Total Knee Replacement - Prep Performance Center in Chicago, IL

Total Knee Replacement (Part 1)

As you prepare for your total knee replacement we recommend using this guide to prepare for the rehabilitation process,  set short-term, achievable goals, and understand the process and suggested timeline. During the recovery process, there are a few things you can control, and we will discuss them below.  Being an active participant in the recovery process and setting goals will help turn your recovery into a journey.  In the end, we hope you find the success that will change your life, a life without knee pain! See related article from wherein they shared about Knee Replacement Surgery Procedure. Anyways, see further details below.

General guidelines (Total Knee Replacement)

– Everyone progresses at their own pace 
– Focus on small goals and work to achieve them 
– Rest and Recovery along with asking for help will go a long way 

We provide you with specific and small achievement goals to help ease your recovery.  If you follow our recommended daily program, we believe you will hit all of your goals and be back doing the things you love. 

TOP 10 Total Knee Replacement Must Do’s 

  1. Take Pain meds as recommended and approx. 30 min prior to therapy sessions 
  2. Ice your knee 5 times a day for 20min/session with leg elevated above heart
  3. Elevate your leg more often than not, sitting in a recliner can lead to more swelling  
  4. Use Ace Wrap or Compression Stocking ALL DAY  to reduce swelling  
  5. Complete our Basic Exercises 3-4 times per day (10-15 min/session)
  6. Complete our Progressive Home Exercise Program 1 time per day (15-20min/session)
  7. Walk once and hour in your house even if it is a short walk, or outside when you feel safe 
  8. Complete stairs once a day starting Day 3-5 (Have a caregiver present if you don’t feel safe) 
  9. Never place a pillow behind your knee, this can cause your knee to be stiff 
  10. A towel roll should be placed at the ankle to promote knee straightening when lying in bed

Physical Therapy Timeline 

– Day 0-3 Hospital Physical Therapy (walking, stairs, daily activities) 
– Day 3-14- Home health approx. 2 times a week 
– Week 2 – 6- Progress to Outpatient PT approx. 2-3 times a week
– Week 6-8 Discharge from outpatient PT approx. 6 weeks post op and continue your home exercises or transition to a Personal Trainer to help meet your personal recreational goals. 
– Week 8 – 12- Continue with your Home Exercises Program and Progress to Fitness routines 
– Week 12+ – Enjoy recreational activities without limitation and continue to focus on flexibility, mobility and joint strengthening exercises

Suggested Target Goals for ROM: 

End of Week 1: Moderate-Minimal Swelling, Knee Flexion 80-90°, Knee extension 
End of Week 2: Minimal Swelling, Knee flexion 90 to 100°, Knee Extension -10° to  0°
End of Week 3: Minimal Swelling, Knee Flexion 100- 110°, Knee extension -5° to 0°
End of Week 4: NO Knee Swelling, Knee Flexion 105-115°, Knee Extension -5° to 0° 
End of Week 5: NO Knee Swelling, Knee Flexion 110°- 115°, Knee Extension final push to  0°
End of Week 6: NO Knee Swelling, Knee Flexion 115°- 120°, Knee Extension final push to  0°

Things to look out for: 

Blood Clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT)- May present as calf pain and/or swelling that does not get better with elevation 
Infection- Redness around incision, abnormal discharge, swelling, fever 
Nausea- Discuss pain meds with surgeon’s office 

Check out our Total Knee Replacement Part 2 blog that will help you as you progress into the next phase of rehab.

Download our Knee Range of Motion Tracker, FAQ Page and Return to Sport Timeline

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Always reach out to your medical provider with questions and if you are worried at all about an infection, go to Immediate Care. 

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