Two days after total knee replacement surgery, the patient begins physical therapy, which is a key element of postoperative rehabilitation, states MedicineNet. To provide stabilization, the patient must use a knee brace during therapy and when walking or sleeping. The use of crutches or a walker is also necessary at first. The patient practices walking up and down inclines and stairs and learns home exercises that strengthen the thigh and calf muscles.
After discharge from the hospital, it is important for the patient to continue participating in a physical therapy program and performing the recommended home exercises, states MedicineNet. These exercises prevent scarring or contracture of the muscles surrounding the knee, help these muscles maintain their strength and ability to stabilize the knee, and reduce recovery time. After recovery, the patient must avoid physical activities with a high likelihood of stress or injury to the knee, such as running or contact sports. Swimming is a beneficial form of exercise due to its ability to strengthen muscles and improve endurance without placing pressure on the knee. Prior to undergoing any other medical or dental procedures, the patient must alert the doctor to the presence of the artificial joint, since invasive procedures may cause infection to the joint, and the doctor can prescribe antibiotics to prevent this.