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May 13

Your Guide to Navigating Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Welcome to our first Elite blog of 2024!

Today we will be answering the most commonly asked questions regarding a Total Knee Replacement (TKR)

We will also be discussing some effective physiotherapy strategies we use to assist patients on their road to recovery following TKR surgery.

Undergoing surgery is a daunting experience for most and it is natural to have concerns and questions regarding the recovery process. Today we want to focus on questions include concerns involving pain management, recovery time, mobility and function.

How long does the recovery take?

The truth is no one’s recovery journey is the same and is very much dependent on the level of function prior to surgery, as well as age of the patient and whether or not there are any associated complications.

One thing all the research points to though, is the importance of early mobilization following surgery coupled with GRADUAL progression.

This is where our treatment comes in!

Physiotherapy is the cornerstone of this aspect of recovery and for this reason we prefer to see our patients in the clinic within the first two weeks following hospital discharge.

This way we can effectively oversee the rehab journey by ensuring there is sufficient flexion and extension (bending and straightening) happening of the knee as well as check that you aren’t getting into any habits at home like depending on mobility aids for too long.

The focus for the first six weeks of treatment will generally be on regaining full extension of the knee and as much flexion as possible.

Once this is achieved we can begin to focus on strengthening exercises to support the knee as you start with more challenging activities of daily living.

From about 3 months on the fun really begins as we introduce low impact exercise and get back to some of the gentle exercise you may be missing. Of course the hard work doesn’t end there and full recovery normally takes 6 months up to a year.

How much pain can be expected after surgery and during rehab?

Anyone who has undergone a TKR will tell you the first few weeks are tough going and the initial pain and discomfort can be intense.

However, take comfort in the fact that this will gradually improve and eventually you will be able to do the things you couldn’t do before.

How best to manage pain?

  • Follow the pain management plan prescribed by your doctor.
  • Regular physiotherapy sessions

All of our therapists are trained to employ pain management techniques such as gentle massage to alleviate your pain.
We will always respect your pain levels during your sessions.

Tip: Some patients have found it helpful to time their physio sessions for the time of day when they usually
experience the least pain.
It may even be a good idea to take some pain relief prior to the session to allow your therapist to mobilize your knee more effectively.

Mobilization can be painful but, believe it or not, will reduce your pain by reducing the stiffness in the joint

– Elite Therapy

What can I expect in terms of mobility and function?

It is important to be realistic about the recovery process. Especially regarding mobility and expected function. This is something to discuss with your doctor early on the rehabilitation journey.

Where possible, provide your therapist with a report from the operating surgeon detailing the degree of flexion/extension to aim for as well as the expected level of function. This will help us guide you through your recovery and set realistic goals for you to work towards.

Ultimately, being consistent with the exercise program provided by your therapist and actively participating in your rehabilitation go a long way toward achieving maximal mobility and quality of life. We will be here for you every step of the way!


Whether you’re preparing for TKR surgery, in the early stages of recovery, or seeking ongoing support, we’re here to help you regain mobility, reduce pain, and get back to the activities you love.

Contact us today to schedule a personalized consultation with one of our experienced physiotherapists.
Book Online Here or Call:  02476591600