Are you scheduled for a hip replacement? A knee replacement? Good news: both of these procedures are two of the most common and successful orthopedic surgeries. My patients often ask “How soon can I walk after joint replacement surgery?” I tell them that every case is different, but there is a general recovery timeline. In both hip and knee replacement, it is best to get on your feet as soon as possible and start the rehabilitation process.
Recovering from a hip or knee replacement will involve a few weeks of physical therapy, at-home rehabilitation, and rest. In most cases, we will have you standing and walking with an assistive device, such as crutches or a walker, within 4-6 hours after your surgery. A nurse or an occupational therapist will begin working with you as well, helping you prepare for your recovery. Patients that are qualified for outpatient hip or knee replacement, will recover in the comfort of home.
Walking with assistance will not only be possible after a hip replacement, it will be a crucial part of every stage in your recovery. You should start off walking 5 to 10 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day. By week 6, you should be walking with ease and returning to your daily activities.1
Walking soon after knee replacement is an important part of your recovery. Although each patient’s timeline is different , walking will help prevent complications like blood clots and improve circulation. Most patients progress from a walker to a cane or nothing at all within 3 weeks. By week 4, you should be walking comfortably and regaining your independence.2
Typically, hip replacement recovery can take around four to six weeks; and knee replacement can take around six weeks. The recovery timeline for these joint replacement surgeries is affected by various factors, such as how active you were before your surgery, your age, nutrition, preexisting conditions, and other health and lifestyle habits. As we develop your surgical plan, we will consider these factors and discuss your recovery timeline in further detail. Seeing my patients up and stably walking again as soon as possible after surgery is my goal, and so we will closely chart your progress towards that goal.
Dr. Robert Cagle is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in joint replacement surgery of the Knee and Hip using the latest technology and techniques for better patient outcomes. Get back to your active lifestyle with outpatient hip replacement.