Recovery at Home
It takes most patients three to six months to fully regain strength and energy after joint replacement surgery. You should see steady improvement throughout this time. Review your exercise plan with your physician and therapist before leaving the hospital.
If you had a knee replacement, your most important homework is to practice bending your knee as far as possible on a regular basis. There is a 3 to 4 week window of opportunity where you will see the most improvement in knee flexion following surgery. After that, the rate of improvement slows down significantly. Your physician may schedule an in-home physical therapy evaluation or recommend outpatient physical therapy after you are discharged from the JRC.
The sooner you become active, the sooner you will get back to normal. You are encouraged to get around and use your new joint as normally as you are able, as often as you can tolerate. It is normal to have some post-exercise soreness or swelling for a while, but these symptoms should gradually decrease over the course of several weeks.
You also need to allow time for muscles and tissues around your new joint to heal. While activity is very important, you also need to schedule rest periods throughout the day. It is normal for everyday activities such as dressing, preparing meals or shopping to take longer than you are accustomed. Factor in this extra time for your daily activities.