Orthopaedics: The Charles J August Joint Replacement Center

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Exercise Plans


Pre- and Post-op Exercises and Goals
Activity Guidelines following Joint Replacement Surgery

Exercising is important to obtain the best results from joint replacement surgery. Always consult your physician before starting a home exercise program. After surgery, you may receive exercises from a physical therapist at an outpatient facility or at home. In either case, you will still need to train daily with a home exercise program until your goals are reached. After each therapy session, ask your therapist to outline any changes to your program that will keep you moving toward the goals listed on the next few pages.

Weeks 1-2

After two to three days, you should be ready for discharge from the hospital. Most joint replacement patients go directly home, though you may be advised to go to a rehabilitation center for five to seven days. During weeks one and two of your recovery, typical goals are to:
  • Continue with walker or two crutches unless otherwise instructed.
  • Walk at least 300 feet with support.
  • Climb and descend a flight of stairs (12-14 steps) with a rail once a day.
  • Independently sponge bath or shower (after staples are removed) and dress.
  • Gradually resume homemaking tasks.
  • Do 20 minutes of home exercises twice a day, with or without the therapist, from the program given to you.
Weeks 2-4

Weeks 2-4 will see you gaining more independence. Even if you are receiving outpatient therapy, you will need to be very faithful to your home exercise program to be able to achieve the best outcome. While specific goals will be set according to your specific joint replacement surgery and circumstances, goals for this time period are typically to:
  • Achieve one to two week goals.
  • Move from full support to a cane or single crutch as instructed by your therapist.
  • Walk at least one-quarter mile.
  • Climb and descend a flight of stairs (12-14 steps) more than once daily.
  • Independently shower and dress.
  • Resume homemaking tasks.
  • Do 20 minutes of home exercises twice a day with or without the therapist.
Weeks 4-6

Weeks 4-6 will see much more recovery to full independence. Your home exercise program will be even more important as you receive less supervised therapy. While specific goals will be set according to your specific joint replacement surgery and circumstances, goals for this time period are typically to:
  • Achieve one to four week goals.
  • Walk with a cane or single crutch.
  • Walk one quarter to one half mile.
  • Begin progressing on stair from one foot at a time to regular stair climbing (foot over foot).
  • Continue with home exercise program twice a day.
Weeks 6-12


During weeks 6-12 you should be able to begin resuming all of your activities. While specific goals will be set according to your specific joint replacement surgery and circumstances, goals for this time period are typically to:
  • Achieve one to six week goals.
  • Walk with no cane or crutch and without a limp.
  • Climb and descend stairs in normal fashion (foot over foot).
  • Walk one-half to one mile.
  • Resume activities including dancing, bowling, and golf.
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