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Discharge After Your Knee Replacement

For knee replacement the typical stay in hospital is about five to seven days, although this can vary greatly with the surgeon concerned and the medical progress of the individual.

Wound stitches or clips (if present) will either be removed on the ward before you go or later by a community nurse.

At this stage you should be walking normally with walking aids, have done stairs, be able to get on and off the bed, be self-caring and have established a regular regime of exercise. Physiotherapy may be continued after discharge at a department nearest to you.

You should consult your doctor if:

  • the knee becomes significantly more painful and does not settle quickly.
  • the knee swells increasingly.
  • the wound becomes red and feels warmer.
  • the wound opens up or drains fluid.
  • one of your calves becomes tender, painful or swollen.
  • you feel unwell or develop a temperature.
  • you develop a chest pain or a sudden painful cough.


  • Your new knee is an artificial joint, so take care of it. Running, jumping and heavy work is unwise.
  • It could take three months or longer for all the pain and swelling to settle down.
  • Knees can continue to improve for a year or two after operation.
  • If you get an infection such as in the bladder or chest, consult your GP/medical adviser at once. They may want to give you antibiotics as infections can settle in an artificial joint.
  • Dental treatment can also be risky and you may need antibiotic cover. Tell your dentist you have a joint replacement.
  • You may be able to kneel in the future but this can take a long time. Kneeling on hard surfaces may always be too difficult.
  • Do not drive until you have had your six week follow-up appointment and have asked the doctor.

Don’t forget to have fun with your new knee!

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