the awards he has received and the leadership positions he has held throughout his career in orthopaedic surgery.

Leadership on Orthopaedic Advisory Boards
Double Fellowships at Centres of Excellence
Senior Consultant with Over 18 Years of Experience
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Arete Orthopaedic Centre

Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
3 Mount Elizabeth,#13-14, Singapore 228510

Mount Alvernia Hospital
820 Thomson Road, #05-51, Medical Centre D, Singapore 574623

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