How Long After Surgery Do You Start Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy Right After Surgery

This will surprise you, but within a day of your service, you may expect to start PT.

A physical therapist is going to come to your emergency room to show you activities that you can start doing right away. You’re going to get fresh stitches and a brand new section of your body. Trust, though, that the moves are safe. They’re built for:

  • Strengthen your leg
  • Restore knee movement
  • Help you walk on your new knee

Home or Rehab Clinic

Most individuals remain in the hospital for 1 to 3 nights. You could check into a rehab facility after you’re discharged. There, for a few weeks, you can usually get physical therapy 6 days a week. One benefit of a rehab facility is that you can have support and every day you’re able to do your workouts.

The majority of people go straight home. Home PT, done properly, is just as helpful as in-patient rehab. You would probably require several days a week of in-home physical therapy for 4-6 weeks.

At an outpatient rehab facility, a third approach is to do your PT. Some persons, without an overnight stay, do have the knee surgery itself as an outpatient. Based on your age and fitness, your doctor will decide the best choice for you.

Home Care

Keep these tips in mind if you go home instead of going to a rehab facility.:

Help your wound heal. Until it is sealed and cured, do not soak it in water. Ask your doctor for advice on when it is safe to shower after surgery.

Eat right. Be sure to eat healthy foods, even if you do not have an appetite after the process. Your doctor might also prescribe an iron substitute or diet that is high in fiber to avoid future drug issues.

Move your new knee. Chances are, when you get better, you will get a walking plan that starts inside and then takes you outside. On top of that, a few times a day at home, you’ll do PT moves.

Day 1: A physical therapist at the hospital will instruct you when you get out of bed and, for the first time, put weight on your new knee. With a walker, you might even take a few steps.

The therapist will assist you with bedside exercises as well. Tightening your thigh muscles, holding for 5-10 seconds, releasing, and repeating 10 times is an example. By shifting your foot up and down to tighten your shin and calf muscles, you’ll even “pump” your ankles.

Day 2: To strengthen the muscles that protect your knee, you’ll keep doing exercises. As well as flexing and relaxing your thigh muscles, you can practice bending and straightening your legs. You’ll walk faster as well, either with a walker or with crutches.

Days 3-5: You may still be in the hospital, or you may be transferred to a treatment facility or back home. For as much PT as you can afford, you proceed. You can even climb some stair steps with support.

Day 5-week 4: As your knee gets better, you slowly speed up your workouts. You may be able to function during this period,:

  • With your walker or crutches, walk on.
  • To walk, you only need a cane or a single crutch. Once you can stand for more than 10 minutes, you can do this.
  • Make use of an exercise bike. Initially, you just pedal backwards. When your knee is solid enough, you can pedal forward.

Your physical therapist might recommend you add light weights to add resistance after 4 weeks. For at least 2 complete months after your surgery, you can stick with all the exercises prescribed.

Back to Regular Life

As soon as 3 weeks after your surgery, you could drive again. But most people require 4-6 weeks to get in and out of the car before they can bend their knees.

You could shop for groceries in 3-6 weeks, get up from a chair, and do other stuff that was challenging before the surgery. Only note that maybe you aren’t 100% pain-free. Let your doctor know about any discomfort that makes you anxious.

Your knee will last more than 15 years, but it’s going to wear out eventually. It will last longer if you stop stressing it with operations like:

  • Running
  • Skiing
  • Tennis
  • Sports that involve jumping

The good news is that it’s easy to stay fit with your artificial knee. You can:

  • Walk
  • Swim
  • Golf
  • Go on light hikes
  • Bike
  • Dance

Are You Looking for Post Operative Rehabilitation? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in Post Operative Rehabilitation and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. At Pace Physical Therapy, individualized post-surgical recovery not only minimizes your pain and speeds up the healing time, but it can also decrease the chances of postoperative complications, including infections, bleeding, blood clots, muscle fatigue, scar tissue, reduced function, and other factors that can affect your long-term health negatively. The ability to help you minimize or fully stop prescribed painkillers, including opioids, is another important justification for choosing post-surgical physical therapy. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!