Knee joint replacement surgery may be total where both sides of the knee joint are replaced, or uni-compartmental where only one side of the knee joint is replaced. The procedure is performed by separating muscles and ligaments around the knee to expose the knee capsule, and then the inside of the joint.
Knee replacement is surgery for people with severe knee damage. Knee replacement can relieve pain and allow you to be more active. Your doctor may recommend it if you have knee pain and medicine and other treatments are not helping you anymore
Total Knee Joint Replacement Post Operation Instructions
Knee Replacement Post-Operative Rehabilitation

As a general guide to post-operative rehabilitation after Knee Joint surgery, the following are offered as guidelines.



Some exercises are particularly helpful in restoring muscle tone and as an aid to resuming activity.


Using your crutches for balance:

  • Swing the affected leg forwards and backwards in a straight line position - 10 - 20 times , 2 or 3 times a day - to an angle of 25 - 30 degrees.

  • Practice straight leg raising while in bed, lifting the leg off the bed to an angle of 15 - 30 degrees.

  • It is important to maintain the bend in the knee. The physiotherapist will instruct you in exercises to do this. It is often uncomfortable to push the bend but it is necessary and important that adequate movement is achieved.


Walk using your crutches on a smooth even surface, at a steady even pace. Take even steps and wear comfortable supportive footwear with a low heel.

You will need BOTH CRUTCHES for approximately 3-5 weeks after Knee Joint surgery.


Your walking distance can be steadily increased. If you feel you have overdone things ( e.g. Some muscular or bone pain or discomfort) rest more for a day or so.


Target distances will vary, but provided you feel strong enough and are not suffering pain or discomfort, total DAILY distances can be:

Weeks after operation:

  • week 1 - up to 0.5 km after Knee Joint surgery
  • week 2 - up to 1 km after Knee Joint surgery
  • week 3 - up to 3 km after Knee Joint surgery
  • week 4 - up to 4 km after Knee Joint surgery
  • week 5 - up to 5 km after Knee Joint surgery



Pain and Discomfort

Both bone and tissue ( muscle, nerves, tendons, ligaments) are undergoing a healing process that will not be complete for several weeks after the operation. ( Healing is generally complete in 10 - 12 weeks). As the knee joint is close to the skin surface, the knee is often warm for some months following surgery. This is part of the normal healing. After you have left hospital there is still commonly felt pain and discomfort. It can take the following forms and unless it persists or is severe is not a cause for concern or anxiety.

Soreness / Pain Around the Scar

  • caused by tissue/scar/repair, and as a result of the exercise.

Sudden sharp, needle-like pain in tissue

  • Caused by tissue repairing and nerves regaining viability

Aching Pain ( feels as if in bone)

  • Caused by excessive exercise or by e.g. sitting or lying in an inappropriate way

There is usually some loss of skin sensation on the outer aspect of the scar. This occurs because of division of a nerve supplying this area necessary when the knee is approached from the front.

Swelling and Warmth

  • It is common for the knee to remain warm and swollen for many months. This may increase with exercises. However, the wound should remain dry. Excess swelling and pain in the calf may require an ultrasound to exclude a blood clot.

Some Do Nots and Warnings
For the first 2-3 weeks after Knee Joint surgery you will need assistance in putting on and removing underpants, panties, trousers, slacks or similar,socks,stockings and footwear.
For the first 4 -5 weeks after Knee Joint surgery you will probably need assistance in putting on socks, stockings, panty hose, tying up shoe laces and taking off shoes.

Do not try to carry items WHILST USING BOTH CRUTCHES - it can cause you to lose your balance.

If your wound becomes increasingly red or oozes, then contact myself or your GP.
Use of Crutches
Use both crutches inside and outside for the first 3 - 4 weeks after Knee Joint surgery.
After 3 - 4 weeks you may find that around the house or office you can move safely and comfortably with one crutch or a stick, or no crutches.
Further Information Knee Replacement Surgery:
If you have any queries on Total Knee Joint Replacement Surgery please do not hesitate to contact Dr Hugh Blackley's practice rooms during office hours on 09 522 2980