What Can I Expect During My Knee Replacement Recovery?

What Can I Expect During My Knee Replacement Recovery?

Hearing the words “knee replacement” might initially cause you dread, but this procedure is a game changer if you’ve lived with debilitating knee pain and accompanying mobility limitations. 

If you’ve tried a multitude of treatments for severe knee pain to no avail, your doctor may recommend total knee replacement

Once the procedure is complete, our stellar team at Empire Physical Therapy & Athletic Rehabilitation is ready to help you chart your recovery and make it happen. The expertise that both Billy Reilly, MS, PT, and Paul LaRosa, MS, PT, have gained by providing an array of treatments and services means you’re in the best hands possible. 

Why might I need a total knee replacement?

You may be a candidate for knee replacement if you live with osteoarthritis and your symptoms have worsened. These include a serious level of pain and difficulty performing what used to be simple movements of daily life, like going up and down the stairs or simply walking. 

Or you may need surgery if you develop arthritis as a result of an injury. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition, can also cause pain and inflammation of your knee that isn’t solved by more conservative treatments. 

The good news is that today’s knee replacement is typically a minimally invasive procedure. Instead of an invasive operation requiring a large incision, your surgeon makes only one or two small ones and performs the procedure by inserting a thin tube with a tiny camera on one end into an incision. 

Other encouraging positives to note about knee replacement are that there are over 600,000 procedures done each year, and 90% of patients report a drastic reduction in pain. 

Minimally invasive surgery is also linked to a faster recovery and less pain, bleeding, and scarring. 

The role PT plays in recovery from knee replacement

In the initial period after your surgery, you use a walking aid, like crutches or a walker to get around, and you may need assistance with everyday tasks like bathing and cooking. You might also want to live on just one level of your home temporarily. 

For your recovery, we create a treatment plan that’s completely personalized. Our goal is twofold: to get you moving comfortably again and return your range of motion to what it was pre-surgery and pre-knee pain. 

We do this by strengthening your leg and may treat you with all or a combination of the following approaches:

Strength training

Strength training exercises rebuild your muscles after the surgery-induced period of inactivity. Since your hip helps to bring equilibrium to your knee, you might incorporate hip exercises into your routine as well

Balance exercises

Balance exercises are vital because you want to feel centered and confident in how you move after knee surgery. 

Range-of-motion exercises

Range-of-motion exercises allow you to work toward moving your knee normally again. One example is riding a stationary bike. It gets the job done, but is gentle on your knee. 


Since scar tissue that limits your knee movement often accumulates after knee replacement surgery, tissue massage can be a great help.

Gait exercises

Your pattern of walking is known as your gait. If it’s awkward and you have problems walking, you’re at risk for falling. Gait exercises help restore your gait, so you don’t need assistive devices. 

In order for you to build a trusting relationship with your physical therapist, you see the same one each time you come to Empire Physical Therapy. 

Between taking good care of yourself at home, like eliminating fall hazards from your living area, and coming to Empire for treatment to aid in your recovery from knee surgery, you’ll be back to your favorite activities again — without pain. 

Contact our conveniently located New York City office in the Midtown East section of Manhattan at 607-602-1330 to schedule an appointment or request one through our online system.

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