Total Knee Replacement

Home Instructions


  • You may increase your daily activities gradually. Maintain your weight bearing as you were taught in physical therapy and ordered by your doctor. To obtain maximum motion and strength in your knee, the physical therapist will provide you with an exercise program to continue at home. Please refer to your therapy booklet. Do your exercises as instructed.
  • Apply an ice pack to the knee 20 to 30 minutes, 4 times per day for the first 24 to 72 hours & after exercises. Do NOT kneel or squat. Do NOT pivot on the involved leg. NO pillows under your knees. Do NOT cross your legs.
  • Do NOT Drive until you are seen by your doctor and given permission. Do NOT return to work to your doctor grants you permission.

After you are seen by your surgeon You MAY:

  • Swim
  • Bike
  • Walk
  • Golf
  • Garden — Use a sitting stool — Do NOT kneel

You may NOT:

  • Play singles tennis
  • Jog
  • Run
  • Shovel using the operative leg
  • Do high impact aerobics 



  • Take you pain medication as directed. Pain medication may be constipating. Include high fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables in your diet. Drink plenty of water. 
  • If needed, you may use a laxative of your choice.
  • Follow anticoagulation (blood thinner medication) instructions provided to you when you were discharged from the hospital.


Continue to use your Incentive Spirometer every 1 to 2 hours while you are awake for 7 to 10 days after discharge. This will help prevent respiratory problems such as pneumonia. 



If you have an Aquacel dressing: Aquacel post op dressing protocol: You may remove the Aquacel dressing 7 days after your surgery. See Aquacel instruction sheet. You may shower with the Aquacel dressing and after it is removed as long as no drainage. If any foul smelling, green, tan or excessive bloody drainage, notify your surgeon.


Wear you support stockings for 3 weeks to reduce swelling and maintain good circulation. You may remove the stockings for sleep but you must reapply each morning.

You will be given a “White Card”. Carry this card in your wallet to inform your doctors of your need for antibiotic therapy before any surgery or invasive procedures such as colonoscopy, bronchoscopy, heart catheterization, etc. This includes dental procedures and cleanings.

Do NOT wear shoes that tie unless someone else ties them for you. When walking, wear shoes that fit well rather than slippers. Do NOT use a walker on stairs. AVOID and remove any objects on the floor (such as a throw rug) that may cause you to trip and fall.


  • Fever of 101.5 degrees F or greater
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Significant increase in pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, calf or thigh pain


If you believe you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or your local emergency medical service (EMS)