Knee Replacement Rehab

Written By: Chloe Wilson, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

Knee Replacement Rehab helps make sure you get the best results from your new knee. Find out what to do to make the best recovery following knee replacement surgery

Effective knee replacement rehab is vital if you want to get the best results from your new knee.

It doesn't matter if it is a total knee replacement or a partial knee replacement, the rehab process is essentially the same.  

When done correctly, rehab will help you regain movement, strength and balance, enabling you to get back to the activities you love, or even allow you to take up new ones.

Knee replacement rehab exercises will help to increase the amount of movement at your knee, so you can bend and straighten it fully, and improve the strength of your knee muscles.

These will make your daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs much easier.

When Should Knee Replacement Rehab Start?

Knee replacement rehab should start before you even have surgery. By doing exercises before surgery, you can improve the strength and flexibility of your knee. 

This helps with the recovery process for a number of reasons:

You may need to use crutches for a short period following a knee replacement
  1. Better Support: for the new knee which makes it much easier to move around, with or without walking aids

  2. Increases Confidence: you already know what to do so you can get going quicker

  3. Builds Good Habits: if you have gotten into the habit of doing exercises regularly before surgery, it is easier to keep going with them afterwards

  4. Quicker Recovery: The more strength and movement you achieve before surgery, the easier it will be to maintain and improve both after surgery, even if things feel painful and tight to start with. You will be starting from a much better place.

What Does Rehab Involve?

Before your knee replacement surgery, as well as talking things through with your surgeon, you should also be given the opportunity to see a physical therapist. 

They should go through a knee replacement rehab programme with you consisting of exercises to help you regain your knee movement and build up your muscle strength. 

They will start with simple exercises that you can do lying down in bed and sitting in a chair and then progress on to more advanced exercises to do in standing. 

Knee replacement rehab exercises will help speed up your recovery and help you get the best results from your new knee.

For the first few weeks, you will need to be doing exercises at least twice a day, every day as part of your knee replacement rehab.  Over the weeks as the knee gets stronger and looser, your day to day activities will increase and you'll be able to cut down gradually on exercises. 

You will probably need to continue with exercises for a few months after your knee replacement - don't stop until you have regained full strength and movement in your new knee.

Remember, it is well worth starting knee replacement rehab exercises before you have your operation to get your muscles stronger as you will recover quicker from the operation.

Successful Knee Replacement Rehab

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Beat Knee Arthritis

Our new Knee Arthritis Book is out in paperback or for instant download on your Kindle.  Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control: From Exercises To Knee Replacements & Everything In Between

Top tips, exercises and loads more.

Paperback or Kindle.

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How well you stick to your knee replacement rehab programme will have a big impact on the outcome of your surgery.

If you exercise regularly, you will end of with a very strong, mobile knee that allows you to do almost anything you want. If you don’t exercise your knee you run the risk of developing long term stiffness and weakness in your new knee which will limit function e.g. walking and climbing stairs.

In the knee replacement rehabilitation exercises section you will find a whole range of simple and effective exercises to do both before and after knee replacement surgery to help you get the best out of your new knee. There are easy to follow instructions and videos as well as guidance on how to progress.  

Always check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting new exercises.

Want To Know More?

To find out more about knee replacements, what they involve and the recovery process, choose from the following sections

  1. Knee Replacement Guide: Including how to tell if you would benefit from surgery
  2. TKR Surgery: What actually happens during the operation
  3. Recovery Timeline: What you can do when after surgery
  4. Common Problems: Common problems associated with knee replacements
  5. Your Questions Answered: Answers to frequently asked questions to tell if you are overdoing things
  6. Knee Replacement Video: Watch an animated guide or real footage (not for the squeemish) from TKR surgery
  7. Partial Knee Replacements: An alternative, less invasive surgery where only one side of the knee is replaced
  8. Knee Replacement Book: Our handy book tells you everything you need to know about knee arthritis and knee replacement surgery.

Page Last Updated: 11/09/21
Next Review Due: 11/09/23