Request Information 877.747.9991

Transitioning Home

You’ll be ready to go home once you are able to walk safely and perform your exercise program and your surgeon or physician assistant determines that you are ready for discharge. You must arrange for someone to stay with you when you go home or you will not be released from the hospital in a timely manner.

Before you go home, we will make sure that all your discharge needs are met. Your surgeon may order the following based on your individual needs:e, perfume, or fragrances of any kind. Deodorants, creams, lotions and shaving creams should be avoided. Do not wear makeup or nail polish.

  • Norco or other medication for pain
  • Celebrex to decrease inflammation
  • Lyrica for nerve pain
  • Aspirin or Coumadin to thin the blood
  • Keflex or another antibiotic to prevent infection

These prescriptions will be given to you at your preparation appointment.

Equipment when you leave the hospital

The following is a list of common equipment used after a total knee replacement. Your therapists will assist you in evaluating the type of equipment you will need following your surgery. Equipment recommendations are based on the individual needs of each patient. Case Management Services can assist you in ordering equipment during your hospital stay.

  • Ice Machine
  • Front-Wheeled Walker/Cane/Crutches
  • Raised toilet seat/bedside commode

The Trip Home

If you are driving home, you will need to arrange for your coach, family member, or friend to drive. To make your ride more comfortable, your driver should bring pillows for you to sit on, slide your seat back, and recline the seat slightly. Be sure to use your ice machine with the car adapter plugged into the cigarette lighter of your vehicle.

Whether traveling by vehicle or plane, it is vital that you do ankle pumps and walk for 10-15 minutes every 1-2 hours. This will help prevent blood clots and joint stiffness.

Recovering at Home


Be sure to take your pain medications by mouth with a meal or snack. Avoid drinking alcohol or driving while taking prescribed pain medication. Consider taking pain medication 1/2 hour prior to performing the prescribed physical therapy exercises.

It is normal to experience a deep ache through the bone after surgery.

Some people experience constipation while taking pain medication. You may consider drinking prune juice daily, drinking more water, adding fiber to your diet, or taking an over-the-counter stool softener to prevent this. Exercise and walking also help prevent constipation.

Resume your home medications as instructed by your physician.


Continue your knee exercises as instructed by your physical therapist three times every day. You may bear weight as tolerated on the surgical leg, unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon.

Get up and walk for 5 minutes every hour using your front-wheeled walker for support and safety. Continue to use your walker for 1-4 days following surgery, or longer if needed. In addition, take two 10-15 minute walks each day.

Bend and straighten your knee 10-20 times slowly every hour. Increase the amount you bend your knee with each exercise.

You may resume driving when you have regained complete control of your leg (usually within 7-10 days after surgery) and are no longer taking narcotic pain medications.

Avoid resistance training or swimming until cleared by your surgeon.

Managing swelling

It is normal to have bruising around your knee and down to your foot, as well as up the inner thigh to the groin area. You may also experience swelling of the upper and lower leg down to the foot and ankle. Swelling usually peaks around 7 days after surgery.

Be sure to use your ice machine 3-4 times a day for no longer than one hour at a time with your leg elevated. This will help reduce pain and swelling. Keep extra ice on hand to keep your ice machine functioning. Be sure to place a towel or ace wrap on your knee under the ice machine wrap.

Ice should not be placed directly on the skin.

If you have excessive swelling, elevate your leg 10” above the level of your heart and apply the ice machine. You may place a pillow under your heel but do not place one under your knee.

Incision care

Keep your incision clean and dry. You may shower when your incision is dry and no longer draining, typically 48-72 hours after surgery and sometimes up to 1 week after surgery.

Use regular soap but do NOT use creams or lotions on your incision for four weeks after surgery, or until cleared by your surgeon. Avoid soaking your incision in a tub bath, hot tub or participating in any water activities until the incision is completely healed, closed and no longer draining. This typically occurs two to four weeks after surgery.

Change your dressing 1-2 times per day as needed, or whenever dirty or wet. Wash your hands, then change the dressing by unwrapping the ace wrap and removing the gauze pad. Place clean gauze on the wound and rewrap with the ace wrap beginning above the ankle and ending at the thigh, then tape. You may leave your incision open to air when there is no longer any drainage. Remove the steri-strips in 14 days unless the incision is still draining.

Diet and rest

Eat a healthy diet to promote healing. You may experience decreased appetite after surgery. This is normal and should gradually resolve itself.

Take rest breaks as needed during the day and get a good night’s sleep to support the healing process. However, it is common to have difficulty sleeping after surgery. This will gradually improve. You may sleep on your back or on your side with a pillow between your legs for comfort.

When To Call Your Surgeon:

A moderate amount of bruising, swelling, and redness can be expected after knee joint replacement surgery. If you experience any of the following, you should contact your surgeon or physician assistant at 877.747.9991:

  • A fall
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning that persists even after elevating your leg and applying ice
  • Pain not relieved by medication, or pain that is getting worse
  • Thick yellow drainage from the incision site
  • Inability to do your exercises
  • Excessive swelling that persists
  • Toes that are very cold and do not get warm when you cover them
  • Increased redness around your incision
  • A temperature over 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C)
  • Any unexpected problems, concerns, or questions

If you need a refill of your pain medication, please call CJRI at 877.747.9991, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Monday through Thursday, as most pharmacies are also open during these hours and will be able to fill your prescription in a timely manner.

It is unlikely, but if you experience chest pain, palpitations, or difficulty breathing, please call 911.

Stop joint pain and get back to life!

Request More Information

Call 877.747.9991 to speak with a Patient Service Advisor, or fill out the form and we’ll contact you soon.

The Coon Joint Replacement Institute values your privacy and handles your personal information with care. Your email address and information is secure, confidential and will not be sold to any third party sources.

AHI Rebrand

To talk with someone immediately, call 877.747.9991

The Coon Joint Replacement Institute values your privacy and handles your personal information with care. Your email address and information is secure, confidential and will not be sold to any third party sources.

AHI Rebrand