Recovery and Rehab

During your hospital stay, you will meet a physiotherapist and occupational therapist. They will be giving you information that will allow you to do your own exercises and recover at home. Exercises will need to be done two to three times a day and will become easier as you become stronger.It is important to keep active after knee replacement surgery. This will keep you strong and moving well. Balance your activity and exercise with periods of rest. Gradually increase your activity e.g., more walking, and household chores.

North York General offers physiotherapy to our patients in our Knee Class located in the Rehab Gym at the hospital. This is a group rehabilitation program for patients who have had knee replacement surgery on one of their knees. The Knee Class is offered twice a week until the 6th week following surgery. Though this may be arranged for you before you go home, you may also arrange your appointments when you are discharged. Call 416-756-6000 ext. 3727 to leave a message for the Physiotherapist in the Knee Class. Learn more about the North York General Knee Class.

The patient navigator will help you arrange other rehabilitation options, if necessary.

Cryotherapy — A more effective way of icing

You may experience an increase in swelling of your operated leg, even after you are discharged from the hospital. Icing has been shown to be very effective in reducing swelling, bruising, and pain in the post-operative period. However, the use of ice directly on the skin is uncomfortable and can be dangerous as it can lead to an "ice burn." Furthermore, it is difficult to obtain a constant temperature with ice alone.

These factors have led to the development of Continuous Cold Therapy Systems which are more effective and more convenient compared to cold packs. Continuous Cold Therapy Systems are comprised of a “bladder” which wraps around the treatment area and is connected to a cooler by a hose. Chilled water is circulated through the bladder, maintaining a safe and constant cold temperature. The system will circulate water at a constant temperature for up to 8 hours. Continuous Cold Therapy Systems are available for rent or purchase.

Pain and swelling

Some pain and swelling at the surgical site is normal. This will improve over the next six weeks. Swelling may increase even after leaving the hospital. Use your pain medication as prescribed. Gradually try to wean yourself off pain medication. You can use ice packs to control pain and inflammation. Raising your leg mid-morning and mid-afternoon, as well as calf pumping exercises can help reduce swelling.

Do you have any questions or concerns? Contact the Hip and Knee Patient Navigator at 416-756-6000 ext. 4490 or email Hipknee.Navigator@nygh.on.ca.
Learn more about the Hip and Knee Patient Navigator.