I had a total knee replacement surgery 7 days ago. Swelling is going down and I have 100% range of motion. Can I use a warmed up towel on my knee before exercise?

– James


Dear James,

Without doing an examination I cannot comment on your condition specifically. However, in general ice or cold packs can be used as a pain reliever and to help reduce inflammation. Getting the inflammation down will help to improve range of motion. This is most important during the first 72hrs after surgery, but can be helpful for up to several months, especially after exercise and stretching. In general, if your knee feels warm to touch then ice may be more beneficial.

Heat is ok to use at this stage if you feel like it is helpful. Heat may help the muscles relax before stretching which can help with range of motion as well. Frequent stretching (into bending and straightening), approximately one time every hour of the day, followed by icing will likely have the biggest impact.

Physical therapy rehabilitation following TKA surgery is highly recommended. If you are unable to attend for health reasons secondary to COVID-19, telehealth options are widely available.

Good luck,

**This reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.