The rehabilitation process is very crucial for re-instating functionalities of your hip or knee joints post joint replacement surgery. Taking advantage of a supervised rehabilitation process helps you heal faster and improves chances of the surgery being successful. You must, however, remember that post-surgery rehabilitation and recovery is not an overnight process but can take several weeks before you can resume an active lifestyle. Physicians who are members of the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center referral line offer various orthopedic treatment options including hip replacement, total knee replacement and partial knee replacement. Read this blog post to learn the timeline of what generally to expect during the first 12 weeks of recovery and rehabilitation from knee replacement surgery. Time to discharge may vary from patient to patient. Most patients will be ready for discharge on the day of surgery or the day after surgery. The criteria for discharge typically includes adequate pain control and appropriate progress with therapy prior to discharge

Read More: Answering 5 FAQs about Knee Replacement Surgery

Day 1

The rehabilitation process begins immediately after completion of joint replacement surgery. Subsequently, within the first 24 hours, you will begin standing and walking with the help of a device such as a walker or crutches, under the supervision of a physical therapist. The therapist will direct you to perform some exercises that help strengthen your muscles. You will get assistance in getting in and out of bed, walking, and using the bathroom.

Day 2

Your physical therapist may suggest that you to use an assistive device and walk for increasing distances. Your therapist may also help you to navigate stairs.


Your knee should be getting stronger by now, and you should be able to increase the level of exercise. Your knee surgeon will move you to a lower dose of pain medication, from prescription-strength painkillers. They may also ask you to walk for longer periods, climb a flight of stairs, move towards the toilet without assistance, while minimizing the use of assistive devices. Once discharged, you should be able to

  • bend your knee, to a minimum angle of a 90-degree
  • dress and bathe without assistance
  • Rely minimally on crutches or a walker

Discharge through Week 3

Moving around should be easier, without any assistance, and less painful by the time you reach home. The therapist will have provided you an exercise regimen to follow daily, and you should be able to complete activities such as bathing, dressing, and taking long walks. Dependency on pain medication will now be reduced; however, you will still use the CPM machine

Weeks 4 through 6

By now, exercises and staying on the rehabilitation schedule will have significantly improved the flexion (bending) and strength of your knee. Towards the end of the 6th week, you may be able to walk for at least half a mile and complete your daily activities with much ease. You can consult your surgeon to see if you can resume work and driving.

Read More: Why Stem Cells Might Help You Avoid Knee Replacement

Weeks 7 through 11

In this period, you should be able to walk freely for a couple of blocks without any assistance, and perform activities such as driving and shopping. The therapist will change your exercise regimen to include some or all of the exercises below:

  • Raising your toe and heel while standing, alternatively
  • Partial knee bends and straightening
  • Standing hip abductions
  • Balancing on each leg alternatively
  • Sets on an exercycle

Week 12

By now, you should be able to indulge in activities such as swimming, dancing, and cycling. It is crucial to continue with the prescribed exercises while purging any desire to engage in high impact activities, which could injure the tissue around your implant, such as

  • Sprinting
  • Skiing
  • Basketball
  • Football

Week 13 and Beyond

There should be a notable decrease in pain around the surgically corrected area, while the flexion improves. It is advisable to stay in touch with your knee surgeon, and schedule regular check-ups, for the integrity of your knee. If you experience pain, stiffness or inflammation in your knee, consult your surgeon immediately. Although the rehabilitation period for total knee replacement surgery is three months to a year, it may vary from person to person.

Bottom line

Returning to your daily activities after joint replacement surgery will take time. Actively participating in the rehabilitation process and following through the physiotherapy and exercise regimen, helps you resume most physical activities. Physicians who are members of the referral program at Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center includes knee surgeons and physicians who focus on treatment of orthopedic conditions of the knee. The physician members offer total joint replacement and rehabilitation solutions of the hip and knee in Texas. Visit our contact page for appointments and other information. You can also call 1-888-608-4762.

Disclaimer: Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center.