Texas Joint Institute - September 20, 2023

One of the most common surgical procedures in the United States currently is knee replacement surgery. With about 800,000 knee replacements performed yearly, many patients want reduced pain in that area and engage in a more active lifestyle.

However, there may be some patients that will experience a different result or outcome after the procedure. In this article, we’re going to explain the five most common mistakes a patient can experience after getting knee replacement surgery.

What is knee replacement surgery?

Also known as knee arthroplasty, knee replacement surgery is a surgical procedure with a goal of improving mobility while relieving pain in individuals that have severely damaged knee joints. This procedure entails the removal of damaged cartilage and bone and replacing them with artificial joint components that can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic materials.

Knee replacement surgery is a common recommendation for individuals suffering from conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or knee injuries that negatively impact your quality of life.

Top five common mistakes after knee replacement

After undergoing knee replacement surgery, a successful recovery and long-term outcome largely depend on your commitment to proper postoperative care and rehabilitation. Here are the top five mistakes to avoid:

Skipping therapy and not following a prescribed exercise

Physical therapy and exercises play a crucial role in regaining strength, flexibility and function in the knee joint. Skipping therapy sessions or neglecting prescribed exercises can lead to muscle weakness, joint stiffness and reduced range of motion. It's important to participate in your rehabilitation plan to achieve optimal results actively.

Not taking proper medication

Pain management and infection prevention are essential aspects of knee replacement recovery. It’s important to follow the prescribed medication, like antibiotics and pain relievers, as neglecting instructions can slow down the healing process and possibly even increase the risk of complications. Following your doctor's medication recommendations is vital for a smooth recovery.

Doing too much activity or going back to work too soon

While it's important to engage in physical activities as part of your recovery, overexerting yourself or returning to work too early can strain your healing knee joint. Pushing too hard can lead to setbacks and delay the overall healing process. Gradually increase your activity level under the guidance of your healthcare team.

Not using pain management techniques

It’s common to experience some pain after knee replacement surgery, especially during the initial stages of recovery. Failing to utilize pain management techniques, such as icing, elevation and prescribed pain medications, can make the recovery process more uncomfortable and challenging. 

Not having a plan in place for after knee surgery

A successful recovery requires careful planning and preparation. Not having a support system in place, neglecting to arrange transportation for follow-up appointments, or failing to modify your home environment to accommodate your recovery needs can hinder your progress.

The truth about knee replacement surgery

Knee replacement surgery significantly relieves chronic knee pain and improves the quality of life for many individuals. However, it's important to keep in mind that a full recovery doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. The initial recovery period typically lasts several weeks to a few months, and it may take up to a year to achieve maximum improvement in strength and function. While knee replacement surgery can greatly enhance mobility, it may not restore your knee joint to its pre arthritic state.

Causes of pain after knee replacement surgery

Pain after knee replacement surgery can arise from various factors, including surgical trauma, inflammation, scar tissue formation, or improper rehabilitation. It's essential to communicate any persistent or new pain to your healthcare provider to identify and address the underlying cause.

Home care tips for knee replacement recovery

Ensuring a smooth recovery at home involves making adjustments to your daily activities. Here are some home care tips to consider: 


When it comes to sitting during your knee replacement recovery, the right setup can make a significant difference. Using a cushion or a chair with proper support is crucial in order to minimize strain on your knee joint. Opt for chairs that provide ample support to both your back and the affected knee. Consider using a footstool to keep your operated leg elevated slightly, which can help reduce swelling and promote better circulation.

Bathing or Showering

It’s essential to maintain personal hygiene; however, taking precautions to prevent slips and falls is important, especially when your mobility is limited. To make sure that there is safety present while bathing or showering, consider using a shower chair. This provides a stable surface to sit on, reducing the risk of accidents. Installing grab bars in the bathroom is another smart step to enhance your stability and give you something to hold onto when you need to maneuver. 

