Returning to work
after Knee Replacement

Returning to work after knee replacement surgery is a very important issue that has to be addressed pre operatively when you consult with your knee replacement surgeon.

Generally speaking, a person should be able to return to work after 4-6 weeks whether they are still under rehab programs (either with a therapist or alone).

Let me start off by saying: going back to work does not mean going back to work, struggling with a lot of pain. It means regaining your ability to do your job with minimal pain or without major discomfort. Also, going back to work means happy homemakers doing house hold chores after recovery.

Returning to work is dependent on many different criteria but in general it depends on following factors:

Your Age

Your preoperative physical condition

Your sex

Your body weight

Your job type


after knee replacement


  1. Age plays very important role in the recovery process and determines how soon a person can go back to work. A person who is young and in good physical shape other then arthritic knee pain would be able to easily and quickly get back to the job after knee replacement surgery in comparison to an older person who suffers from other health problems.
  2. Your preoperative health also plays a factor in how soon you can return to work after knee replacement surgery. A person bad knees alone would be back sooner in comparison with a person who had other problems before the operation (like hypertension, stress, diabetes and other life style diseases). How do all of these other conditions hamper your recovery process? It’s not precisely known, but from my experience when a person has other problems their enthusiasm tends to be less and thus causes a delay in the recovery process.
  3. Body weight also plays a role in determining the patient’s ability to get back to work. A person with excessive body weight delays the recovery process, thus slowing down the process. Another related reason is that with excessive body weight it takes time for the patient’s muscles to be strong enough to hold body weight properly.
  4. Although many people will not agree, I have regularly observed female patients recover faster than male patients. Female patients have many house hold responsibilities to fulfill along with their job duties if they are working women. This tends to make females work harder on a daily basis. This is solely my observation and may not be true.
  5. The most important determinate of how soon you can get back to your job after knee replacement surgery is the type of job you do and the load you are going to put on your new knees while doing your job. Some office worker can go back to their desk jobs in few weeks; others with physically demanding jobs take a few weeks longer than office workers.
  6. I have seen people and workplaces accommodating their employee needs by moving them to less physically demanding jobs for first few weeks after knee joint surgery. You must talk to your workplace before surgery to find out if they can perform any job related adjustments for you.

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