Skip to Content

What are the dos and don'ts after a knee replacement?

You have an important role in caring for your “new” knee:

  • Do use crutches or a walker to assist with walking; be safe, falls can be disastrous
  • Do continue to wear your elastic stockings (a second pair allows you to wash one pair while wearing the other)
  • Do practice your exercises as instructed
  • Do stop exercising if you have severe pain or discomfort
  • Do eat a well-balanced diet
  • Do place a pillow under your ankle when lying down
  • Do elevate your leg when not walking from place to place
  • Do avoid constipation. While you are taking pain medications, especially narcotics, you may need to take a stool softener and laxative

There are certain movements that place stress on your new knee and should be avoided until you are instructed to do otherwise by your doctor:

  • Do not overdo it; plan your activities with frequent rest periods
  • Do not cross your legs at the ankles or knees
  • Do not kneel
  • Do not jump, run, jam your foot as in shoveling, or other demanding physical activities that put undue stress on your knee
  • Do not lift heavy objects
  • Do not drive a car until authorized by your doctor (usually about six weeks after your operation)
  • Do not return to work until your doctor approves
  • Do not bathe in a bathtub or hot tub, swim in a pool, lake or ocean until your physician gives you permission
  • Do not do physical activities that require quick starts and stops without first consulting your physician