We have included below the answers to some frequently asked questions. However, your team will always be happy to answer any queries or concerns that you have, so if you don’t find it below please ask or email us with your question.

Why have I still got swelling?
It’s normal for healing tissues to be swollen. The swelling may last for many months. When you take a step the calf muscle works to help pump blood back to the heart. If you’re not putting full weight on your leg the pump does not work as well and you may get swelling around the ankle especially at the end of the day. You may also find that bruising starts to come out in the first few weeks following surgery. This is normal.

Do your circulation exercises as advised. When resting keep the leg elevated, ideally above the level of your heart.

Why is my scar warm?
When tissues are healing they produce heat. This can be felt on the surface of your skin for many months.

For how long will I have pain?
You may have some discomfort for several weeks. If you are following the guidance given on discharge but still feel that the pain is not well controlled, please ask your GP for advice or contact us.

When can I start to drive again?
The DVLA states that it’s the responsibility of a driver to ensure they are always in control of the vehicle. A good guide is if you’re confident walking without crutches and can get into your car without help, which is usually around six weeks after surgery. Vehicle insurance companies  usually suggest a six-week period off driving, although you should always check with your car insurance company first.

Will I set off the security scanner alarm at the airport?
Your joint may set off the alarm depending on the type of metal from which it’s made, and your metal walking aids will also be X-rayed. It’s advisable to have some written evidence of your surgery, so if you’re travelling abroad, please contact us at least two weeks before you travel so we can prepare a letter for you.

However, it is not normally advisable to fly within three months of your surgery, as flying increases the risk of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If you’re considered to be high risk for DVT you should get advice from your consultant or GP. They may recommend you delay your trip. You should also check that your travel insurance policy provides adequate cover.

How long will the joint replacement last?
A joint replacement will typically last at least 20 years.

Will I need walking aids after my surgery?
You will need to use crutches or other types of walking aid until your muscles strength returns and you feel confident walking independently.

Why do I get pain lower down my leg?
While the tissues are settling it’s quite common to get referred pain into the shin or behind the knee following knee replacement.

How can I avoid damage to my replacement joint?
Looking after your new joint will help protect and extend its life. You can do this by:

  • Taking regular exercise to maintain mobility and build strength, without putting too much stress on the joint
  • Avoiding falls, as breaking a bone in your leg may involve further surgery

Can I go swimming?
You should not swim for the first 12 weeks, until your wound is fully healed.

When can I return to the gym?
This will depend on your previous level of experience and fitness. Low impact activities such as cycling, treadmill walking and swimming are recommended in the early stages of recovery until the soft tissues have healed and the muscles are strong enough to protect the new joint. This is usually not for the first 12 weeks. High impact activities such as sports and running should be avoided until after the follow-up appointment with your Consultant.

Fortius Joint Replacement Centre
at Bupa Cromwell Hospital

164 -178 Cromwell Road


Appointments: +44 (0)203 693 2119

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