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Rehabilitation Following Knee Replacement Surgery

Rehabilitation Following Knee Replacement Surgery

When successful, knee replacement surgery is often a life-changing procedure that drastically improves the quality of life for many patients. However, in order for you to meet the goals of the surgery, it’s important that you take responsibility for your role in the rehabilitation process. Your surgeon will expect that you closely follow the after-care instructions they provide. You’ll also need to make sure you attend physical therapy appointments and work diligently both on your own and with your therapist to achieve the best possible results. Here at CORE Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, we know the rehabilitation process following knee replacement surgery can be painful, but we urge you to commit to following your program. Here’s what you can expect to adhere to during rehabilitation:

  • In the Hospital

    • Ambulation with a walker or crutches depending on your weight-bearing status as determined by your surgeon
    • Perform range-of-motion exercises
    • Ice, compression, and elevation to control edema and swelling
    • Instruction on an in-home exercise program
    • Set discharge goals:
      • Get in and out of bed independently
      • Walking with walker or crutches independently
      • Walking up and down 3 steps independently
      • Independent completion of your home exercise program
      • Be able to bend your knee 90 degrees
      • Be able to fully straighten your knee
  • At Home

    • Begin walking with a cane
    • Continue continuous passive motion, range-of-motion exercises, and home exercise program
    • Care for the wound by keeping incision clean and dry
    • Monitor the wound closely for signs of infection
  • Outpatient Physical Therapy

    • Advanced strengthening program
      • Add weights as tolerated
    • Obtain range of motion of knee joint from 100-120 degrees
    • Stationary cycling
    • Walking program
    • Aquatic therapy program
  • Long-term Rehabilitation Goals

    • Be able to walk or perform other low-impact physical activities with mild or no pain
    • Be independent in all activities of daily living

*Important note: All information provided on this website is intended for information purposes only. Every patient’s case is unique and each should follow his or her doctor’s specific instructions. Discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your own physician to ensure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation. If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

In-Home Rehabilitation Exercises

In order for knee replacement surgery to achieve the best possible results, you’ll have to take control of the rehabilitation process. This process is important to keep up with your in-home exercises in between physical therapy sessions. Here are some examples of good exercises you can do easily on your own that your physician might prescribe. The number of reps will be dependent upon your physician’s recommendation.


  • Leg Raises
    Raise leg six inches above the mat, keeping knee straight. Slowly and gently lower it. Repeat.


  • Knee Extension
    Place a pillow under your bent knee. Lift your foot off the mat and lower it slowly. Repeat.
  • Ankle Pumps
    Flex ankle up and down.
  • Quadriceps Sets
    Straighten your leg and tighten your thigh muscles. Hold the contraction for five seconds and repeat
  • Heel Slides
    Make sure you’re wearing socks for this one. Slide your heels backwards towards your body to flex your hip and knee. Return knee to the straight position.

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Surgical Affiliations

Geneva Surgical Suites LLC
Geneva Surgical Suites

119 Elizabeth lane 53218 Genoa City, Wisconsin

Phone : 262-295-1213

Alexian Brothers Medical Center

800 Biesterfield Rd. Elk Grove Village, Illinois 60007

Phone : 847-437-5500

St. Alexius Medical Center

1555 Barrington Road Hoffman Estates, Illinois 60169

Phone : 847-843-2000

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

450 West Highway 22, Barrington, IL 60010

Phone : 847-381-0123


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