What's Normal And Abnormal To Experience After Knee Replacement?

Health & Medical Blog

Knee replacement surgery is a major operation. As such, there will be a recovery period, and you can expect some pain and discomfort during that recovery period. It is important to know, though, whether what you are experiencing is normal or whether it is a sign that something's amiss. Here's a look at some things you might experience after knee replacement — along with indications as to whether each experience is normal or abnormal.

Throbbing Pain

This is normal. After a knee replacement, the pain you experience usually feels like it is spread across the joint. There may be some areas that are more painful than others, but the whole joint will generally feel like it is throbbing, aching, and sore. Generally, your doctor will prescribe pain relievers that keep this pain under good control. They tend to work best when you take them regularly, on a schedule, rather than waiting for the pain to get too bad before you take another dose.

Sharp, Stabbing Pain

This may be abnormal and is something you should talk to your doctor about. The pain is probably just a part of the healing process, but it could also be an indicator of nerve damage or an impending infection. So, have your surgeon take a look to be sure.


Having a fever after a knee replacement is abnormal and is definitely a reason to call your doctor ASAP. Sometimes, patients assume the fever has an unrelated cause, and this may be the case. But it's also quite possible that the fever is a sign that you're developing a post-surgery infection, which is a major problem that needs to be addressed with antibiotics ASAP.


This is usually normal. You may not think that you should be quite so exhausted after a surgery to replace your knee, during which you slept. However, recovering from a major surgery, like a knee replacement, requires a lot of your body's resources. It is completely expected for you to feel fatigued. Get lots of rest, and don't push yourself. Eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water. You should find that your energy levels improve after a week or two after your body has done the hard part of healing your incisions and soft tissues.

If you experience anything else that you're worried about after a knee replacement, contact your surgeon. Everyone recovers a bit differently from this operation, and your surgeon will often need to take a look at your knee to determine whether your experience is normal or abnormal.


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