Patient resources Physiotherapy following Total Knee Joint Replacement and logos/orthopaedic images/orthopaedics-ankle-specialist.jpg

Important information for all patients

Please read prior to admission

Physiotherapy following Total Knee Joint Replacement

Welcome to St Vincent's Private Hospital Toowoomba

Our Hospital’s Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Team will work with you to regain normal function after your operation.

They will provide you with advice and a home exercise program to enable you to continue your rehabilitation at home.

Please take the time to read through the information in this booklet as it is relevant to your recovery and outcomes.


Post-operative care: for your safety and care

  • Do not get up or walk without assistance from your nurse until you are informed that you are safe to do so
  • Wear appropriate footwear whenever you are walking
  • Do not sit for more than 30 minutes at a time
  • When lying in bed ensure your knee is completely straight at all times. Do not place pillows or towels under your knee or use the bed mechanics to bend the knee.

Do not place pillows or towel rolls under your knee to sleep. It is important your knee rests fully straight.

General post-operative advice

Pain relief
Co-ordinate your pain relief medication (analgesia) with your treating team. It is important to take your pain medication as prescribed. It is normal to have some discomfort and stiffness following surgery. It is necessary to take your pain relief medication regularly so you can move walk and exercise comfortably.


Swelling around the knee is normal after your operation. We recommend that you limit sitting to a maximum of 30 minutes (sitting for meals is usually adequate), ice the knee frequently, lie with your knee as straight as possible.

Exercises: immediate post-operative

Exercises: bed

Exercises: seated

Exercises: standing

These exercises should be performed whilst you hold onto a firm support, such as a kitchen bench. Remember to keep your back straight. Aim to do these exercises two (2) times a day.

Overview of your hospital stay

Discharge goals

You are ready for discharge when:

• You can get in and out of bed yourself

• You can get on/off a chair by yourself

•  Your knee is bending and straightening effectively

• You can walk well using a mobility aid (or alternative mobility aid)

• You can go up and down a flight of stairs (if relevant)

Home or rehabilitation

Some people will be able to achieve their discharge goals within 3-5 days and are ready to go home. However, some people have complex medical conditions, live remotely or are living in circumstances where they require a higher level of function to be safely discharged. If this applies to you, a period of inpatient rehabilitation may be recommended.

Discharge Plan

You will be able to discharge immediately home with follow up services within 3-4 days. It is better to be at home rather than in hospital.

Equipment for home

It is your responsibility to arrange equipment required at home prior to discharge.

Your physiotherapist will advise you on which mobility aid is best and can provide brochures with information about equipment. In addition to a mobility aid you may wish to consider the following:

  • Over toilet frame - provides a raised toilet seat height as well as arm rests to help push up from.

Local suppliers - Toowoomba

Aidacare Mobility and Healthcare Equipment

3/342 Taylor Street, Toowoomba

Phone: 07 3086 2990

Opening hours: 8.30am - 5.00pm Mon-Fri

Friendlies Mobility and Independent Living

8 Mylne Street, Toowoomba

Phone: 07 4637 1888

Opening hours: 8.00am - 5.30pm Mon-Fri

8.30am - 12.30pm Sat

Independent Living Specialists

18-22 Prescott Street, Toowoomba

Phone: 07 4639 3977

Opening hours: 8.00am - 4.30pm Mon-Fri

9.00am - 12.00pm Sat

Helpful hints for the home


  • Ensure your bed is at the correct height to get in and out easily
  • Remove any trip hazards around the bed, including coverings that may catch on your feet
  • Turn bedside light on prior to getting out of bed at night
  • Discuss with your surgeon regarding side sleeping


  • Use a tall chair with arms


  • If you do not feel confident standing in the shower use a stable shower chair

Dressing and reaching

  • A sock aid and long handled shoe horn can assist with shoes and socks
  • A handy reacher will allow you to pick up objects off the floor. It can also assist in washing, drying and dressing


  • Store items at waist height
  • Where appropriate leave commonly used items out on the bench
  • Slide items along the bench to avoid carrying
  • Use a kitchen trolley if necessary

Domestic tasks

  • Avoid reaching into low cupboards, ovens, bottom shelves of the pantry or fridge
  • Avoid working on low garden beds, be aware of trip hazards outdoors such as hoses and uneven surfaces


You will need to check with your surgeon in regards to returning to driving. The passenger seat must be as far back as possible with seat reclined. Move your operated leg out in front, and slowly sit trying to lean backwards towards the back rest as you sit.

Frequently asked questions

Should I apply ice to my knee at home?

Continue to ice your knee 3-4 times per day for at least (6) weeks after surgery. This should be done for 10-20 minutes at a time. Never apply ice directly to your skin. Make sure it is wrapped in a pillow case or towel.

Should I have further physiotherapy once I am home?

Yes, your physiotherapy options will be discussed with you while you are in hospital.

How much should I walk and exercise at home?

Once you are home it is important that you do regular short walks. Continue the exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist once you are home.

Better and fairer care. Always.

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