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Knee Replacement Surgery | Recovery | Exercises

Updated: Mar 30

What is knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery or knee arthroplasty is a method to resurface a knee injury caused by arthritis. In order to form the knee joint together with the knee cap, the end of the bones is capped by the implementation of metal and plastic parts.

In general, knee replacement surgery may be considered for individuals suffering from severe arthritis or as well as severe knee damage.

The knee joint may be affected by various types of arthritis. The disintegration of the joint cartilage and adjacent knee bone can result from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that mainly affects middle-aged and older adults. Causing synovial membrane inflammation and leading to excessive synovial liquid, rheumatoid arthritis may lead to pain and hardness.

The cartilage of the knee can also be injured due to traumatic arthritis. The main aim of the surgical procedure is to resurface the components of the knee joint which have been injuries. The procedure also addresses pain relief in the knee which otherwise can not be controlled by other treatment methods.

Total knee replacement

In a total knee replacement process, the diseased knee joint is replaced with another artificial material. The motion at the point where the thigh and lower leg meets is provided by a knee which is a hinge joint. During the total knee replacement surgical process, the surgeon removes the femur bone and replaces it with a metal shell.

S/he also removes the end of the lower leg bone which is replaced with a channeled plastic piece with a metal stem. Depending on the conditions, the surgeon may add a plastic “button” under the kneecap surface. The artificial parts of this surgical procedure are called prosthesis.

In general, each side of the knee joint is stabilized by the posterior cruciate ligament tissue. This prevents the lower leg from sliding backward in relation to the thighbone. When patients have a total knee replacement surgery, this ligament may be retained or substituted by a polyethylene post depending on the circumstances.

There are both risks and benefits in each of these methods of the total knee replacement process.

Why someone might need knee replacement surgery?

Pain and disability in the knee can be fixed by the surgery. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause that requires patients to have a knee replacement injury. The degradation of joint cartilage is characterized by osteoarthritis.

Cartilage damage and bone damage restricts movement and can cause pain. Since it becomes painful, individuals with serious degenerative joint illness may not be able to perform normal daily activities involving walking or climbing stairs.

In addition, rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis, which can be the result of a knee injury, can also cause to the breakdown of the knee joint. Irreversible damage to the knee joint may be caused by fractures, torn cartilage, or torn ligaments.

Knee replacement surgery becomes an effective way of treatment if a patient gets no positive result from medical treatments.


In general, it takes up to 3 hours to complete a total knee replacement surgery. Following the operation, patients are taken to a recovery room. There the vital organs are regularly monitored. After stabilization, patients are taken to hospital rooms.

During the rehabilitation period having physical therapy is very important. In addition, the process requires full participation by the patient to get the best results. Patients can start their phycisal therapy sessions 48 hours following the knee replacement.  However, during the early days of the recovery period, patients may experience some degree of pain and discomfort.

During the physical therapy sessions, patients are prescribed knee immobilizers to stabilize the knee.


During the recovery process, it is important for patients to perform home exercises along with the physical-therapy program in order to get the optimal results. In order to retain muscle strength for joint stability physical therapists will ask patients to proceed with exercising the muscles surrounding the replaced joint. These exercises are important since they will help to decrease the time needed for recovery.

Patients will be also monitored by their surgeon for healing. In addition, patients should also pay attention to any warning signs of infection such as abnormal redness, swelling or unusual pain. Once noticed it is important to report your doctor immediately.

In general, some activities are limited since they can harm the replaced knee joint. For example, some intense exercises, such as running, can be replaced by swimming. Note that, being one of the ideal forms of exercise, swimming develops muscle strength and endurance while putting no pressure or stress on the replaced joint.

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