Total Knee Replacement

Editor: Dr. Amy Spencer, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, CSCS, CKTP - A Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Certified Manual Therapist. Owner and Physical Therapist, Specialized Physical Therapy in North Reading, MA.

A total knee replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces the worn out or painful joint surfaces of the knee with artificial parts. In a total replacement, all Specialized Physical Therapy Total Knee Replacementthree compartments of the knee (femur, tibia, and patella) are replaced. With a knee replacement, also called knee arthroplasty, only the surface of the bones are actually replaced. If only one part of the knee is worn out, then a partial, or uni-compartmental, replacement is performed and only the worn out area is resurfaced.

Total knee replacement surgery is considered for patients whose knee joints have been damaged either by progressive arthritis, trauma, or other rare destructive diseases of the joint. The most common reason for knee replacement in the United States is severe osteoarthritis of the knees. This is often referred to as “wear-and-tear” arthritis and results in the wearing away of the normal smooth cartilage until bare bone is exposed. Knee replacement surgery will help relieve pain and allow patients to become more active. Surgery may be recommended if knee pain persists and other treatments are no longer helping.

Total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States.

Symptoms that Knee Replacement May Be Necessary:

  • Severe knee pain or stiffness that limits everyday activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. It may be hard to walk more than a few blocks without significant pain and using a cane or walker may be necessary.
  • Moderate or severe knee pain while resting either day or night. This pain often interferes with sleep.
  • Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not improve with rest or medications.
  • Knee deformity, such as a bowing in or out of the knee.
  • Failure to substantially improve with other treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, lubricating injections, physical therapy, or other surgeries.

Treatment after Total Knee Replacement Surgery:

Recovery time for a total knee replacement surgery varies among patients, but usually takes several months. Physical therapy should start when you are still in the hospital and should continue in a skilled nursing facility, at your home by an experienced physical therapist, or in an outpatient setting such as Specialized Physical Therapy. The goal is to reduce post-operative pain and swelling using modalities such as ice and electrical stimulation. Gait training with an assistive device (cane, crutch) may be necessary to temporarily reduce the amount of loading on the affected knee. Manual therapy, such as centralized massage, is also important to release tight muscles and improve your scar tissue flexibility. Customized stretching and strengthening exercises will help in restoring range of motion, muscle performance, and motor function. Physical therapy goals are to restore function and lead to improvement with recreational, community, occupational and home activities.

SPT is just minutes from Andover, Reading, North Andover, and Wilmington MA

Specialized Physical Therapy is conveniently located in North Reading and also proudly serves residents in Andover, Reading, North Andover, Wilmington, Boxford, Burlington, Woburn, Stoneham, and Methuen.  We offer free and spacious parking located within a few steps away from our clinic’s door.


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Specialized Physical Therapy practices a comprehensive approach to total muscle, joint, and spine health. We are the preferred physical therapy clinic in Greater Boston, because we offer an extensive range of physical therapy services designed to restore your physical strength and mobility while reducing your pain. Our physical therapy clinic sets itself apart by:

  • Providing proven techniques for alleviating minor, major, acute, and chronic pain.
  • Specializing in sports medicine, manual therapy, post-surgical care, auto accidents, prenatal and postpartum conditions, orthopedic injuries and overuse injuries.
  • Maintaining a clean, comfortable, private and quiet clinic, making it ideal for private consulting, educating and performing the latest physical therapy techniques.
  • Focusing on your individual needs, not the bottom line, because we are a small, physical therapist-owned and family-oriented clinic.
  • Treating one patient at a time in our private treatment room to make sure that you get the personalized care and attention you need.
  • Completing your treatment from start to finish with only exceptional doctorate trained and fully licensed Massachusetts physical therapists that have excellent skills, breadth of knowledge, and invaluable experience to help you reach your goals and succeed.


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