Mistakes After Knee Replacement Surgery: Explore 5 Mistakes


Did you recently undergo a knee replacement surgery? According to the American College of Rheumatology, around 7,90,000 knee replacements are performed annually in the United States. However, once the knee replacement is over, post-operative care is equally important. Failure to do that can badly affect your recovery process. In this article, we take you through the top 5 mistakes after knee replacement that patients generally make.

Top 5 mistakes after knee replacement

1. Overlooking the importance of physical therapy

The biggest mistake you can make after knee replacement would be to completely neglect or pay the least attention to physical therapy. The most important aspect of recovery is regaining physical strength, mobility, and flexibility in the new joint.

Top 5 mistakes after knee replacement

Physiotherapy plays an integral part in this process. Generally, it happens that once the surgery is over, people tend to ignore physical therapy and also overestimate their ability to exercise. However, such mistakes may prove costly leading to muscle atrophy, stiffness, and a delay in recovery time.

hus, it is best recommended to give utmost importance to physical therapy and follow a therapist’s guidance. Also, make sure that you walk around frequently and change positions. This will help you keep pain issues at bay in the future.

2. Resuming excessive activity too soon

Never make the mistake of doing too much activity soon after knee replacement. This tendency is generally found among younger, fitter individuals who want to go back to their normal activities as soon as possible.

The danger of overdoing exercise is that you may not be able to repeat it after a couple of days as your knee might be too painful or swollen. This condition is termed as boom-bust. 

If your job demands you to go back to work immediately, opt for light duty or modified hours. Keep in mind that your focus should be completely on ensuring a safe recovery. To make it possible, allow your body to heal rather than rushing back to a strenuous job.

3. Not paying attention to pain and swelling

For the unknown, it is quite normal to have some amount of pain and swelling once you undergo knee replacement surgery. To keep it simple, they are the signs of progress. However, neglecting that pain and swelling can be a big mistake.

If the pain is uncontrollable, it may lead to reduced mobility and act as a hindrance in the process of rehabilitation. Thus, it is of utmost importance to keep your doctor informed in such situations as they can provide the necessary guidance on pain and swelling management based on your condition.

Generally, the techniques adopted by healthcare providers in managing pain include using ice, elevation, repositioning, integrative/alternative therapies, and pain medications. However, some patients may be reluctant to take pain medications as they are concerned about developing an addiction to such medication. However, the chances of being addicted to pain medication are very rare if you take the medications as prescribed by your surgeon.

4. No plan in place for post-operative care 

This is a mistake that is generally made before the knee replacement. It is quite essential to have a clear-cut plan in place regarding your post-operative care and recovery. The main elements of this plan should be the location you will be shifting after the surgery and the individual who will be your support person.

When it comes to post-operative care, there are a plethora of options available. One of them is to assign a family member or friend to stay at your house. The other option is to pick different people and assign different tasks to them each day.

A major drawback of not having a plan in place well in advance is that the patient will have to spend more time in the hospital. Once the discharge is over and he/she is back home, there will be more problems to deal with.

The support person will help the patient in doing jobs such as arranging transportation for appointments with the doctor, assisting with meals, and helping with other household tasks. Last, but not least make sure that the place in which you will be coming post-surgery is kept ready by the time you arrive.

5 Not consuming a healthy diet

Once you are done with the knee replacement surgery, a balanced diet plays an important role in the healing process. Hence, never make the mistake of neglecting your body’s need for nutrition after the operation. The danger of having nutritional deficiency is that it can hamper your body’s capacity to heal, regenerate tissues, and combat infection.

Thus, make sure that you consume a diet rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and proteins so that your recovery process becomes fast. It is best recommended to consult a doctor or nutritionist so that they can suggest a tailor-made diet plan for you.

Things to keep in mind after a knee replacement

Apart from the mistakes discussed above, make sure that you follow the below instructions which will make a speedy recovery possible.

1. In the initial days after your surgery, use crutches or walking sticks. Once you gain confidence, go down to a crutch and later a walking stick.

2. Try walking without the help of an aid after around 6 weeks once you feel ready.

3. Make sure that you get up and walk for about 5 minutes every hour. This is done to prevent blood clots.

4. Stay away from twisting your knee, bending down, and reaching up.

5. As much as possible, keep your leg raised so that swelling can be reduced.

6. Stay away from driving for at least 6 weeks if you have undergone a total knee replacement. If it’s a partial replacement, the recommended time frame is 3 weeks.


Hope the article offers lesser-known information about the top 5 mistakes after knee replacement that people usually make. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure and it is very true in the case of knee replacement as well.


  • Callaghan JJ. Unicompartmental knee replacement: introduction: where have we been? Where are we now? Where are we going? Clin Orthop. 2005;(430):272–273. [PubMed]
  • Canadian Institute for Health Information. Canadian Joint Replacement Registry 2004 Annual Report. Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) 2004. [[cited 2005 Mar. 15]]. [report on the Internet] Available from: https://www.cihi.ca/cihiweb/dispPage.jsp?cwpage=AR30E.

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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