Total Knee Replacement Rehab Process

Blogs, / By Winsen Citra

Total knee replacement is a very common surgical procedure usually done to our seniors who suffer from knee pain when they walk. A lot of them usually feel anxious before the surgery, not knowing what happens after. So, here are some details.

Why total knee replacement?

For most people who do this procedure, they do it because they suffer from a condition called osteoarthritis. This is a degenerative condition, meaning, the condition develops as we age. People who suffer from osteoarthritis have a thinning of their cartilages. As the cartilage wear out, it exposes the bone underneath. As a result, when they bear weight on that joint, it causes the bones to rub on each other. This is painful! That’s why a total knee replacement is often recommended to alleviate this pain.

What happens during the surgery?

To put it simply (it is actually more complicated that this), during the surgery, the doctor will cut away parts that have degenerated, smoothen the joint and plant a new joint in its place. This will be the new protective piece that takes the place of your cartilage and prevents your bones from rubbing against each other.

What happens after a total knee replacement?

What you will have to realise is that your total knee replcament is not complete even after the doctor is done with you. You will need to attend physiotherapy to rehabilitate your knee after years of pain and the trauma of the surgical procedure. Most likely, you will be in pain and swollen for a little while after the surgery. This is where your physiotherapist come in to help you get moving again.

What happens during rehabilitation?

We divide rehabilitation into phases. Here they are:

  1. Phase 1 (0-2 weeks) – In this phase, your therapy has the following goals:
    • Reducing Swelling
    • 0-90 deg range
    • Reactivation of your quadriceps muscles
    • Walking independently, weight bearing as tolerated
  2. Phase 2 (2-6 weeks) – This is where you will feel more normal. Therapy will have the following goals:
    • Maximising your range
    • Normal walking without aid
    • Scar tissue management
    • Some strengthening exercises
  3. Phase 3 (6-12 weeks) – We start focusing on more functional activities. We will try to get you back to your recreational activities
  4. Phase 4 (12 weeks and beyond) – We will be getting you back to your normal strength and normal activities

If you are one of those who are facing a total knee replacement in the future, we hope we have given you some insights into what the process is like. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Winsen Citra
Principal Physiotherapist

Winsen graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.

In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.