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Best Seating for Knee Replacement Patients

Knee replacements can be needed due to severe arthritis, or breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint, which can cause severe pain. This can make carrying out everyday tasks such as cleaning and driving very difficult, and is most common in people over 60.

During knee replacement surgery, the old bone and cartilage is removed, replaced with a metal prothesis and reattached to the bone which usually takes a couple of hours. The pain and stiffness experienced after the operation is worked through over a process of several weeks with rehabilitation and therapy.

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Having a Knee Operation

A knee replacement could be full or partial, a partial replacement will have a quicker recovery time (at least a couple of months), whereas a full replacement will take longer to return to a pre-operation levels of activity e.g. driving or working.

Recovery from a knee replacement can take several months, so it is worth investing in the right mobility aids and seating to help you along this journey and recover in the best way possible.


Good Seating Practices for Knee Replacement Patients

When recovering from a knee replacement, try not to stay sitting in the same position for more than 45-60 minutes at a time. Prolonged sitting can increase the risk of a blood clot. A therapist can help you find the best sitting techniques, but as a general rule of thumb use a chair with firm cushioning, straight back and armrests. Also, avoid chairs that are too low – high seat chairs with height adjustment can help you find the right position for you.

To help you get up from the chair, shuffle forward to the front of the seat and use the armrests to push yourself up from the chair, to reduce pressure on the knee joint.

The initial 48 hours after surgery is the most critical period for observing the correct seating posture and techniques. Being able to recline and elevate the legs can help reduce the risk of any swelling post-surgery. The full length of the leg should be supported for the best chances of rest and recovery.

A recommended chair from our range is the high-backed bedside chair with easy height-adjustment, drop-down arms and antimicrobial fabric. It is easy to clean and ideal for hospital wards.

product shot of the high backed bedside patient chair.

High backed chairs help maintain a good sitting profile so that the knee does not bend more than 90 degrees.

Suitable seating to ensure early mobilisation and full recovery from a knee replacement should focus on the following features:

  • Easy height adjustment. Clunky mechanisms will make it difficult to for staff to change the chair to the right height for each patient.
  • Supportive. The chair should be firm but with sufficient depth of padding to be comfortable and supportive, with firm armrests and the right back profile to support their head and neck.
  • Good neck position. A good neck support such as a headroll on weighted flap reduces strain and helps keep a straight upright profile in the chair.


Other Useful Aids to Assist with Recovery

Long-handled reachers are useful to avoid bending down too much. A non-slip bath mat and shower stool avoids slips and falls in the bathroom, and a walker or trolley might be necessary around the home to give extra stability.


Rehabilitation Exercises

Physios will want to get patients moving as soon as possible to maximise recovery time and help the body and muscles adapt to the new joint.

Rehabilitation can be assisted by step training devices like the Stairtrainer. This standalone step-training device can be adjusted to increase the step height as the patient’s mobility progresses, and has a surround rail and turning platform to keep them safe and secure.

Static product shot of the StairTrainer rehabilitation therapy stairs on a white background.

The StairTrainer


The knee is an intricate joint, and recovery from a partial or full knee replacement will take an extended period of time with guided physio. The choice of seating is important to support this process and minimise physical strain on the knee area as much as possible throughout the recovery period.

Date Published

23 February 2024

Reading Time

3 minutes

Author avatar


Ralph Hulbert

Ralph has many years' experience in the healthcare sector. In a previous life he worked in finance, and his spreadsheet skills come in handy for all the analysis and research he does as he investigates topics and solutions for some of the world's most complex healthcare conditions and challenges. Aside from writing in-depth articles and organising webinars and interviews with top healthcare professionals, Ralph also administrates Vivid's "Healthcare Pioneers Board", a large group of healthcare specialists with multiple disciplines, who are working together to improve care for years to come.

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