Monday, August 15, 2022

How Painful Is A Total Knee Replacement

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How painful is a total knee replacement
  • Typically, knee replacement surgery hurts more than hip replacement surgery .
  • After surgery, pain is no longer achy and arthritic but stems from wound healing, swelling and inflammation.
  • Hip replacement patients often report little to no pain around the 2-6 week mark.
  • A large percentage of knee replacement patients report little pain around the 3 month mark.
  • Pain, swelling, and bruising are part of the natural recovery process.
  • PreHab in the weeks leading up to surgery can help reduce recovery pain. This is due to better preparing the body and muscles that support the affected joint and learning tips and tricks to manage joint pain.
  • Fear and anxiety about pain and holding onto old pain after surgery can slow down your recovery.

Pain Associated With Bone Healing

During the procedure, the ends of your femur and tibia are mechanically removed and the implants are hammered and cemented into place. Often bone spurs are shaved off and your bone is placed under significant amounts of stress.

This bone trauma takes time to heal and is unseen to the naked eye. It is normal to have deep bone-associated pain for several weeks after surgery.

How Long Do You Have Pain After Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Youve just had a total knee replacement. While you know that this will definitely add years to your mobility, the pain from the surgery is the only thing you can focus on overcoming right now. While you may have been experiencing chronic pain before knee surgery, it may come as some relief that post-surgery pain should go away in a short time with proper recovery.

Immediately after surgery, you can expect to be in the care of hospital staff for anywhere from 2-5 days. They will keep you on regular pain medication and be able to keep you up to speed in your recovery process. Its when you head home that it is now up to you to make sure you are doing your stretches, monitoring and dosing your pain and subsequent pain medication accordingly, and following your doctors orders.

While the rest-ice-elevate rule applies to most injuries and surgeries, it is particularly important after a total knee replacement because your pain can be so significant, you will want to do everything you can to stay on track in your healing process.

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What Can I Do To Help Ease The Pain

Once the knee replacement surgery is completed, its imperative that the patient gets up and walking on the new knee as soon as possible to prevent blood clots. Putting pressure on the newly operated joint, as well as bending the knee will cause initial pain but will fade as the healing continues. Fortunately, knee replacement surgery technology and pain management have come a long way since the first days of the procedure, so today knee replacement surgeries involve less pain and patients are able to heal faster than ever before.

How Long Does Pain Last After Knee Replacement Surgery What To Expect

Total knee replacement

Knee pain can appear in many forms. Arthritis, an injury, and gradual wear and tear as you age can all have an effect on your activities and comfort level. If youre unable to walk or climb a stairs because of your pain , knee replacement surgery may be the best way to get your life back. While the benefits of the procedure may significantly outweigh temporary discomfort, its important to have realistic expectations regarding your recovery timeline and knee replacement pain after surgery.

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Knee Pain After Total Knee Replacement

Knee replacement remains one of the most successful operations ever performed. The majority of the patients find the surgery a life changing experience allowing them a new lease on life. They are to perform activities in a pain free manner which they have not done for many years.

Unfortunately not every patient is satisfied following their total knee replacement and some patients still experience pain or stiffness. Usually this is less severe than their pre-operative pain and most pain settles by 12 months without further intervention. The knee can remain swollen for this period of time. There are some conditions which may need further treatment including possible surgery but 95% of knee replacements generally work extremely well and last more than 15 years.

The most common reasons for a knee to be painful include


The first 6 weeks is the critical time to regain range of motion. Occasionally a manipulation is required in the operating theatre to bend it further. It is difficult to get any further movement after 10 weeks.

Wearing out of the plastic liner

This normally does not occur for many years and can usually be fixed by replacing the liner with a new one.

Loose components

Possible Complications Of Surgery

The complication rate following total knee replacement is low. Serious complications, such as a knee joint infection, occur in fewer than 2% of patients. Major medical complications such as heart attack or stroke occur even less frequently. Chronic illnesses may increase the potential for complications. Although uncommon, when these complications occur, they can prolong or limit full recovery.

Discuss your concerns thoroughly with your orthopaedic surgeon prior to surgery.

Infection. Infection may occur in the wound or deep around the prosthesis. It may happen within days or weeks of your surgery. It may even occur years later. Minor infections in the wound area are generally treated with antibiotics. Major or deep infections may require more surgery and removal of the prosthesis. Any infection in your body can spread to your joint replacement.

Blood clots. Blood clots in the leg veins are one of the most common complications of knee replacement surgery. These clots can be life-threatening if they break free and travel to your lungs. Your orthopaedic surgeon will outline a prevention program, which may include periodic elevation of your legs, lower leg exercises to increase circulation, support stockings, and medication to thin your blood.

Blood clots may form in one of the deep veins of the body. While blood clots can occur in any deep vein, they most commonly form in the veins of the pelvis, calf, or thigh.

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What Is Revision Total Knee Replacement

Revision total knee replacement is the replacement of a failed total knee prosthesis with a new prosthesis. In simple terms, it is the replacement of a knee replacement .

