Is Life Normal after Knee Replacement?

Knee replacement is a surgical procedure for replacing damaged or worn-out parts of the knee joint. In most cases, it is performed to address osteoarthritis.

For this procedure, your orthopaedic surgeon would replace the damaged bone and cartilage with metal and plastic components. This can help restore the smooth movement of your knee joint.

A knee replacement surgery can also help with pain, and improve mobility. See what is involved during a knee replacement and all the conditions it can help manage on this page:

Can you live a Normal Life with Knee Replacement?

To begin with, the success rates of knee replacements are generally very high. The chances of the replaced joint lasting for about ten years range between 90 and 95 percent.

And there is an 80-85% chance of it lasting for 20 years. That said, the answer is yes, you can live a perfectly normal life with knee replacement. As you recover, please be patient. Try to allow as much time as possible for your body to heal.

Now, following your surgery, you may experience some discomfort. This is almost expected but the discomfort may come with some limitations in your mobility.

With the help of a specialist though, you can gradually regain your strength and flexibility. Physical and occupational therapy will be crucial in your rehabilitation process.

So, you may be assigned a physical therapist to guide you through exercises and techniques to enhance your recovery. Open communication with your orthopaedic surgeon, physical therapist, or occupational therapist will be crucial throughout your knee replacement journey. They are well-equipped to address any concerns or questions you may have about activities and your body.

And what is the Quality of Life after Knee Replacement?

A knee replacement surgery can significantly improve your quality of life. This is especially true if you’ve been riddled with severe knee pain and limited mobility.

But, the recovery process and adjustments needed after the procedure are important factors to consider. Understanding what to expect and how to navigate the post-surgery period can help you make a smooth transition.

It can also make it easier to maximize the benefits of your new knee. Here are key pointers your orthopaedic surgeon will want you to understand regarding the quality of life after knee replacement:

1. Recovery Period:

  • The recovery period following knee replacement surgery typically ranges from 6 to 12 months, with some cases requiring even longer.
  • It is essential to set realistic expectations for returning to work. Most individuals can resume work within 3 to 6 weeks, while those working from home may be able to do so within ten days.
  • Labour-intensive jobs may require a more extended recovery period, potentially up to 3 months or more.
  • Do not exert excessive pressure on your knee initially and gradually ease back into full working hours.

2. Sexual Activity:

  • Engaging in sexual activity after knee replacement surgery is generally possible after several weeks once the pain is no longer felt and comfort is achieved.
  • There are no strict timelines. However, it is crucial to listen to your body and proceed when you feel ready.

3. Exercise and Physical Activity:

  • Walking is encouraged as soon as possible after surgery. Initially, an assistive device may be used, but it should be discontinued when no longer necessary to aid in regaining knee strength.
  • Working with a physical therapist during the first few weeks is vital to identify and address any potential knee problems. Around 12 weeks after surgery, you can begin walking longer distances and gradually participate in other activities.
  • Low-impact exercises like swimming and water-based activities are recommended, as they are gentle on the knee. However, ensure that the wound has completely healed before entering a pool.
  • It is advised to avoid weight-bearing exercises and movements that strain the knee, such as squatting, twisting, or jumping. Also, don’t lift heavy objects.

4. Medication:

  • Strictly follow the doctor’s instructions regarding pain relief medications during recovery.
  • Prolonged use of pain relief medications can cause harm to your internal organs and potentially lead to addiction.
  • Adopting a healthy diet, managing weight, engaging in exercise, and utilizing ice and heat applications can aid in pain relief and reducing inflammation.

5. Driving:

  • The ability to resume driving after knee replacement surgery varies depending on individual circumstances and the knee operated on.
  • Most individuals can resume driving after 4 to 6 weeks. This may differ for patients with a manual transmission vehicle or those taking medications that impair driving ability.
  • Consult with your doctor before returning to driving. Also, ensure that the knee can adequately bend to operate the pedals.
  • Consider obtaining a disabled parking placard if needed, especially when using an assistive device for walking long distances.

6. Travel:

  • Travelling, especially long flights with limited legroom can be challenging after knee replacement surgery.
  • Wearing compression stockings, regularly stretching and walking around the plane, and performing foot exercises can help prevent blood clots and reduce swelling.
  • Consult with the doctor before engaging in long-distance travel during the initial months after surgery.
  • Be prepared for extra screening at airport security due to the metal components in the artificial knee. Wear clothing that allows easy visibility of the knee incision if needed.

7.  Household Chores:

  • As comfort and mobility improve, you can gradually resume household tasks like cooking and cleaning.
  • It may take several weeks before relying on crutches or a cane becomes unnecessary. And it may take several months before kneeling without pain is possible. Consider using knee pads for added comfort during this time.

8. Dental Work or Surgery:

  • There is a higher risk of infection for two years following knee replacement surgery. Therefore, antibiotics may be required before any dental work or invasive surgical procedures.
  • Consult the doctor or dentist before undergoing any procedures, as practice guidelines may change.

9. Clothing:

  • Loose and lightweight clothing may be more comfortable during the initial weeks of your recovery, although this may not be suitable for colder seasons.
  • Consider wearing long pants or longer dresses to protect or hide the wound, especially in the early stages. It is also important to wear sunscreen and protective clothing to shield the knee from the sun.

In Summation

Living a normal life after a knee replacement is certainly possible. The most essential things are proper care, rehabilitation, and guidance from your healthcare professionals.

With these, you should expect an improved quality of life and the ability to engage in activities that were once limited by knee pain. Don’t let a nagging knee pain pin you down.

Consult a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon to see if a knee replacement surgery can help. If you’re in Singapore, contact us now to book your appointment. Call or visit us at;

Artisan Sports & Orthopaedics Surgery

290 Orchard Road,

Paragon Medical Centre #07-12,

Singapore 238859

(65) 8909 8877