Specific rehabilitation is necessary following knee replacement surgery, explains Healthline. Rehabilitation and physical therapy begin within the first 24 hours after surgery and continue for at least 12 weeks.
Patients usually stay in the hospital for several days to recover from knee replacement surgery, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. During the first day a physical therapist helps the patient to use the artificial knee. Patients use assistive devices such as walkers, crutches or canes to move around. The patient also often uses a continuous passive motion machine to keep the knee moving and to prevent scarred tissue from forming, explains Healthline.
Patients increase their movement gradually, according to Healthline. At the instruction of a physical therapist, the person begins sitting on the bed, taking a few steps or walking to the toilet with assistive devices. The physical therapist discusses specific exercises that must be done each during week of rehabilitation to ensure the knee heals completely and functions properly.
In the first three weeks, patients complete the exercises given to them by the physical therapist and decrease their dependence on assistive equipment, states Healthline. By week six a person is typically able to perform activities such as cooking, cleaning and walking up to half a mile without assistive devices. By week 12 most people are able to walk over a mile, swim, play golf and drive.