3 doctors weighed in:
Is it normal for my knee to get really stiff after a total knee replacement?
3 doctors weighed in

Dr. Frederick Buechel, jr. md
Orthopedic Surgery
In brief: Yes
The pain associated with total knees makes most patients struggle with bending after surgery.
This, along with the healing process of the large incision, causes significant scaring, reducing the patients early motion. This requires fairly aggressive and regular exercise and stretching to lengthen the tissues while they are healing so that you can regain your preop motion which is the goal.

In brief: Yes
The pain associated with total knees makes most patients struggle with bending after surgery.
This, along with the healing process of the large incision, causes significant scaring, reducing the patients early motion. This requires fairly aggressive and regular exercise and stretching to lengthen the tissues while they are healing so that you can regain your preop motion which is the goal.
Dr. Frederick Buechel, jr. md
Dr. Frederick Buechel, jr. md
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1 comment
Dr. Frederick Buechel, jr. md
Most patients tell us the knee feels like there is a large rubber band aound it that makes it feel tight. This feeling is usually present for many months after surgery and is normal for the procedure. I tell my patients to continuously work on their stretching and bending each day at least for a few minutes several times a day. Patients should try to get full extension and to 110 degrees of motion by 6 weeks. This is a good goal but just a goal not a mandate for success. Most Total knees are considered successful if you eventually return to your preop range of motion at 12-18 months post op. As you see, its a long improvement period. But you should try very hard for the first 6-12 weeks to get to that first goal of 0-110 motion. If you can touch your heel to your buttock that is around 155 degrees to 160 maximum. 110 degrees is needed to perform stair climbing and get in and out of chairs effectively.
Dr. Barry Waldman
Orthopedic Surgery - Reconstruction
In brief: Yes
It should bend more easily as it heals.
If it is not improving, i would see your surgeon.

In brief: Yes
It should bend more easily as it heals.
If it is not improving, i would see your surgeon.
Dr. Barry Waldman
Dr. Barry Waldman
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Dr. John Ayres
Orthopedic Surgery
In brief: No
Range of motion after knee replacement should be similar to what it was before surgery.
Loss of full range of motion can be a sign of arthrofibrosis, caused by excessive scar formation. The cause is unknown. Possible treatments include knee manipulation, arthroscopic debridement, and/or revision of the tibia polyethylene insert to a thinner insert.

In brief: No
Range of motion after knee replacement should be similar to what it was before surgery.
Loss of full range of motion can be a sign of arthrofibrosis, caused by excessive scar formation. The cause is unknown. Possible treatments include knee manipulation, arthroscopic debridement, and/or revision of the tibia polyethylene insert to a thinner insert.
Dr. John Ayres
Dr. John Ayres
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