Activities After Knee Replacement

What Sports Can I Perform After Knee Replacement?

elderly exercise
Ingram Publishing / Getty Images

Many patients having joint replacement surgery are curious about which activities are safe to perform after their surgical procedure.  While doctors often recommend specific sports which should be safe and those to avoid, there is remarkably little scientific information about which are safe.  Most advice is based on opinion rather than on actual data.  That said, there are some guidelines to help patients determine which activities are safe.

The Knee Society recommends specific activities for patients with total knee replacement, these include:

  • Cycling
  • Calisthenics (gentle aerobics-style exercises)
  • Swimming
  • Low-resistance rowing
  • Skiing machines
  • Walking & hiking
  • Low-resistance weightlifting

Activities which The Knee Society specifically recommends to be avoided are:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • High-impact aerobics
  • Gymnastics
  • Jogging
  • Power lifting

One recent study on golf after knee replacement found that the golf swing places higher forces than jogging on the knee implant. Specifically, the forward knee of the golfer is stressed significantly during the golf swing. Therefore, patients should be cautious about playing golf after a knee replacement.

These lists are meant to give patients an idea of what to expect if they undergo knee replacement surgery. Before you begin a new exercise program, it is important that you discuss this with your doctor.

If there is an activity you do not see listed, and you are curious about your participation, ask your doctor.

Sources:

Colwell CW, et al. "In Vivo Knee Forces During Recreational Activities After Total Knee Arthroplasty" Presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, San Francisco, March 5-9, 2008.

Rogers C. "Survey: Unlimited low-impact activity 'OK' after TJR" AAOSNow Jan 2009, Vol3, No 1. Page 1.

Continue Reading