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After Surgery

You will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk, usually within the first day after surgery. As you become more active, your main goal will be to get used to the feel of your new joint and prepare yourself for living with your new hip or knee. You’ll be able to go home when your doctor determines you can use your new joint, your body temperature is normal and you are able to get in and out of bed by yourself.

When it is time to leave the hospital, the hip and knee replacement team will talk with you about:

  • How to care for your incision
  • Physical therapy program to follow at home
  • Special equipment recommended by your doctor
  • Supplies you will need
  • When to make your follow-up appointment with your doctor
  • Medications you will be taking and other issues
  • Other questions you might have


After hip or knee replacement, you may be able to go home in two to three days. Your orthopedic surgeon will determine the optimal setting for your post-surgery rehabilitation. Everyone’s recovery rate is different. How quickly you recover will depend on your physical health before surgery, how complex your surgery was and your determination to get well.

It’s normal for your energy level to be low right after surgery; once you’re home, pace yourself. Following your doctor’s advice is very important – it will help you avoid problems. Don’t risk your health by doing too much too soon.

Be aware of how you feel doing everyday activities – you’ll be the first to know when you can resume activities.  Until you build up your strength, plan some rest periods between activities. Your body needs energy for healing. Also, if you get too tired, your risk of injury from falling increases. Preventing falls is very important to protecting your new joint.