Orthopaedics: The Charles J August Joint Replacement Center

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Five Weeks before Knee Replacement Surgery

Preparing your body

For your safety, we need to know what medications you are currently taking. It is important that you have a personal medicine list written and plan to bring it with you.

Healthy habits
There are things you can do to make your recovery faster and easier. Check out our list of preoperative exercises below, including flexibility, strength and breathing exercises. We also suggest that you kick bad habits like smoking.

Start Pre-operative Knee Replacement Exercises

Many patients with arthritis favor the painful leg. As a result, the muscles can become weaker making recovery slower and more difficult. For this reason, it is very important to begin an exercise program before surgery as you will learn the exercises at the optimal time and initiate the work toward improving strength and flexibility. This can make recovery faster and easier.

Exercising before Surgery

It is important to be as flexible and strong as possible before undergoing a total knee replacement. Always consult your physician before starting a pre-operative exercise plan. Ten basic exercises are listed here that your physician may instruct you to start doing now and continue until surgery. You should be able to do them in 15-20 minutes and it is typically recommended that you do all of them twice a day. Consider this a minimum amount of “training” prior to your surgery.

Remember that you need to strengthen your entire body, not just your leg. It is very important that you strengthen your arms by doing chair push-ups (exercise # 9) because after surgery you will be relying on your arms to support you when walking with the walker or crutches You will also rely on your arms to help you get in and out of bed and chairs as well as on and off the toilet. You should also exercise your heart and lungs by performing light endurance activities – for example, walking for 10-15 minutes each day. Do NOT do any exercise that is too painful.

Pre-operative Knee Exercises (See Section 5, Pre- and Post-op Exercises and Goals)
  1. Ankle Pumps
  2. Quad Sets
  3. Gluteal Sets
  4. Abduction and Adduction
  5. Heel Slides
  6. Short Arc Quads
  7. Hamstring Stretch with Optional Strap
  8. Straight Leg Raise
  9. Armchair Push-ups
  10. Knee Extension Stretch
Breathing Exercises

To prevent potential problems such as pneumonia, it is important to understand and practice breathing exercises. Techniques such as deep breathing, coughing, and using an Incentive Spirometer may also help you recover more quickly.

Deep Breathing
  • To deep breathe, you must use the muscles of your abdomen and chest.
  • Breathe in through your nose as deep as you can.
  • Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Let your breath out slowly through your mouth. As you breathe out, do it slowly and completely. Breathe out as if you were blowing out a candle (this is called “pursed lip breathing”). When you do this correctly, you should notice your stomach going in. Breathe out for 10- 20 seconds.
  • Take a break and then repeat the exercise 10 times.

To help you cough:
  • Take a slow deep breath. Breathe in through your nose and concentrate on filling your lungs completely.
  • Breathe out through your mouth and concentrate on your chest emptying completely.
  • Repeat with another breath in the same way.
  • Take another breath, but hold your breath and then cough hard. When you cough, focus on emptying your lungs.
  • Repeat all steps twice.
Prepare Your Home for Your Return from the Hospital

It is important to have your house ready for your arrival back home. Use this checklist as you complete each task.
  • Put things that you use often (like an iron or coffee pot) on a shelf or surface that is easy to reach.
  • Check railings to make sure they are not loose.
  • Clean, do the laundry, and put it away.
  • Put clean linens on the bed.
  • Prepare meals and freeze them in single serving containers.
  • Cut the grass, tend to the garden, and finish any other yard work.
  • Pick up throw rugs and tack down loose carpeting.
  • Remove electrical cords and other obstructions from walkways.
  • Install night-lights in bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
  • Install grab bars in the shower/bathtub. Put adhesive slip strips in the bottom of the tub.
  • Arrange to have someone collect your mail and take care of pets.


What to Bring to the Hospital
  • Bring personal hygiene items (toothbrush, deodorant, razor, etc.); loose fitting clothing such as shorts and tops; and flat shoes or tennis shoes.  If you have adaptive equipment, such as a walker or reacher, please leave them at home. You will need to bring a form of identification and your insurance information even if you provided them previously.
  • You may bring your cell phone and laptop if you desire.

Special Instructions

You will be given specific instructions regarding medications.
  • DO NOT take medication for diabetes on the day of surgery.
  • Please leave jewelry, valuables, and money at home.
  • Makeup must be removed before your procedure.
  • Remove nail polish.
Our team earned The Joint commission's Gold Seal of Approval.
Unity Health The Charles J August Joint Replacement Center
1555 Long Pond Road   |   Rochester, NY 14626
(585) 368-4545