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Total Knee Replacement

What is a Total Knee Replacement?

A Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is a commonly performed surgery that aims to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee, restore knee function, and improve your quality of life. The surgery involves removing the arthritic joint surfaces, and replacing them with implants to act as the joint surfaces.


What can Physiotherapy Do?

Physiotherapy can help at all of the 3 stages – preventing surgery, prehabilitation (before surgery) and rehabilitation (post-surgery)

  1. Prevention – prescribe appropriate exercises for you, based on your symptoms and presentation, to reduce pain and swelling, improve range, and strengthen the surrounding muscles to prolong or prevent the need for surgery. Studies have shown that appropriate, body weight exercises will reduce your pain and improve function
  2. Prehabilitation – if you require surgery, physiotherapists can help ensure you are in the best shape to maximise your recovery and reduce your time in hospital. Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to do in preparation, and begin practicing the exercises you will need after surgery. You will also practice using crutches or other aids that you will need initially post-surgery
  3. Rehabilitation – your physiotherapist will assist your recovery greatly. They can use many different techniques to manage pain and swelling, increase your range, and strengthen the leg muscles. The physiotherapist can also assist in when and how to walk without your walking aid.



Total Knee Replacement surgery is highly successful, and you will be able to return to most activities after you have recovered. Most surgeons recommend avoiding returning to high impact activities such as running and jumping. You will notice swelling around your knee after surgery and this swelling can last up to 12 weeks. Your physiotherapist will assist with managing this. Your surgeon will give you a guide as to when you can return to driving and work. Generally, you will be able to drive in 6 weeks. Most people feel they have fully recovered in ~12 months.