Physical Therapy Before and After a Knee Replacement

Over 700,000 knee replacements are performed each year. That number is expected to increase to 3.48 million by 2030. That’s a lot of artificial knees! The most common cause leading to a knee replacement is arthritis. Arthritis is degeneration of the cartilage in the joints, leading to increased friction and pain. Physical Therapy is important part of the recovery process both BEFORE and AFTER surgery.

You might say: Well if my knee already hurts why would I want to go to Physical Therapy before surgery. Can’t I just wait until after?!? Not quite. PT is more than just giving you exercises and making you sore. We have a variety of techniques that can be used to help decrease pain including manual therapy, electrical stimulation, ice, balance, and strengthening exercises. Prior to surgery it’s important to improve range of motion and strength in all of the muscles and joints surrounding the knee. The better the ROM and strength going into surgery, the better it will be post surgery.  That is why it’s so important to keep up with exercises prior to surgery. Sometimes patients
are even able to postpone their surgery because they feel so great with Physical Therapy.

Physical Therapy following a total knee replacement in the outpatient setting usually begins a few days to a week following surgery. In the first few days following surgery the main focus is on pain relief and regaining motion. This will allow you to return to day to day activities and eventually to all of the other activities you love! It is important to improve range of motion and most importantly quadriceps function. The quadriceps are the group of large muscles on front of your thigh. They are important in standing, sitting, walking, and changing positions. As you are able to progress we will advance to more challenging exercises. Patients are usually in Physical Therapy 8-12 weeks following surgery, but each patient is different. Luckily we create individualized treatment plans for each patient.

Physical Therapy following a total knee isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to get you back to doing the activities you love!

Do you experience knee pain and/or have questions about Physical Therapy before and after a knee replacement?
Give us a call at 1-888-THERAPY!

Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Isanti Physical Therapy

November 7th, 2018

Posted In: General

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2 Comments

  • Braden Bills says:

    I’m going to have to have my knee replaced, so I just want to know what to expect. It makes sense that getting physical therapy would be beneficial! That way I can ensure that I get full mobility again.

  • It’s great that this article explains how patients usually start physical therapy a few days to a week after their surgery to help with pain relief and regaining motion. In order to make sure that you can get the best recovery, you might want to get recommendations for local professionals from your doctor as well as research online well before you plan to go to them. This could give you the opportunity to learn about their experience and qualifications as well as help you set up appointments with the ones you’re interested in so you can ask questions and discuss your situation to determine which one can provide the best physical therapy to help you restore your movement after the surgery and help with pain relief.

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