Therapy for Knee Surgery

Therapy in the Hospital

  • All patients will receive physical therapy before being discharged from the hospital. The session will consist of getting in/out of bed, standing, walking and going up/down stairs.
  • Friends and family are encouraged to attend your physical therapy session with you.
  • You will be allowed to put full weight through your leg.

You will leave the hospital on a cane. At some point during your hospital stay you will walk without an assistive device.

What will Physical Therapy be Like After Discharge from the Hospital?

In home physical therapy

  • Jessica Decker, Dr. Berger’s discharge planner, will contact you prior to surgery to set up therapy in your home/hotel.
  • Therapy will start the day after you leave the hospital. If this does not happen, you need to contact Jessica Decker at 312.942.5072
  • In home therapy will be set up for 3 times a week until you are ready to progress to outpatient therapy. This may last anywhere from a couple of days to 2 weeks after surgery.

Outpatient physical therapy

  • You are responsible for setting up your outpatient physical therapy visits.
  • You will be given an outpatient physical therapy prescription the day of the class or at your follow up visit. This prescription can also be found on the last page of section 5 in your binder.
  • You will go to outpatient physical therapy 3 times a week for 6 weeks or until you meet your goals.
  • Select an outpatient facility which is convenient for you and takes your insurance. You may also want to work with a physical therapist you have worked with previously. If you need a recommendation, we will provide you with a list of facilities.
  • You should progress yourself into outpatient physical therapy as soon as you meet one of the following criteria:
    • You have met your goals at home and are discharged from home physical therapy by your therapist
    • You are no longer home bound (i.e. you return to work)
    • You are no longer taking narcotics. Once you are off narcotics you are allowed to drive, and then are able to drive yourself to physical therapy.
    • You have transportation (i.e. a friend or family member to drive you to your physical therapy sessions.)

There are certain positions you want to put your leg into to ensure you receive maximum range of motion.

  1. Your physical therapist will give you exercised to achieve bending (flexion). You need to get at least 100 degrees of flexion (knee bend) by three weeks.
  2. The goal is to keep your leg straight.
    1. Never place anything under your knee (i.e. pillow)
    2. You may place a pillow/blanket under your ankle.
    3. When sitting longer than 20 minutes, you need to keep your leg elevated.

Goals to Achieve by 3 Weeks

  1. Bend you knee to at least 100 degrees (flexion)
  2. Straighten knee to 0 degrees (extension)
  3. Ambulate at least 2 blocks without assistive device
  4. Independent with activities of daily living (i.e. showering, dressing, etc.)

If you are having difficulty achieving the above goals, please contact one of the nurses. If you cannot bend to 100 degrees (flexion) by 3 weeks, Dr. Berger may to a closed knee manipulation (he will put you to sleep and bend and straighten your knee for you). Please refer to your patient binder for examples and demonstrations of exercises.  

Outpatient Hip and Knee Replacement • • 1611 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612 • 312-432-2557