If you have had arthritis or an injury to your knee, your doctor may recommend a total knee replacement. This procedure is done to decrease pain and improve overall movement of the knee joint.
While there is a healing process, once you are released by your doctor there are sports and fun activities you can enjoy. Below is an overview of some of the safest and best activities for those who have had a total knee replacement.
What Is A Total Knee Replacement?
According to the American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the first total knee replacement was performed in 1968.
Today, this is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States, with an estimated 600,000 total knee replacements being done every year, as stated by the Agency For Healthcare Research And Quality.
During this surgery, doctors remove the existing knee joint and bone, replacing them with an artificial joint implant.
Who Is A Candidate For A Total Knee Replacement?
There are several medical conditions that can cause pain and degradation of the knee joint, making a total knee replacement necessary. Some of the most common conditions are:
- Traumatic Injury To The Knee
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sports and Activities to Avoid After Total Knee Replacement
Once you have healed from surgery and your doctor releases you for activity, you must be careful to avoid sports that place increased tension and stress on your new knee joint. WebMD advises total knee patients to sports such as :
- Rock Climbing
- Power Lifting
- High Impact Aerobics
- Hang Gliding
Repetitive movements in these sports can increase wear and tear on the knee joint. The more you perform repetitive movements, the faster your new knee joint will wear out, making revisions more likely in a shorter amount of time.
Experts recommend completely avoiding all contact sports after a total knee replacement. As a rule, it is best to eliminate extreme sports of any kind to avoid complications that could require additional surgery to correct.
Best Activities after a Total Knee Replacement
The best activities after your total knee surgery are those that help you be active without placing excess pressure on your knee joint. Some of the best sports include:
Swimming is an excellent non-weight bearing activity that is a great choice after a total knee replacement. It provides a total body workout, while placing minimal stress on the knee.
Cycling is another good choice for those wanting to be active after a total knee replacement. Avoid placing your seat in a low position, which increases knee bend and places strain on the joint.
Walking is one of most low-impact activities for your knee. Since it is a weight bearing activity, it will keep bones strong and decrease the chance of bone loss and osteoporosis.
Weight Lifting-Low Resistance
Low resistance weight lifting is a great way to increase strength and lean muscle mass. It is also a great sport after a knee replacement, as long as you avoid moves that require heavy weights and deep knee bends like squats.
Bowling is a fairly low impact sport that is fun for those who have had knee surgery. Consider joining a bowling league for social interaction while participating in this fun sport.
Benefits Of Sports After A Total Knee Replacement
If you have had a total knee replacement, you have most likely had to limit your physical activity until the surgery was performed. Most people are in too much pain and have limited range-of-motion before surgery that makes it difficult to participate in sports. Now that you have a new knee, you can reap the following benefits that come with being active:
- Decreased Stress
- Increased Muscle Mass
- Boosts Metabolism
- Maintain A Healthy Weight
Regular exercise can stave off the effects of aging on the body and give you a sense of health and wellness. Many people find new and fun activities they had not previously enjoyed after discovering a life free from pain and immobility.
While there are some risks associated with sports after a knee replacement, doctors believe they are minimal. The benefits far outweigh the risks of exercise, as long as you are careful to choose sports that are safe for your knee.
As with any type of exercise, always check with your doctor before beginning a new program to be sure there are no limitations on your activity.