Post-Op Tips: Knee

At home, you play a major role in your recovery. The better you care for your knee, the faster you may heal. And the faster you heal, the sooner you can get back to your normal activities. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about how to care for your knee after surgery.

Home recovery

Closeup of elevated knee with bandage and ice pack.

  • Put a bag of ice on your knee and raise your knee above heart level.

  • For the first few days, your healthcare provider may tell you not to bear weight on your knee. Use a cane, crutches, or walker as directed.

  • Your healthcare provider may also give you pain medicines, anti-inflammatory pills, or both.

  • To prevent infection, keep your incisions dry. Use a plastic bag when icing your knee or taking a shower. Be sure to follow your healthcare provider's instruction on how long to wait before showering or bathing.

Strengthening your knee

You may be told to do exercises, possibly using weights. To help strengthen your knee and avoid injuries, follow these tips:

  • Start out slowly. Then add repetitions or duration as recommended.

  • Take short, frequent walks each day. Ask your healthcare provider when you can start, how long your walks should be, and how often you should take them.

  • Go to physical therapy, if recommended. It can help you strengthen your knee and improve its range of motion.

  • Increase any exercise you do as approved by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

Talk with your healthcare provider about what exercise program is best for you. Always tell your healthcare provider if an exercise causes new or lasting pain.