How long is Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement? |

How Long is Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement?

doctor examining a patients knee

If you have severe knee pain caused by a fracture, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other bone diseases, your physician may suggest a total knee replacement. The surgical procedure will address the cause of your pain, but you’ll need physical therapy to regain your knee’s former strength and mobility. So, how long is physical therapy after knee replacement? The timeline varies between patients, but most people can expect an outpatient therapy program that lasts between 4 and 8 weeks. Your physical therapist can tell you everything you need to know about your recovery, but we’ll cover a few of the most frequently-asked questions about therapy after knee replacement, below.

What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

Therapy after knee replacement is nearly as important as the surgery itself! Typically, it begins on the day of your surgery, as soon as your pain is under control. How long physical therapy is after knee replacement—and what exercises you’ll be asked to do—depends on factors like your overall health and your age. 

First, you’ll learn how to get in and out of bed and how to walk with the help of a cane, crutches, walker, or parallel bars. To minimize the risk of blot clots, you will also be shown a series of exercises designed to boost the blood flow to your feet and legs. These exercises will also encourage flexibility in the joint and help to condition your muscles. Whether you’re headed to inpatient therapy at a rehab facility or outpatient therapy at home, you’ll be shown the best way to:

  • Dress, bathe, and use the bathroom
  • Walk for short periods and climb stairs
  • Bend your knee at a 90-degree angle

If you opt for outpatient therapy after knee replacement, you will likely be encouraged to supplement your therapy at home by:

  • Walking for short periods inside your home, and then outside
  • Performing basic chores and daily activities
  • Slowly climbing stairs
  • Continuing the knee-strengthening exercises given to you by the hospital’s physical therapist

What Happens When You Finish Therapy After Knee Replacement?

Even after you find out from your therapist how long your physical therapy program will continue after knee replacement, keep in mind that rehab doesn’t end there! Rebuilding your knee’s strength, balance, and mobility takes time—and it’s likely that you won’t feel like you’re at 100%, even after you complete your course of physical therapy. Your therapist will provide you with an exercise program to maintain at home following outpatient therapy after knee replacement, designed to build on the gains you’ve already made.

Learn More About Therapy After Knee Replacement

Start planning your recovery from knee replacement surgery today! The licensed therapists at IMPACT Physical Therapy are movement experts who can help you regain your mobility and improve your quality of life. Request a virtual visit to learn more about hands-on treatment and prescribed movement therapy after knee replacement, and what to expect at your first visit to one of our facilities in downtown Chicago, the southwest suburbs, and Champaign Urbana.