HSS Logo

Rehabilitation in the Hospital


Soon after surgery, a physical therapist will visit you with an exercise program to increase range of motion and strength in your leg muscles.

The physical therapist will assist you in the following activities:

  • Sitting at bedside with your legs dangling
  • Transferring in and out of bed safely
  • Walking with the aid of a walker or cane
  • Climbing stairs
  • Performing muscle strengthening and range of motion exercises with or without the CPM

Your Daily Physical Therapy Session

You will be seen by a physical therapist on the day of surgery or the next morning after surgery. Your therapist will instruct you in your exercise program, which is directed toward increasing range of motion and strength of your legs. For the first few days after surgery, some patients benefit from taking pain medication thirty minutes prior to their therapy session. However, be sure to take your pain medicine when it is due, not only thirty minutes prior to a physical therapy session. You should discuss this with your nurse and/or therapist.

Beginning to Walk

Your therapist or nurse will assist you in sitting up with your feet over the bedside (we call it dangling). You will then stand with the use of a walker and the continued help of your therapist. As soon as possible, you will be allowed to bear full weight on the operated leg and then attempt walking.

As the days progress, you will increase the distance and frequency of walking. Most patients progress to a straight cane within a few days after surgery.

Stair Climbing

You will practice stair climbing several times prior to discharge. You will use steps in the physical therapy treatment room.

Looking Ahead

Before leaving, you will be instructed in an exercise program for home.

Remember, You Make the Difference

It is extremely important that you understand that your motivation and your participation in your physical therapy program is a vital element in the speed and success of your long-range rehabilitation as well as getting ready to go home. Your participation in a physical therapy program is essential to the success of your surgery. The more committed and enthusiastic you are, the quicker your improvement will be.