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Knee Surgery

Recovery from knee surgery

Minor knee surgeries, such as arthroscopy, are usually outpatient procedures. If you are having major knee surgery, you may need to spend several days in the hospital. Some people also need to stay in a rehabilitation center before they can return home safely. Talk with your doctor before surgery to understand what you can expect.

Physical therapy is often part of knee surgery recovery. Knee replacements typically involve several months of rehabilitation. Physical therapy will help you regain strength, flexibility, and function in your knee.

Your doctor or physical therapist will let you know when it’s safe to resume activities.


For many people, knee surgery provides much-needed relief from pain, improves quality of life, and drastically increases mobility. Most knee replacements last at least 15 years.

Recovery takes time, and it is crucial to follow the instructions from your surgeon and physical therapist as to when you can resume activities. Generally, three to six weeks after surgery, you can start daily activities like grocery shopping or cleaning your house. Once you can bend your knee enough to sit in a car, you have enough muscle control to operate the accelerator and brakes. Do not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medication.

It will take several months before you are allowed to resume high-impact activities like running or skiing, but low-impact sports such as walking, swimming, and biking will actually help your recovery. Talk to your care team to determine which activities are right for you, and when.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.