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Post-Op Tips: Knee

At home, you play a major role in your recovery. The better you care for your knee, the faster you may heal. And the faster you heal, the sooner you can resume your normal activities. Follow your doctor’s instructions about how to care for your knee after surgery.

Home recovery

Closeup of elevated knee with bandage and ice pack.
Elevating and icing your knee decrease pain and swelling.

  • Apply a bag of ice to your knee and elevate your knee above heart level, as directed.

  • For the first few days, your doctor may recommend that you not bear weight on your knee. Use a cane, crutches, or walker as advised by your doctor.

  • Your doctor may also prescribe pain medications or anti-inflammatories, or both.

  • To prevent infection, keep your incisions dry by using a plastic bag when icing your knee or taking a shower. Be sure to follow your doctor's instruction on how long to wait before showering or bathing.

Strengthening your knee

You may be instructed to do exercises, possibly using weights. To help strengthen your knee, and avoid injuries, follow these tips:

  • Start out slowly, then increase repetitions  or duration as recommended.

  • Take short, frequent walks each day. Ask your doctor when you can start, how long your walks should be and how often you should take them.

  • Physical therapy may also be recommended to help you strengthen your knee and increase its range of motion.

  • Increase any exercise you do as approved by your doctor or physical therapist.

Talk with your healthcare provider about what exercise program is best for you. Always tell your healthcare provider if an exercise causes new or lasting pain.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.