Physiotherapy Still Important After Total Knee Replacement


"Can I now avoid physiotherapy after total knee replacement for knee osteoarthritis?"

There are some cases where the knee osteoarthritis or knee OA is severe and the patient is healthy. Therefore, Total Knee Replacement or TKR may the most viable solution to your knee pains. So the question arise, “does that mean I can now avoid needing physiotherapy?”.

The short answer is yes. This is especially so if you want to avoid TKR revision surgery and other aches and pains arising from the underlying issues that causes the knee OA in the first place. (see Osteoarthritis of the Knee)

This is a particularly important question as often after a successful TKR, pain is almost or completely gone. Without any or little pain, physiotherapy now seems redundant and a chore.

The New Knee Joint Doesn’t Last Forever

Replacement knee joints will wear out in some 10 to 20 years. If you are in your 40s, you may be looking at another knee surgery in your 60s, when you may not be as healthy as you are now. Surgery at 60s may be a lot more worrying for most people than when they were younger.

In a systematic review published in 2011, revision rates of about 6% after five years, and 12% after ten years are expected. (See Revision rates after total joint replacement)

Besides, if the underlying causes of the knee OA are due to obesity and bio-mechanical gait issues that are not corrected, it will speed up the wear and tear of the replacement joint.

Other Conditions That Came Together With The Knee Pain Won’t Go Away

Other conditions like low back pain resulting from poor bio-mechanics won’t go away with your new knee joint. With less pain in your knees, you may now be able to walk better such as walking with your weight evenly balanced between both legs where previously you favoured one leg over the other. But it is also likely that it is not as balanced as it should be (which led to your knee OAs in the first place).

Physiotherapy and TKRs go hand-in-hand. Your physiotherapist can help you correct your underlying conditions. This will keep the need for TKR revision further at bay even if you feel great at the moment.

Experiencing knee pain? Click here to find out more about physiotherapy for knee pain relief and how Core Concepts can help

Further reading:

  1. Hip or Knee Replacement: The Second Time Round