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How Long Does it Take to Walk Normally After Knee Surgery

It is only natural for you to want to recover fast after a knee replacement surgery. Exercising on a regular basis can help rebuild your strength and improve motion range, allowing you to get back into the activities you love sooner. However, putting too much stress on the healing knee may cause post-operative pain and swelling.

Typically, it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year for patients to make a full recovery after knee replacement surgery.

Every individual heals differently, but here is a general overview on timelines:

You'll Start Walking Almost Immediately

After your surgery, you'll be up and moving around on your new knee in just a few hours. Though it might seem counterintuitive, movement is vital for a successful recovery. You'll start by taking short walks within your room or to the bathroom. Within 24 hours of surgery, you'll have your first physical therapy session where you will learn exercises specific to strengthening your knee and increasing mobility with your new joint.

You'll Need Some Help

Following surgery, most patients will require some form of assistive device to help them get around. This is usually in the form of a walking aid like crutches, a cane or a walker.

While these devices may take some getting used to, they can greatly reduce the risk of falls and injuries.

Grab bars can be installed in key areas around the home, such as in the bathroom or shower. These devices provide extra support and stability, helping to keep you safe as you move about your home.

Raised toilet seats and tub chairs can make it easier to use the restroom and take a bath or shower. While each patient's needs will be different, these assistive devices can help make everyday activities easier and safer following knee replacement surgery.

Knee Replacement Timeline

The amount of time it takes to get back to your usual routine varies per person, but what doesn't change is the need for physical therapy in order to recover.

  • One month after surgery: Your doctor will probably clear you to do low-impact activities like driving, returning to work and doing household chores. You may also be able to start running errands again.
  • Two months after surgery: At this stage in your recovery, you can probably begin to enjoy low-impact physical activities again. Many patients are able to get active by swimming, biking and taking longer walks.
  • Three months after surgery: With time, you should be able to return to running, skiing or other energetic activities that you love. Of course, you'll need to start off slow and go easy on yourself. However, eventually you will be able to push yourself to the level of activity that was once normal for you.

Following your postoperative surgery procedure is essential for a full recovery. This includes meeting with your surgeon on a regular basis. They will tell you what activities you are able to do and when, as well as speak with your physical therapist about other recommendations. If there is ever any doubt whether an activity may harm your new knee, always ask either the surgeon or physical therapist before attempting it.

Don't Spend The Night In The Hospital

When it comes to major surgery, the key word is “outpatient.” That means you can have your procedure done and go home the same day. And that’s good news for patients considering knee replacement surgery. In the past, this type of surgery meant a several-day hospital stay. But thanks to advances in pain management and surgical techniques, patients now can have their knee replacement surgery and be in their own home that night.

There are several reasons why having your knee surgery as an outpatient is advantageous. It’s more convenient and comfortable to recover in your own home rather than in a hospital setting. Outpatient surgery is less expensive than traditional inpatient surgery, both in terms of the procedure itself and post-operative care.

If you’re considering knee replacement surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon if you’re a candidate for outpatient surgery. With the right circumstances – including good overall health and a support system at home – this type of procedure can offer a safe and successful way to get back on your feet again.


At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region's first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.

Tags: Knee