Back To Normal Resuming Activities After Knee Surgery
Orthopaedic Surgery

Recovery after knee surgery is a highly individualised experience. It is often influenced by the surgical approach used and one's commitment to the rehabilitation process. Hence, it is crucial to follow post-operative guidelines to ensure optimal healing, reduce the risk of infections, and manage pain effectively.


General guidelines include meticulous wound care to prevent infection, proper pain management, and a rehabilitation program. Let’s discuss more about the recovery process, so you can return safely to normal activities, after a knee surgery.


The Recovery Timeline

The timeline for resuming normal activities after knee surgery varies depending on the type of surgery, individual factors, and the overall progress of your recovery. Here are general timelines for resuming different levels of activities after knee surgery.


Hospital Stay

Patients typically stay in the hospital for one to three days post-knee surgery. However, those who have had outpatient surgeries are allowed to leave the hospital on the same day. This recovery phase focuses on monitoring for complications and guidance on using assistive devices.


Within a few hours after waking from surgery, you will be advised to perform a post-surgery walk with assistance from your physiotherapist or other medical staff. This involves a short distance walk from the bed to the bathroom to prevent blood clots.


Discharge to Six Weeks Post-Surgery

The first six weeks after knee surgery is the most crucial time in your recovery. During this time, it is important to follow essential guidelines on managing pain and swelling and wound healing to prevent complications.


Physiotherapy continues as you recover at home to help you regain mobility and strength. Your healthcare provider may recommend exercises to strengthen your calf, hamstring, and quadricep muscles. You may also resume driving on the sixth-week mark, provided you have a go signal from your surgeon.


Six to Twelve Weeks Post-Surgery

During this time, you may start to notice improved mobility and strength. As you continue your rehabilitation program, you may be able to walk longer distances. You may also start performing low-impact activities to further strengthen your muscles. These include swimming, cycling, yoga, and dancing. However, remember to refrain from activities that involve knee twisting to avoid injuring your knees.


Six Months to One Year Post-Surgery

Most individuals experience significant improvement in their strength and mobility during this time. They are also able to resume normal activities. However, it is still advisable to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of activities as you recover. Your knee doctor may also advise you to refrain from high-impact activities that may injure your knees.


Returning to Work After Knee Surgery

There's no fixed rule for when you can return to work after knee surgery. Typically, patients may go back within a few weeks, depending on their recovery and job demands. Those with physically demanding jobs might need more time to fully recover before reporting to work. Always consult your knee specialist for guidance on a safe return to work.


Returning to Sports After Knee Surgery

Much like the return to work, the resumption of sports depends on the patient's recovery progress and guidance from the orthopaedic surgeon. Generally, individuals can engage in low-impact sports within three to six months with physiotherapy and proper rehabilitation. Young patients or those with prior sports experience may return even sooner. Low-impact sports include swimming, cycling, golf, and bowling.


Individuals engaged in more physically demanding activities, like rowing and hiking, may also resume with their doctor's approval. Athletes participating in high-impact sports, such as basketball and football, might be cleared to return within eight to nine months after rehabilitation.



In summary, recovering from knee surgery varies based on factors like the procedure and how well you follow rehabilitation. The teamwork of patients, surgeons, and physiotherapists ensures a personalised and gradual return to normal activities.


Follow your healthcare providers’ step-by-step recommendations, keep communication open, and stick to their advice for a safe recovery. Similarly, if you encounter any issues during recovery, let your surgeon know immediately to prevent further complications. By following these guidelines, you can protect your new knee and can confidently resume your regular activities.

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