Caring foryour knee

Talk to your surgeon about which of these measures apply, or may be helpful, to you.

The wound site

After you go home, you need to look after the wound site, by keeping it dry and clean until the sutures or staples are removed.

Avoiding injury

A fall can result in damage to the new knee joint, so it’s important to make your home as safe as possible. See Preparing for surgery.

Watching out for infection

Signs of infection in the wound include redness, heat, swelling, discharge and increased pain. If you think the wound might have become infected, contact your surgeon immediately.

Reducing swelling

This is an important part of rehab for total knee replacement. It helps to reduce pain and improve the knee’s range of motion. During the first two weeks, try and keep the leg elevated to chest height while you’re sitting or lying. A cold pack, used six to eight times a day for 20 minutes at a time is also helpful.

Wound management

See your GP within two to three days after leaving hospital. They’ll check the wound and review your anticoagulation and pain medication.

Stich or staple removal

See your GP to have your stitches or staples removed 10 days after surgery.

Scar management

Once the scar has healed, you can rub a scar reduction cream, vitamin E or sorbolene into the area to help with healing.

Pain medications

Pain medication and lack of exercise can cause constipation. Keep track of your bowel movements and if constipation becomes a problem you may need to take a laxative or alternatively, reduce or modify your pain medication. Discuss alternative options with your doctor.

How long to take your pain medication

Pain tolerance varies from person to person, but most people need pain medication during the first month.

If you’ve been taking strong pain relievers, you should try and reduce your dependence on them. This is best done gradually, by tapering your dosage until you can manage without them. Work with your GP on this.

Important: Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until your surgeon gives you the OK.

Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.