How long it takes to recover will vary depending on your general health and fitness and the type of knee surgery you’ve had. We’re advocates of the Rapid Recovery Protocol; a multi-disciplinary approach which includes the Anaesthetist, Physiotherapists, Surgeon and nursing staff. We use this approach to minimise pain and help you recover as quickly as possible.
Your hospital stay
As a rule, you’ll spend two to three days in hospital and during that time your knee will be sore. You’ll have a large protective dressing on your knee, and you may have a drain to remove blood from your wound.
While you're staying with us, any pain will be controlled with the medication. You’ll be cared for by a highly skilled team of nurses and visited daily by our physiotherapy team who’ll help you regain your mobility through carefully planned exercise.
We’ll only let you leave hospital once we're happy that it’s safe for you to do so. We’ll give you a frame or crutches to start with and you'll be shown how to safely go up and down the stairs. After about a week most people can walk independently with sticks.
For the first two weeks, while the metal clips and staples are holding the wound closed, your knee might feel a bit bruised.
By six weeks, most people have turned the corner; the pain is still there but less intense. You may be able to cope on less strong painkillers. You should be able to walk around at home, or outside briefly, and drive your car for a short distance. You must continue to do your exercises in order to keep your knee replacement moving. We’ll invite you back to the hospital and see one of the Orthopaedic Surgeons to make sure that the wound has healed, and you have a good range of motion in your knee.
By three months, when you come back to the clinic, you’ll be able to feel the benefit of the operation. However, it may take another six months to make a full recovery and return to your normal activities. Following your Consultant’s advice on how to look after your new knee and sticking to the exercises given to you by your Physiotherapist are important aspects of the recovery process, and it's important to follow their guidance.