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What Happens if You Don’t Do Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery?


If you are scheduled for knee surgery, it is important that you follow all of the postoperative instructions given to you by your doctor. This includes completing any physical therapy appointments that are scheduled. Not following these instructions can have serious consequences for your new knee and your body as a whole.

In this blog post, we will discuss what happens if you don’t do physical therapy after knee surgery.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a type of treatment that uses exercises and other techniques to help patients regain movement and function after an injury or surgery. It can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including knee injuries. Physical therapists will also help you learn how to use the assistive device you will receive after surgery.


What Does Physical Therapy Do For the Body?

Physical therapy can help to improve range of motion, increase strength and endurance, and decrease pain. It can also help improve balance and coordination. Physical therapy gets the body ready to handle everyday activities and more.

After knee surgery, physical therapy will help regain motion in the knee joint, strengthen the thigh muscles and calf muscles, and decrease knee pain. Physical therapists will also look at scar tissue from surgery and make sure that it is healing well.

Why is Physical Therapy Important After Knee Surgery?

Undergoing physical therapy after knee surgery is important because it helps your recovery process go smoothly. Physical therapy helps you regain strength and flexibility in your knee. It also helps you regain your range of motion and improve your mobility.

Physical therapy can also help reduce pain and swelling in your knee. The physical therapist will also discuss and help you understand what to do after surgery, including how to decrease swelling by using an ice pack, narcotic pain medications you might receive after surgery, and other pain meds you can use further down the road.


What Happens if You Don’t Do Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery?

If you don’t do physical therapy after knee surgery, you may experience a number of complications, such as:

– Infection

– Blood clots

– Joint stiffness

– Muscle weakness

– Poor wound healing

Complications like these can lead to a longer recovery time and may even require additional surgery. So, it is important that you follow your orthopedic surgeon’s instructions and attend all of your physical therapy appointments.

When Should You Start Physical Therapy?

You will usually start physical therapy within one to two weeks after surgery. The best option is to meet with the physical therapist as soon as possible. The physical therapists will help create a treatment plan with you to help make the healing process go well.

However, this will depend on the type of surgery that you had and how well you are healing. For example, after a total knee replacement, a physical therapist will see you in your hospital room on the same day as surgery.


Initial Physical Therapy Appointment

At your initial appointment for physical therapy, the therapist will assess your range of motion, strength, and ability to walk. They will also ask about your pain level. Based on this assessment, they will create a treatment plan for you.

The therapist may also use other treatments, such as electrical stimulation, to help reduce pain and swelling. You will likely see the therapist two to three times a week for four to six weeks.

The initial exercises you will do will be low-impact activities, with a lot of non-weight-bearing exercises, and moving short distances. As you progress through the physical therapy program, have better knee movement, and have a lower level of pain, you will be able to go on longer walks, and do weight training, high-impact activities, and movements that mimic your normal activities.

After this initial phase, you may transition to outpatient physical therapy. This means you will go to therapy sessions on your own or with a friend or family member. Your therapist will continue to work with you to help improve your strength and range of motion. Outpatient therapy sessions are typically shorter than inpatient ones.

How Long Should You Do Physical Therapy After Surgery?

The length of time that you will need to do physical therapy after surgery will depend on the type of surgery that you had. For example, if you had a total knee replacement surgery, you may need to do physical therapy for up to six months.

It is a good idea to continue physical therapy until you are fully recovered, have a full range of motion, and have no issues completing your daily activities.


Physical Therapy Exercises

There are a number of different exercises that you may be asked to do during physical therapy. These exercises will help to improve your range of motion, increase your strength, and decrease pain. Some of the exercises that you may be asked to do include:

– Heel slides

– Leg lifts

– Straight leg raises

– Quadriceps sets

– Hamstring curls

– Stationary bike riding

Your physical therapist will design a specific exercise program for you based on your individual needs. They will also create a set of home exercises for you to do between your physical therapy sessions with them at the rehab facility. It is important that you follow through with these exercises as well. Doing the exercises at home will help speed up your recovery process.


As you can see, it is very important to do physical therapy after knee surgery. Not doing physical therapy can lead to a number of complications, such as infection, blood clots, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, and poor wound healing. So, if you are scheduled for knee surgery, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and attend all of your physical therapy appointments.

If you have any questions about what happens if you don’t do physical therapy after knee surgery, please contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.