Home Knee Replacement Guide

Knee Replacement Guide


Resuming Normal Activities -

Once home, you should continue to stay active. The key is to remember not to overdo it! While you can expect some good days and some bad days, you should notice a gradual improvement and a gradual increase in your endurance over the next 6 to 12 months. The following guidelines are generally applicable, but the final answer on each of these issues should come from your doctor.

Physical Therapy Exercises - Continue to do the exercises prescribed for at least two months after surgery. Riding a stationary bicycle can help maintain muscle tone and keep your knee flexible. Try to achieve the maximum degree of bending and extension possible.

Driving - If your left knee was replaced and you have an automatic transmission, you may be able to begin driving in a week or so, provided you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication. If your right knee was replaced, avoid driving for 6 to 8 weeks. Remember that your reflexes may not be as sharp as before your surgery.

Airport Metal Detectors - The sensitivity of metal detectors varies and it is unlikely that your prosthesis will cause an alarm. You should carry a medic alert card indicating you have an artificial joint, just in case.

Sexual Activity - can be safely resumed approximately 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.

Sleeping Positions - You can safely sleep on your back, on either side, or on your stomach.

Return to Work - Depending on the type of activities you perform, it may be 6 to 8 weeks before you return to work.

Other Activities - Walk as much as you like, but remember that walking is no substitute for the exercises your doctor and physical therapist will prescribe. Swimming is also recommended; you can begin as soon as the sutures have been removed and the wound is healed, approximately 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. 
Acceptable activities include dancing, golfing (with spikeless shoes and a cart), and bicycling (on level surfaces).


Avoid activities that put stress on the knee. These activities include: tennis, badminton, contact sports (such as football, baseball), squash or racquetball, jumping, squats, skiing, or jogging. Do not do any heavy lifting (more than 40 lb) or weight lifting.