Knee revision surgery is a complex procedure that requires extensive preoperative planning, specialized implants and tools, prolonged operating times, and mastery of difficult surgical techniques to achieve a good result.

Pain After Knee Replacement: Six Months

A Less Painful Approach to Knee Replacement

If you are still experiencing pain six months after surgery, you may be wondering how long it will be until you feel normal again. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.

In some cases, it may take up to a year for all of your swelling to completely go away. Your knee will continue to recover for years to come, as scar tissue forms and your muscles become stronger with continued physical therapy and light exercise.

As previously mentioned, if you are still experiencing debilitating levels of pain at this stage, you could be suffering from chronic pain. While you may be tempted to tough it out, its important to talk with your doctor. Together, you can find what is causing your persistent pain and come up with a plan to fix it.

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Total Knee Replacement Recovery

Most of your recovery and rehabilitation will be at home after you leave the hospital. Some people need home health care or assistance.

Your doctor will most likely prescribe physical therapy at a local clinic for continued rehabilitation. The physical therapist at this clinic will suggest exercises you can do at home.

Everyone recovers differently, but most people are allowed to return to driving by the end of 4 weeks.

Some weeks before the procedure, your surgeon will take you through a preoperative evaluation, or pre-op.

They will ask you questions about:

  • your overall health
  • any medications and supplements you use
  • any specific concerns you may have

They will also do the following:

Carry out tests to check that you are ready for the procedure and assess for possible complications. These may include kidney and lung tests.

Ask you to sign a consent form and provide details of emergency contacts.

Let you know of any preparations you should make before the day. For example, you may need to stop taking certain medications temporarily.

Uncommon Causes Of Pain After A Knee Replacement Include:

  • Loosening of the implant components: though this can be common at about 15 years post-op, it should not be occurring at 1-year post-op.
  • Malalignment of the implant: could be from the procedure or after a fall.
  • Fracture: possible after a fall, especially in patients over 70.
  • Infections: occurs in less than 1% of patients. Symptoms include swelling, redness to the joint, increased pain, and fever.

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Knee Replacement Symptoms: Top Signs You May Need Surgery

When knee pain, stiffness, or injury strikes, one of the last things youd expect your medical provider to mention is knee replacement surgery. The thought of the procedure may leave you feeling wary. However, surgery is safe and highly effective at reducing pain for over 90 percent of total knee replacement patients, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons .

You may be in search of answers about what signs indicate you may benefit from knee replacement surgery. Review the following information about knee replacement surgery and the symptoms that mean it might be the right solution for you.

Long Term Knee Replacement Problems

Recovery After a Total Knee Replacement

Longer term knee replacement problems are rare but include:

  • Wearing of the Prosthesis: 85% of knee replacements last at least 20 years
  • Loosening of the Prosthesis: 1.4% of patients require a repeat total knee replacement, known as a revision knee replacement
  • Infection in the Knee Joint: this can occur years after surgery
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    Why Might I Need A Total Knee Replacement

    You might need a total knee replacement if you have significant damage to your knee joint. Different types of medical conditions can damage this joint, such as:

    • Osteoarthritis

    • Injury or fracture of the knee joint

    • Bone tumor in the knee joint

    This damage might be very painful and limit your normal activities. The procedure may help decrease your pain, improve your joint mobility, and quality of life. Usually, healthcare providers only recommend total knee replacement when you still have significant problems after trying more conservative treatments, like pain medicines and corticosteroid shots .

    Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of having minimally invasive total knee replacement instead of traditional total knee replacement. Minimally invasive total knee replacement uses a smaller incision than a traditional knee replacement, so it may lead to less pain and decreased recovery time. It is not yet clear whether the procedure leads to an increased risk of certain complications, though.

    In some cases, you may have other surgical options, like shortening the bone or a partial knee replacement. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of all your options.

    How Long Will I Be In The Hospital After Total Knee Replacement

    The length of hospital stay after knee replacement will depend on:

    • Replacement and incision healing routinely.
    • Manageable pain levels.
    • The patient being able to perform bed mobility and walking without requiring someone else doing the majority of the work for them
    • Help at home from family or friends for activities that will require assistance such as driving, cooking, cleaning, moving in and out of bed, sitting down and standing up, walking, or using stairs

    These are important for ensuring a patient is safe to go home. The majority of patients meet these requirements and will be out of the hospital within 1-3 days.

    If a patient has delayed healing or limited support at home, they may be a candidate to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation hospital for 1-2 weeks for further recovery.

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    Returning To Activities / Sports

    With knee replacement recovery time is one of the biggest healers. Over time the swelling will reduce, your muscles will get stronger and your knee should free up becoming more flexible than beforehand.

    It is important to take things easy for the first few weeks but after that, you can start thinking about returning to your favorite activities. Here are some helpful tips on knee replacement recovery time:

    • You can resume most activities after 6-12 weeks, for example swimming
    • Some activities should be carried out with care e.g. golf dont wear shoes with spikes
    • Some activities are not advised following a total knee replacement as they put too much stress on the new knee joint. These include: jogging, contact sports e.g. basketball and football, squash, badminton, jumping activities and skiing. If you are unsure, discuss things with your doctor.

