Menu Home

What to expect during the first 2 weeks after joint surgery?


TKR joint after surgeryAlthough, we discourage joint replacement surgery.  Sometimes conservative treatment does not work due to joint deformity and bone-on-bone arthritic due to lack of cartilage.  When that time comes, there are things that you should be aware of and prepare for.

Immediately within the first 24 hours, most people experience no pain and are feeling very optimistic.  I would say that is false hope because the pain will eventually come when the anesthesia wear off.

I found that when the anesthesia wears off and pains increase, most clients become discouraged about their progress or lack thereof.

Have no fear, and do not be discouraged, these are 10 common steps to expect after joint replacement surgery.

1. Swelling

Swelling in the joint is inevitable.  It is part of healing.  Due to surgery, the body reacts and enters the first phase of healing.  The inflammation phase, most clients experience increase redness and hot temperature.  Best thing to do in the phase is to apply an ice pack to cool the area for at least 20 mins every 3-4 hours.

2. Pain

After the anesthesia wore off. Increase pain occurs.  Yes, pain is also part of the healing process.  The goal is to continually ice and take pain medication as prescribed by a physician.

3. Persistence

Most clients are very impatience during the process because they are not progressing as fast and quick as they would like. The goal is to be persistence and trust your physical therapist that it will get better.

4. Consistency with exercises

The first 2 weeks is very important to consistently do the exercises as prescribe. Due to increase inflammation, exercises increase blood circulation and promote healing to the joint. The worst thing to do is to neglect the exercises.

5. Walking

Good to get up and walk every 45 min to an hour to increase joint flexibility, decrease joint stiffness due to lack of movements and promote weight-bearing on the joint.

6. Hydration

Very important to hydrate by drinking plenty of water during the healing process

7. Rest

It very important to rest and recover. Some clients are very motivated that they do all the exercises consistently every hour without resting.  Too many exercises to increase inflammation.  Consult with your physical therapist on how often and how long you should exercise daily.

8. Night pain

Most clients report increase night pain after joint replacement. Night pain is very common due to increase activity during the day.  The muscles and joints are tired after a long day of movements and activities.  The best thing to do is to take pain medication as prescribe and apply ice pack as needed.

9. Hot pack

Some clients prefer hot pack over the ice pack. I usually take my clients not to use hot pack during this time due to increase inflammation of the joint.  A hot pack will only exacerbate the joint further.  It is best to only use ice pack during these phases of healing.

10. Weaning off pain medication

Due to the increase opioid crisis, I have clients that prefer not to take pain medication. Although I understand the fear, we must be careful about how we approach this issue.  Not taking pain medication, can delay the progress of healing due to consistent pain.  And if you have pain, it is very difficult to do the exercises that will help promote healing. If exercises are not performed, then healing and joint flexibility and strength and greatly affected.  So, what I usually tell my clients is to take pain medication as prescribed.  But if they feel strongly about not taking pain medication, consult with the surgeon about the best and safe way to wean off pain medication without delaying healing progress.


If you or anyone you know are thinking about having a joint replacement, give us a call @ 240-813-3442 or email: to see if we can help you!

Categories: Uncategorized


My life revolves around health and fitness. As a young child, I enjoyed the different style of dance. As an adult, I became a physical therapist. I helped people recover from injuries, pain or surgery. I also enjoy working out in my spare time. So I started teaching group fitness classes.
This blog is all about health, fitness, and healthy lifestyle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: