Total Knee Replacement Discharge Instructions


  • Ice for 15-20 minutes several times daily.
  • Elevate your leg but do not place a pillow under your knee.
  • You can place full weight on your knee unless otherwise instructed.
  • Initially a walker is helpful for ambulation.
  • Some swelling and bruising are common but should improve.

Wound Care: 

  • Wash your hands prior to any wound care.
  • If an aquacel bandage was placed on your knee, you may shower but do not sit in water.
  • You should remove the aquacel bandage after 7 days.
  • Patients with a zipline wound closure will be discharged with a dressing that should be changed daily.
  • Patient may shower with zipline.
  • Zipline will be removed at your follow up appointment.
  • If you have staples, they will be removed around 2 weeks after surgery.


  • Review your discharge paper work regarding your medication regimen.
  • Take your pain medicine as prescribed.
  • Be aware that pain medication can cause constipation so take measures to prevent this from occurring.


  • It is important to attend physical therapy in order to obtain adequate motion and strength after surgery.
  • Do your exercises several times daily and ICE after exercises.
  • Walk around your house every hour to improve mobility.
  • Work on getting your leg fully extended or straight. Work on bending your knee to obtain full flexion.
  • Work on ankle motion and straight leg raises.
  • You will need to continue your exercise for 2-3 months after surgery.
  • You may have some pain after or during exercise, but this should resolve and/or improve.

When to call your Surgeon:

  • Temperature above 101 degrees for at least 12 hours that does not improve with Tylenol.
  • Severe swelling that does not improve with ice and elevation.
  • Increasing redness around incision.
  • Drainage from the wound that does not decrease or stop or becomes yellow/green or creamy.
  • Signs of blood clot-redness, swelling and calf pain.