How Long Does It Take to Recover from Knee Surgery?

Knee surgery is a big deal. You’ve got to recover your strength, flexibility, and balance—all the things you need for everyday activities like going to work, walking upstairs, or even bending down to tie your shoe. But how long does it take to recover, and when can you expect to return to work after knee surgery? The answers, of course, depend on factors such as the extent of your injuries, the type of surgery, and your own physical condition. Let’s look at some common surgical procedures for knees and talk about average recovery times.

Total Knee Replacement

One of the most common types of knee surgeries is total knee replacement, or TKR. TKR is a major surgery that may require intensive post-operative pain management and a significant amount of physical therapy. If performed correctly, TKR can restore near full range of motion in the knee—but it also takes a serious commitment to recovery. The normal timeline for complete TKR recovery is 4 to 6 months, although you may be able to resume some limited activities after a few weeks.


Another common type of surgery is arthroscopy. This minimally invasive procedure allows a surgeon to repair torn cartilage, ligaments, or menisci, remove damaged tissue, etc. Arthroscopy doesn’t require the large incision that TKR does, so the physical healing time is shorter—usually just a few weeks, depending on your condition.


Osteotomy is a surgical procedure involving the realignment or reshaping of a bone to change its natural position—usually by cutting or repositioning it into a better position. Although it’s not as common as other types of surgery, an osteotomy is a major surgery that requires at least a short hospital stay and an extended recovery time. If you have osteotomy for knee pain or to repair a broken knee, for example, your typical timeline might be 3-6 months before you’re back to normal.

When Can You Go Back to Work?

Getting cleared to go back to work after knee surgery depends on numerous factors, including your rate of recovery and the type of work you do. If your work is mainly done in an office where you’re sitting most of the time, you may be able to return to work even before your knee is completely recovered. If you perform lots of physical activities on the job, you may have to wait until you are fully recovered before going back to work.

If your knee injury occurred at work or as a result of your duties on the job, workers’ compensation should cover the cost of your knee surgery and rehabilitation, as well as the lost wages for time off work while you recover. If you’re having trouble getting workers’ comp to approve your claim, or if you’re not getting the full amount, Accident Defenders can help. Give us a call at 323-818-HURT or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.


Tell Us More About Your Case