Knee Replacement Physical Therapy In Fort Myers, FL

What You Need To Know About Your Knee Replacement Recovery & What You Can Expect From Knee Replacement Physical Therapy….

We Have Worked With Countless Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Physical Therapy Patients Over The Years….

This gives us a unique insight into TKR surgery and recovery process.

We’d like to help you understand what you can expect if you’ve had a recent TKR or are about to…

It’s our job to help you get back to a full and active life in the weeks and months after surgery.

Although total knee replacement surgery has become commonplace with the aging population in the United States, when it’s you, it’s anything but routine.

This article will bring you up to speed on the recovery timeline for total knee replacement.

First, let’s start with some expectations about your recovery.

Please keep in mind, these are approximate times and will vary depending upon your readiness for surgery, age, current health, and several other factors.

Since the most rapid changes will occur during the first few weeks, we’ll group them together.

Day 1

  • With most patients, physical therapy starts almost immediately after surgery. 
  • A physical therapist will help with basic movements like standing and walking with assistive devices like a walker, crutches, or a cane.
  • In all likelihood, you will be using a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine.  This device will move your knee through a fixed range of motion to help with joint stiffness and swelling.
  • The key here is to get plenty of rest and let your body start the healing process.

Day 2 

Still not doing a whole lot here…

Rough Goals for today:

  • Trying to fully extend the knee
  • Going the bathroom on a regular toilet
  • You should find out if you have waterproof sutures/dressing. If so, you may be able to shower
  • Continue with CPM machine

Day 3

Discharge from the hospital can happen anywhere from day 1 to day 3.  This will vary from individual to individual.

Goals at this point:

  • You may be able to handle going up and down a few steps with some help
  • Successfully handle basic hygiene issues such as dressing, going to the bathroom and bathing 
  • Moving away from prescription meds to less potent versions

Again, don’t worry if you can’t do everything listed here exactly on this timeline.

Your body will dictate how quickly you recover.

But you can expect a slow, steady progress in the following areas:

  • Range of motion
  • Strength
  • Decrease in pain levels
  • Increased endurance, etc.

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Let’s jump ahead a couple of weeks… Here is where physical therapy plays a much bigger role.

Remember, the first couple of weeks you are still in the acute healing stage and still trying to manage your pain.

By now, you should be able to extend your knee fully.

Also, you will be doing exercises your PT has put together.  Much of this will be based upon your surgeon’s recommendations.

You’ll still be using the CPM machine with a target of 90 degrees of flexion in the knee.

The goal at the end of 3 weeks is to be strong enough to be using a cane for walking or no assistive devices at all.

This will be the focus on your PT visits at this time.

During the 4-6 week period post-surgery is there most patients see a significant upswing in function.

That is, IF you’ve be diligent with your exercises and PT visits!

Because the swelling is tapering off, it will be possible to increase strength levels and ROM (range of motion).

You should be able to do things like:

  • Driving
  • Returning to work (unless your job involved lifting and carrying heavy loads)
  • Traveling (unless you are at a high risk for blood clots or the trip is over significant length)
  • Everyday tasks should be much easier (changing clothes, cooking, etc.)

In short, you should get the feeling that things feel somewhat “normal” again.

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After 6 weeks of therapy, it may be tempting to slack on your physical therapy visits… Big mistake!

You’ll be making important strides during this period, so sticking with the program your physical therapist has put together can mean the difference between returning to full activities by the 12-week mark or not.

As a general rule, plan on consistent visits with physical therapy up until the 12-week mark post-surgery.

So from weeks 7 through 11, you therapy will include more aggressive work on mobility and range of motion.

Pain and stiffness will subside quite a bit.

Finally, you’ll be able to walk for longer and longer distances without assistance from any aides.

Ok, You Made It To Week 12!

Let’s jump ahead a couple of weeks… Here is where physical therapy plays a much bigger role.

Here’s what NOT to do…

Nothing that involves high-impact like jumping, contact sports, running, or activities that cause trauma even when participants are healthy such as skiing and basketball!

If you’ve been strict about your exercises…

And if you’ve been going to the PT regularly…

And if you haven’t done anything to cause a setback…

You should be able to return to relatively normal activities.

This might include golf, bicycling, etc.

Ideally, you have minimal or no pain and can demonstrate a full range of motion in the knee.

At this point you might ask…

“So how much mileage can I expect from this new knee?”

Good question.

According to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, there’s a 90-95 % chance you’ll get 10 years from your knee and an 80 to 85% chance you’ll get 20 years.

In summary, Total Knee Replacement recovery tends to follow a very fixed schedule. This is assuming you don’t have any complications that interfere with normal recovery.

After 3 months you’ll be able to participate in “normal” activities and it will take 6 months to a full year for your knee to get as strong as it’s going to be…allowing for age and overall health.

We hope this short summary proves helpful.

But you still may have lots of questions about your unique situation.

That’s why we’re here!

If you are considering Total Knee Replacement Physical Therapy or you just had your surgery, and you’re in the Fort Myers area, we invite you to give us a call.

We’d be happy to answer all your questions or to book a no obligation consultation. We want to make sure you’re 100% comfortable with your recovery process.

Please call our office at 239-223-0484


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