    Pain and swelling can take up to 3 months to settle and knee replacement recovery time continues up to 2 years after your operation.

    What Is A Total Knee Replacement

    Painful Total Knee Replacement – Why Does It Still Hurt?

    Total knee replacement is a type of surgery to replace a damaged knee joint. A minimally invasive surgery uses a smaller cut than a traditional total knee replacement. This type of surgery typically requires special tools so that the surgery team can see and do the procedure through the smaller incision.

    The knee has several parts: the lower end of the thigh bone , the upper end of the shin bone , and the kneecap . A smooth substance called cartilage caps the ends of these bones and keeps the bones from grinding together. When there is damage to the knee joint, these bones may scrape together abnormally and cause pain.

    During minimally invasive total knee replacement, your surgeon makes an incision to access your shinbone and thigh bone. Next, he or she removes a portion of the bones that make up the knee joint. Your surgeon replaces these bone parts with metal components that recreate the joint surface. A layer of plastic is placed between the metal components for smooth gliding.

    Minimally invasive total knee replacement often takes place under general or spinal anesthesia.

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    Knee Replacement Recovery Tips

    Here’s some top tips for four common questions about total knee replacement recovery time:

  • How Long Does The Pain Last? Many people find they have less pain after their knee replacement as the arthritis pain is no longer there. The post-op pain usually settles down within 6-12 weeks although their may be some residual pain and swelling for up to a year.
  • How Do I Sleep After A Knee Replacement? Typically people find it most comfy to sleep on a firm mattress, either lying on their back or on their side with a pillow between their legs.
  • Can I Kneel Down With My Knee Replacement? Yes you can although it may be uncomfortable in which case use a cushion or knee pad. Kneeling won’t cause any damage to the knee replacement and certainly won’t delay your knee replacement recovery time.
  • How Do I Make the Best Recovery? In order to make the best knee replacement recovery, follow all the advice from your doctor and physical therapist. Start exercises prior to surgery, get up and about as soon as possible, stick to your rehab program, take medications regularly when advised and keep going. There may be ups and downs along the way, but stay focused and positive
  • You can find the answers to loads more similar questions in the total knee replacement recovery questions section.

    Knee Replacement Pain A Year And Beyond

    The goal of knee replacement surgery is to help you get back to the activities you love. Your doctor will encourage you to stay fit through activities like swimming, cycling, and even golf. This type of exercise will help you stay limber and pain-free.

    On the contrary, there are certain activities that could negatively affect the prosthetic joint materials in place. Even normal use will begin to wear out the implants, but excessive weight or activity can cause your knee replacement to loosen and become painful. You may need to avoid running, jogging, high-impact exercises, and contact sports for the rest of your life following surgery.

    The good news is that studies show more than 90% of total knee replacements are still functioning properly 15 years after surgery. Staying healthy and following the advice of your doctor will help you achieve these long-term benefits.

    While its possible for pain to persist for a year and beyond, it shouldnt be debilitating. Scar tissue can continue to heal, as well as the muscles in your knee, but if youre suffering from ongoing pain after a year, always talk to your doctor.

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    Preparing For Knee Replacement Surgery

    Before you go into hospital, find out as much as you can about what’s involved in your operation. Your hospital should provide written information or videos.

    Stay as active as you can. Strengthening the muscles around your knee will aid your recovery. If you can, continue to do gentle exercise, such as walking and swimming, in the weeks and months before your operation. You can be referred to a physiotherapist, who will give you helpful exercises.

    Read about preparing for surgery, including information on travel arrangements, what to bring with you and attending a pre-operative assessment.

    Characteristics Of Severe Arthritis Of The Knee

    Total Knee Replacement In Younger Active Patients Dr. Stuart Kozinn, MD ...


    Pain is the most noticeable symptom of knee arthritis. In most patients the knee pain gradually gets worse over time but sometimes has more sudden flares where the symptoms get acutely severe. The pain is almost always worsened by weight-bearing and activity. In some patients the knee pain becomes severe enough to limit even routine daily activities.


    Morning stiffness is present in certain types of arthritis. Patients with morning stiffness of the knee may notice some improvement in knee flexibility over the course of the day. Rheumatoid arthritis patients may experience more frequent morning stiffness than patients with osteoarthritis.

    Swelling and warmth

    Patients with arthritis sometimes will notice swelling and warmth of the knee. If the swelling and warmth are excessive and are associated with severe pain, inability to bend the knee, and difficulty with weight-bearing, those signs might represent an infection. Such severe symptoms require immediate medical attention. Joint infection of the knee is discussed below.


    The knee joint has three compartments that can be involved with arthritis . Most patients have both symptoms and findings on X-rays that suggest involvement of two or more of these compartments for example, pain on the lateral side and beneath the kneecap . Patients who have arthritis in two or all three compartments, and who decide to get surgery, most often will undergo total knee replacement .

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