Recovery After Joint Replacement Surgery: Patient Guide

Recovery from Joint Replacement

Looking forward to better mobility and function after your hip or knee replacement surgery?

IndiCure provides you with all the necessary information about your recovery after joint replacement surgery in this patient guide.

Returning to your everyday activities may take time depending on the procedure you underwent. But, being an informed participant in the recovery period will help you reach your mobility goals sooner. This guide will help you enjoy your new joint while you safely resume your daily activities ensuring a more successful outcome.

The Role of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy:

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are crucial aspects of recovery after joint replacements. The therapies mainly help you regain strength and range of motion.
Physical therapists will help you:

·        Move from standing to sitting
·        Lay in the bed in comfortable positions
·        Walk with devices like a walker, a cane, crutches, etc.
·        Walk the stairs with these devices
·        Comply with knee and hip precautions

Occupational therapists will help you:

·        Perform self-care activities like dressing with adaptive equipment
·        Perform transfer techniques such as getting on and off the toilet seat
·        Comply with knee and hip precautions while performing functional activities
During your recovery, you will have to follow specific precautions by these therapists to heal properly.

The Days Following Surgery: Hospital Stay

Your ONLY GOAL should be to KEEP MOVING! You will be continuing taking therapies that will gradually increase your activity levels. We strongly recommend and encourage you to move around for getting meals, get out of bed, go to the bathroom BUT all with assistance.

Your hospital stay may vary depending on the surgery you have undergone.

Managing Pain and Discomfort:

Pain after surgery is a part of any recovery period, which may vary from person to person. You will be prescribed oral pain medications. Cold packs or wraps to manage pain or reduce swelling will also be given to you.

Pain scale will be checked several times a day during your hospital stay after your surgery. Let your doctors know whether you had any issues in the past with pain medications.

We do understand that managing pain and discomfort can be stressful sometimes. Take your pain medications as soon as you begin to feel pain. The more you wait the more severe the pain becomes and you will experience discomfort doing any activity.

If these medications cause nausea, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

The 48 Hours after Surgery:

Once wheeled into the recovery room, the medical staff will attend you to monitor your vitals and to check with your pain scale. Cold packs may be given to bring down the swelling.

Expect visits from a physical or occupational therapist in this period. You will be started with the exercise program to promote healing. The therapists will teach you exercises that will keep the blood moving through your legs and gradually strengthen the muscles supporting your hip or knee joint.

You might get recommended to wear compression stockings that prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot in your leg.


Ø Follow all the instructions are given by the doctors and the therapists.

Ø Be consistent with your exercise program. Consistent exercise at an early stage will help you achieve better outcomes during your recovery period.

Ø Gradually increase your activity levels as you gain confidence and strength.

Ø Avoid sitting at a stretch for more than 30 minutes.

Ø You might nap when tired, but avoid staying in bed the entire day. Take short and frequent walks.

Ø You may feel discomfort in the operated knee or hip and hence it might get difficult to sleep at night. Consider moving around which will relieve some of your discomfort.

Ø Start climbing stairs with proper support. It is recommended to climb just one step at a time with the “not operated” leg up and the “operated” leg down.

Ø Avoid lifting anything after surgery.

Ø Do not bend or squat.

Cold Therapy and Elevation:

Swelling is an expected part of joint replacement surgeries. It limits mobility and also increases pain. Hence, it is important to reduce swelling. Continue using cold therapy that will help in the reduction of the swelling.

In the case of knee replacement, the elevation is one of the most factors in a successful recovery. Use pillows while elevating the leg. Do not place a pillow below the knee so that the knee remains straight and not bent.

From 1st to 6th Week:

Depending on your surgery and progress you will be discharged. But, you will make progress day by day.

Most patients may achieve the following in the first 6 weeks after the surgery:
·        Climbing stairs as comfortable.
·        Get in and out of a chair or bed without help.
·        Walking with the use of equipment as suitable.
·        Resume daily activities including light chores, shower, cooking, or walking.


Good nutrition is an integral part of the recovery period. During this period, your body requires foods that will provide you with calories, vitamins, proteins, and minerals.
Include fresh fruits and vegetables to promote healing. Proteins also play a vital role in healing. You can get proteins from fish, meats, nuts, chicken, and eggs.
Most importantly do not forget to HYDRATE yourself. Get an adequate intake of fluids, a minimum of 8 glasses per day.

Do follow the recommended diet properly. It can help you heal, prevent infections and complications. But, if you’re unable to follow any diet routine, talk to your doctor for nutritional supplements.

Also, an increase in body weight puts stress on the hip, so try and maintain a healthy weight.

From 6th to 12th Week:

During this period, you will notice increased energy levels. It is a period of continued improvement. But, if you do not get satisfactory results, you can discuss your issues with your doctor or therapists.

Many patients consider returning to the workplace after 6 weeks. Tips you should remember before you return to work:

·        Avoid sitting or standing for longer periods.
·        Avoid activities like frequently climbing stairs.
·        Avoid heavy lifting after you resume work.
·       Avoid bending forward, stooping, kneeling, stooping, or a position that might strain the new joint.

Moreover, expect this period with adjustments. It might get tiring initially for a few days but will improve with time. Do not be harsh on yourself and give yourself sufficient time to heal.

Do not stop the recommended exercise program if you start feeling better. 

Continue the exercise program for the period it is recommended. It will increase your strength and confidence. Follow all the instructions and restrictions to achieve successful outcomes.

What about Sexual Activity after Joint Replacement?

Many people get worried about sexual activity after replacing a joint. You can talk to your doctor or therapists for comfortable positioning.

Hip – Usually, it is considered safe to get back with sexual activity six weeks post-surgery as long as you do not experience any significant pain. The safe positioning initially would be being on your back. You may be able to participate more actively as the hip heals.

Knee – Sex may be resumed whenever you feel comfortable.

Lifelong Care of the New Joint:

Joint Replacement gives you a new joint that allows you to perform daily activities without any pain and discomfort. However, it is important to take care of this new joint.

Avoid vigorous activities or sports that may stress the new joint unless you discuss it with your surgeon. Ask your doctor or therapist about the exercises and activities that are best for you.

Stay as active as you can after recovering from your surgery.


IndiCure is the largest and most renowned provider of medical tourism services in association with the best hospitals in India. Patients from over 50 countries have trusted IndiCure for their surgery in India- be it joint replacement, spine surgery, heart surgery or cancer treatment in India

We have few of the best surgeons in India on our panel with more than 10 years of experience to provide exceptional care to our patients. 

We are reachable on phone and WhatsApp on +91-932-003-6777 or email on 


Popular Posts