Balance Issues After A Total Knee Replacement

Hi everyone! I have been asked about balance issues after a total knee replacement.  I have written about this topic in numerous posts, but have received requests for more tkr insight. is a reprint containing insight that still applies.

Something strange and perplexing has been happening lately. There will be times when I move and suddenly lose my balance. It is not extreme, only a simply side step. To someone who didn’t know any better, it might appear as if I had been drinking too much alcohol or did not have my “sea legs” on.

I don’t understand why it’s happening, either. Sometimes it is due to my shoes losing ankle support. Other times it happens when I get out of a seating position and start to walk.

Other times it occurs for no reason at all. It may be due to my leg length discrepancy. Sometimes it happens when my glasses are not properly positioned (I have a prism in my lenses). It’s been 7 months, 1 week since my total knee replacement surgery.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing with balance issues after a total knee replacement. It is one of many tkr concerns.

Find this tkr blog post about balance issues after a total knee replacement interesting? Kindly share to help others gain a real-life perspective…Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or a number of other health concerns.

This multiple award-winning site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author, tkr blogger, and tkr patient who has been living with various health conditions for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

Marie is also a proud WEGO Health Patient Leader.

13 thoughts on “Balance Issues After A Total Knee Replacement”

  1. Thanks for your comment, N. Losing balance is a strange feeling, isn’t it? I’ve also sent you a personal email.

    I don’t know what to suggest about your tkr recuperation. You are having difficulties I luckily have not experienced. I give you a lot of credit for being so strong about them.

    I find that being a “couch potato” works well. I may come across as a lazy bum, but I don’t care. After doing nothing but elevating my leg on a pillow, icing, and not walking much – my tkr knee seems to get better.

    You’re also lucky Percocet works for you. It didn’t for me.

    Best of luck to you! Things’ll get better.

  2. It has been six and a half months since my total knee replacement and I am still walking with a cane and I suddenly lose my balance too. It is extremely scary. Last weekend I noticed my lower leg was swollen again. I am on Warfarin because three weeks after my surgery I developed a blood clot in the knee that had the replacement. Have been wearing elastic stockings but was able to discard them a month ago. Now I am back wearing the hose and the knee is hot, swollen and extremely painful. Called my physician and was told to elevate leg and put ice on it. That did not help much. If I did not have Percocet to take I don’t know how I would be able to get through the pain.

  3. I am trying to read your posts that coincide with my own recovery, which is now 7 months post op……

    I think my loss of balance at times, stems from a little inner ear disturbance which I have always had, just a minor inconvenience most of the time, and from the stiffness in my quads when I go from sitting to standing……I’m like a “weeble”……remember those? Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down…..

    I’m also having more swelling and pain than I was about 2 months ago, and I don’t know if it’s the hot weather or my increased physical activity. I am working a full 40 hour week now, and rarely take a lunch break anymore, as I prefer to work 6-2 and get home early, especially in the summer so I can swim.

    I have NOT been on my exercise bike in a very long time, but I am climbing steps on the new deck and working my leg in the pool, so, hoping that offsets the non biking.

    Deck has 2 steps to lower level, 4 more to upper, then 4 down into the water…….I swim twice a day if possible. But I’m up and down on the deck several times….it’s my new favorite place…..gotta love summer!

  4. Tommy Richbourg

    I had trhr (2007), trkr (2014), trsr (2015). am now 79yo. My balance is very bad, to the point I use a walker all the time. In 2018 I had 8 weeks of PT with no improvement, Dr. put me through many medical test and xrays with no conclusion. I now reside in a recliner because am unable to sleep in bed, can’t get up from prone position. life is hell.

  5. Hello Tommy,
    Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to leave your comment. I am truly sorry you are having such difficulties. Take a look around my site. You may find further insight that helps you.
    Keep in touch and good luck!

  6. I’m happy and relieved to find this group. It’s encouraging to hear your stories and struggles. I’ve been feeling isolated and quite down about my trying to regain my balance. But after reading this, I feel more optimistic.

    We’ve all come to this surgery from different places, ages, and fitness levels. . Because of that, I’m learning it’s hard (if not detrimental) to measure progress against others. I’ve realized so much of (at least my) recovery is mental.

    I made the mistake of watching a few too many YouTube therapy videos. While most were helpful, there were a couple that made feel discouraged about my progress. I saw one with 2 women from a PT center in California who were adamant about where you should be after 4 to 6 weeks post-op. They stated if you were still using any kind of walking support–cane or walker–there was something wrong. I know now that’s not true. We all have our own pace and priorities. it’s not wise to put a timeframe that makes you feel like a slacker or worse.

    I work hard when I’m feeling like I’m going “backwards” in my recovery to avoid getting too hung up on it. One thing that seems to help me is to focus on bending that knee and walking heel-toe, heel-toe. It’s a mantra I repeat over and over in my “head, heel, toe, bend.” It’s strange to tell yourself how to walk again considering we’ve been doing it for decades without thinking about it.

    Thank you for the encouragement and kindness.

  7. Hi Mary,
    Thank you for visiting my site and taking the time to write your informative comment. It is truly refreshing to know that my words are helping others. I am certain your words will help others, as well.
    Best of luck with your tkr recovery and stay in touch. 🙂

  8. Balance problems for me also. TNR was 6 mos. ago. I feel that my balance is getting worse. My leg feels very strong with just stiffness, hardly ever any pain, but the balance thing has me worried. I am very timid when walking since falling down twice. I am in pretty good shape(former runner) and I use spin bike frequently. Searching the internet did not get me any answers regarding balance. I’ll keep doing balance exercises and hope for the best. Thanks for listening.

  9. Hello Patrick,
    Thanks for taking the time to post your tkr balance comment. I also sent you a private email. Keep doing your balance exercises and you are bound to improve. I do them YEARS after my tkr and still benefit. Good luck!

  10. Tomorrow (Dec. 29) will be four weeks since my LTKR. At first when I would kind of stumble, I thought I was having balance problems. But then I realized it isn’t that at all. My proprioception is off. In other words, I don’t always know where my foot is. For example, one day last week when I was at PT the therapist had me on my back on the table with my knees bent. I asked him if my feet were even. They were not. He adjusted them, but to me it felt like one was two or three inches ahead of the other. So when I am doing, for example, step ups in therapy, I have to watch my left foot so it lands in the right place on the step. The therapist told me that is common after knee surgery. I find it amusing, and so far, since I am aware of it and pay attention, it hasn’t caused any problems.

  11. Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to share your experience. Very interesting. Best of luck with your pt and proprioception.
    Remember to check back often to help you realize you are not alone in your tkr journey.
    I also sent you a private email.

  12. I’m seven months post TKR and recently realized that I need to incorporate balance exercises as part of my daily routine. It was while looking up suggestions for balance exercises that I found this site. During my first few months of rehab, during the PT sessions, I once was given a balance board to try out. I’ve now purchased a small one for in-home use; the difficulty I’ve had with it makes me realize I have need for much improvement. I also have access to a large board (looks like half a rubber ball) at a gym. I definitely need nearby supports when I’m on the balance equipment. But today I found some easy balance exercises on the Mayo Clinic website, and these involve just standing on one leg and lifting the other, with variations suggested. Balance involves many small muscles, especially around the ankles but also on up the entire leg. And it is muscles that make our new knees work, so fine tuning them makes a lot of sense.

  13. Hello Sue,
    Thanks for visiting and taking the time to post your tkr comment. Yes, the Mayo Clinic has a wonderful site containing helpful balance experiences. I enjoy using the the half exercise ball and need support like you do. That, plus others. Good luck and keep in touch!

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