Sleep After TKA

by / / News

One of the most common complaints after total knee replacement is difficulty sleeping. The most common cause of sleep disruption is pain. The knee may feel stiff and you are not comfortable in any sleep position. It has been reported that more than half of patients wake up with pain or stiffness after total knee

Difficulty sleeping after TKA is manageable with pain medication, the occasional use of sleeping pills, and activity modification.

Managing your pain is important

Many factors can affect the quality of sleep after total knee replacement including type of anesthesia, analgesics, and discomfort due to pain, stiffness or limited knee movement. Your sleeping environment will also impact the quality of your sleep. As sleep is crucial to the recovery process, it is important to follow the recommended pain medication protocols that have been prescribed for you. Contemporary pain management protocols inhibit pain in more than one way. That is why we usually prescribe a multi-modal approach for pain management with the use of narcotics and anti-inflammatory medication for several weeks after surgery. We will carefully review your pain medications with you after surgery and make changes as needed in order to knee you comfortable.

Your on the road to recovery, but cannot sleep

Usually around the second or third week after surgery, you will start to feel better and increase your level of activity while at the same
time decrease your use of pain medication. This often coincides with having a difficult time sleeping. When this occurs, you should take your pain medication an hour before bed to achieve better comfort and help restore your sleep cycle. A few days off from strenuous activity or physical therapy will not inhibit your recovery, but can have a tremendous effect on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.


Overall, difficulty sleeping after total knee replacement is manageable with pain medication, the occasional use of sleeping pills, and activity modification. If you are still having difficulty, always ley us know and we will make changes to help you.