The majority of people that undergo surgery to replace their knee often wish to know how long the recovery process will take. Due to the fact that the knee joint is one of the joints that have to bear a lot of weight, recovery time can vary depending on the individual, their weight, their age etc. However, as a general rule, 1 to 6 months is a typical period of time for the complete recovery of the knee after replacement surgery.
The First Few Days
In the early days after a knee replacement operation, the patient’s first requirement is to leave their hospital bed and to move around. This is often achieved by the aid of a walker frame, and it is not uncommon for the majority of patients to be discharged from hospital as early as the third day after their operation.
More short-term signs of recovery include being able to move around without the need for painkillers, being able to walk unaided and without resting, and being able to sleep without the need of painkillers or sleeping aids. All of this should be achievable in the first 3 months after the operation.
After the initial stiffness and pain has subsided, the next phase on the recovery process is for the healing of the internal tissue and the external scar tissue. When a person is able to lead a normal life, return to work and move about normally, that is a sign that everything has returned to normal, and this is usually 3 to 6 months after the operation.
Pain Management and Physiotherapy
After surgery, a lot of people will be relying heavily on painkillers in the first few days, although for others, only minimal pain relief will be required. For those people that are taking a lot of painkillers, they may well need to be taken off them slowly over a period of time. The amount of pain still present in the joint is a good indicator of how the recovery process is progressing, and it will vary from patient to patient.
Physiotherapy is crucial during the first few weeks of the surgery being completed, and this will help the knee joint to make the kind of natural movements it will be experiencing from now on. Patients that comply with the need for physiotherapy often recover much quicker than those that don’t.