Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery and Care

How Long Is Knee Replacement Recovery?

Generally, initial recovery involves a hospital stay of a few days, followed by a period of restricted activity and focused physical therapy. While many individuals experience a significant improvement in mobility and pain relief within 4-8 weeks, complete recovery can take several months.

This duration of knee replacement recovery varies from patient to patient, influenced by factors such as overall health, adherence to rehabilitation exercises, and the type of knee replacement procedure undergone.

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

In the initial days post-knee replacement surgery, hospital recovery is centred on monitoring vital signs, managing pain, and initiating gentle mobility exercises to prevent stiffness. Physical therapists guide patients in early mobilisation techniques and the use of assistive devices. 

The medical team focuses on medication management, wound care, and educating patients on joint care. Healthcare professionals will also begin outlining a personalised rehabilitation plan that will be continued after discharge.

Home recovery after knee replacement involves a gradual transition from hospital care to self-management. It will focus on:

  1. Exercise Adherence: Continue prescribed exercises for improved flexibility and strength.
  2. Pain Management: Take medications as directed to manage pain and swelling.
  3. Environment: Ensure a comfortable home setup with elevated seating and handrails.
  4. Follow-up Appointments: Attend regular check-ups to monitor progress and address concerns promptly.


This collaborative effort between patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals supports a successful rehabilitation journey.

Physical therapy is a vital aspect of post-knee replacement recovery, focusing on tailored exercises to enhance flexibility and build strength around the replaced joint. Guided by physical therapists, patients progress through a program emphasising gait training, balance exercises, and functional movements.

The frequency and duration of physical therapy sessions may vary, with a gradual transition to a home exercise program. Regular commitment to these exercises significantly contributes to successful recovery, promoting improved function and reduced pain for a return to normal activities.

What Not To Do After Knee Replacement Surgery

After knee replacement surgery, it’s crucial to be mindful of activities that could compromise the healing process and jeopardise the success of the procedure. 

Avoid the following: 

  • High-impact activities such as running or jumping, as these can place excessive stress on the replaced joint. 
  • Kneeling or squatting can strain the knee. 
  • Twisting the knee excessively and be cautious when navigating uneven surfaces to prevent trips or falls. 

Additionally, it’s essential to follow medication guidelines diligently and not to skip prescribed doses. Smoking can impede the healing process, so it’s advisable to avoid tobacco use. By adhering to these guidelines and steering clear of detrimental activities, patients can optimise their recovery and enhance the longevity of the knee replacement.

The timeline for walking after knee replacement surgery varies, but many patients can take their first steps with the support of crutches or a walker within 24 hours post-surgery. Gradual progress is made with the guidance of physical therapists, transitioning from assistive devices to walking independently over the course of a few weeks.

Walking up stairs after knee replacement surgery is usually a gradual process introduced during the early stages of rehabilitation. Patients typically start with the assistance of a handrail or support and under the guidance of physical therapists.

While the specific timeline may vary based on individual progress, many patients find they can confidently navigate stairs without assistance within the first few weeks to months post-surgery.

Many individuals can resume light, sedentary work within a few weeks, while those with more physically demanding occupations may need additional time for rehabilitation. Generally, a return to full work duties can be expected within six to twelve weeks, depending on the pace of recovery and the approval of the orthopaedic surgeon.

Generally, low-impact activities like walking and stationary cycling can commence shortly after the procedure. As recovery progresses, the scope of exercises expands to include more dynamic movements. While the exact timing depends on individual progress and the advice of healthcare professionals, most patients can gradually return to more vigorous exercises, including swimming and light jogging, around the three-month mark. 

It's crucial to follow the guidance of the medical team, gradually increasing intensity to avoid strain and ensure a successful and sustainable return to regular physical activity.

Get In Touch With Our Orthopaedic Specialist Today

If you are experiencing joint pain and suspect you may be suffering from conditions related to the knee, hip, shoulder, spine, foot, ankle, elbow, wrist, or hand – allow Dr Kau to set you on the path towards recovery. Our orthopaedic specialist, Dr Kau Chung Yuan is experienced in treating patients of all ages with varying orthopaedic conditions. You should not have to be in pain, make your appointment today.

Insurance Partners

We collaborate with most major insurance partners in Singapore to ensure our patients’ peace of mind in their treatment journey. We understand the importance of financial considerations and offer assistance and financing information to our patients. Please reach out to our staff and we will be happy to provide you with the information you require.

Patient Feedbacks

Dr Kau was very careful and explained clearly the surgery procedures. After surgery, the care while I was in hospital was closely monitored and he even came during weekends! The hip so far has recovered and healed. His ‘predictions’ of when what can happen are so accurate. Trust him.

Ming Lee Chua

Dr. Kau is an exemplary doctor who is experienced in his field and is very patient with his patients. He walked me through the details of my knee condition and addressed all my concerns. Thanks to Dr. Kau, I had a better understanding of my ACL and MCL injury and the various treatment options available. His advice and treatment have been very valuable to me.

Ethan Chan

I had a very successful total hip replacement done by Dr Kau 4 years ago. 4 months after the operation I was back walking, cycling and swimming. The beautiful job gave me much confidence Dr Kau is most professional and has such great doctor patient communication.

Teo Pek Suan Diana

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