Getting back to work after knee-replacement surgery is a big concern for people contemplating the procedure. Now, a new study shows that most people return to work after a total knee replacement — even those with physically demanding jobs. "We are now reaching a population that is younger and actively working. Most have very arthritic knees and expect to go back to work," Orozco said. Better implant materials that support more weight, improved surgical techniques that spare muscle, and better post-surgery patient care plans — including pain management and physical therapy — have increased the popularity of knee replacement in recent years, he said.