Using the Stairs

If possible, limit stair use during the initial recovery period. Using the stairs after knee replacement surgery requires careful attention to avoid strain on your healing knee. During the initial recovery period, it's recommended to limit stair use as much as possible. However, if stairs are unavoidable and you really have to use them, remember to lead with your non-operated leg when ascending or descending. This approach helps minimize pressure on the operated knee, promoting a smoother recovery. 

Lying down

Sleep with a pillow under your operated knee to maintain proper alignment and reduce pressure. Getting quality rest is crucial for your body's healing process. When lying down, try placing a pillow under your operated knee. This simple technique helps maintain proper alignment of the joint and reduces pressure on the surgical area. Experiment with different pillow placements to find the most comfortable position that supports your recovery. Additionally, sleeping with a few pillows propped under your back can alleviate pressure on your hips and knees, contributing to a better night's sleep.

Getting into the car

Traveling and getting into a car can present challenges during knee replacement recovery. To make this process easier, opt for the back seat of the car, as it often offers more legroom. Slide the car seat back to accommodate your leg comfortably, and use a pillow or cushion for added support. Remember to keep your operated leg slightly elevated to prevent stiffness during the journey.


As you gradually regain your mobility, walking becomes an important part of your recovery. Depending on your healthcare provider's recommendations, you might use assistive devices such as crutches or a walker. These aids provide stability and support, aiding you in maintaining balance and preventing unnecessary stress on your operated knee. Follow your provider's guidelines on the extent of weight-bearing and the gradual reduction of assistive devices as your strength and mobility improve. Use assistive devices, like crutches or a walker, as recommended by your healthcare provider.

Dangers and risks of delaying knee replacement surgery

Delayed knee replacement surgery can be very dangerous and pose a lot of risks. The pain that the patient is experiencing can worsen. There is also a possibility of decreased mobility and reduced quality of life. As the joint damage progresses, the surgical procedure may become more complex, and the recovery process may take longer. Consulting with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate timing for surgery is crucial to achieving the best outcomes.

Frequently asked questions

What to expect after knee replacement?

After knee replacement surgery, you can expect some initial discomfort and swelling. However, with proper care and rehabilitation, you'll gradually regain mobility and experience reduced pain.

How long does knee replacement surgery take?

The actual surgery typically takes around two to three hours. However, the overall recovery process can span several weeks to months–depending on how quickly you can heal.

What is the most commonly reported problem after knee replacement surgery?

One of the most commonly reported issues after knee replacement surgery is residual stiffness or limited range of motion. This underscores the importance of regular rehabilitation exercises.

What I wish I knew before knee replacement surgery?

Many patients express that they underestimated the duration of the recovery process and the need for consistent rehabilitation efforts.

Is knee replacement major surgery?

Yes, knee replacement surgery is considered a major surgical procedure due to its invasiveness and the significant impact it has on your mobility and lifestyle.

How to prepare for knee replacement surgery?

Preparation involves discussing your medical history with your surgeon, making necessary home modifications, arranging transportation for postoperative appointments, and following any presurgery fasting or medication instructions.

Do I need someone to stay with me after knee replacement surgery?

Having a support system, whether it's a family member, friend, or home healthcare professional, can greatly assist you during the first few days of recovery when mobility and self-care activities may be challenging.

In conclusion, knee replacement surgery offers substantial benefits for individuals with severe knee joint issues. Avoiding common mistakes during the recovery process and following recommended guidelines can help ensure a successful outcome and improved quality of life. It’s still highly recommended to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and care tailored to your specific situation.

Experience the best, hassle-free knee replacement surgery at Texas Joint Institute

We know how nerve-wracking and overwhelming it can be to get knee replacement surgery. That’s why here at Texas Joint Institute, we strive to deliver the best experience before, during and after knee replacement surgery to our patients. We have top specialists that provide exceptional care, even for complex cases. Not just that, but they’re devoted to helping throughout your recovery process, regaining your mobility and improving the quality of your life through personalized and compassionate care. We utilize knee replacement techniques that effectively decrease trauma and speed up recovery by using state-of-the-art technology.

Contact us today at (972) 566-5255 to schedule a consultation and experience the unparalleled expertise of the Texas Joint Institute.