Most people will have much less pain after knee replacement surgery and will be able to do many of their daily activities more easily. After surgery your knee will probably not bend quite as far as it did before you developed knee problems, but you should be able to stand and walk for longer periods without pain. Some people will still have some pain in the knee even after it has been replaced with an artificial knee joint. Usually the pain will be less than it was before the surgery.
After surgery, you may be allowed to resume activities such as golfing, riding a bike, swimming, walking for exercise, dancing, or cross-country skiing (if you did these activities before surgery). Your surgeon may discourage you from activities that put a lot of stress on your joint like running, playing tennis, and squatting.
The younger you are when you have the surgery and the more stress you put on the joint, the more likely it is that you will later need a second surgery to replace the first artificial joint. Over time, the components can sometimes wear down or may loosen and need to be replaced.
Your artificial joint should last longer if you are not overweight and you do not do hard physical work or play sports that stress the joint. If you are older than 60 when you have joint replacement surgery, the artificial joint will probably last the rest of your life.
If you wait to have surgery until you have already lost a lot of your strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, and ability to be active, then after surgery you might have a harder time returning to your normal activities.
Doctors usually don't recommend knee replacement surgery for people who have very high expectations for how much they will be able to do with the artificial joint. (Examples are people who expect to be able to run, downhill ski, or do other activities regularly that stress the knee joint.) The artificial knee allows a person to do ordinary daily activities with less pain. It does not restore the same level of function that the person had before the damage to the knee joint began.