Total Knee Replacement

Background to knee surgery

Knee replacement is a procedure frequently carried out for the treatment of knee arthritis. It is a major orthopaedic operation carried out in many hospitals in the developed world.

Decisions regarding whether and when to undergo knee replacement surgery are not easy. As a patient you should understand the risks as well as the benefits before making these decisions. Your GP, physiotherapist and surgeon will be helpful in assisting you in making the decision.

Most patients arrive on the day of surgery and stay in hospital for between 3 and 7 days. The time spent in hospital is to: control your pain; to ensure that no early complications of surgery have developed and also to start working with the physiotherapists to make an early return to walking.

Activity before knee surgery

Keep as fit as possible!

Maximising the function of the worn knee before surgery by improving the muscles gives the patient an advantage when it comes to getting going again after the operation.

Walking, swimming and cycling are good for maintaining musculature. When swimming it is often best to avoid breast-stroke leg kicks due to the strain it places on the knee. Many patients also get significant benefit from Tai Chi or Pilates. Impact exercises (e.g. running, racquet sports) would not be advisable for the worn knee.