The knee joints take a lot of battering all our lives, which can ultimately lead to osteoarthritis and various other knee injuries. Designed to rebuild and restore knee function and reduce pain by replacing the knee joint with an artificial one, Knee replacement surgery (knee arthroplasty) is very popular these days, and is helping people resume normal lifestyles.
An important part of recovery following knee replacement surgery is stretching and strengthening of the muscles. But one needs to keep in mind that some types of movements and exercises may be more harmful than beneficial.
It is vital to learn what types of movements should be avoided after a knee replacement surgery.
Exercises and Movements to avoid after a knee replacement
The knee replacement surgery aims at enabling one to return to everyday activities without pain. As tempting as it is to return to a normal routine as soon as possible, there are some exercises and movements one should avoid during recuperation and healing.
Activities with a high risk of falling
Loss of strength, range of motion, and balance lead to an increased risk of falling lost knee replacement surgery. A fall can be damaging to the prosthesis and can deter the healing process.
A few lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of falling include:
- Use the handrail when climbing up and down the stairs
- Use a rubber mat or shower chair when taking a bath
- Always sit down to put on shorts or pants
- Keep the floor clear of toys, slippery mats & rugs, and other items that may present a risk of tripping.
- Avoid slippery terrains like mud, ice, or wet grass
The risk of developing a blood clot, especially in the first 2 weeks after surgery is increased due to long duration of sitting, post a knee replacement surgery. It can also hinder the drainage of fluid in the lower leg, making the swelling worse.
It is advisable not to sit continuously for more than 40 to 45 minutes. In case prolonged sitting is unavoidable, prop the legs up on a chair or something similar to minimize swelling.
Most people use a walker, crutches, or other assistive devices after knee replacement surgery. Early weight-bearing and moving around as soon as possible after surgery is recommended by most surgeons. However, for the initial days, this will need the help of a nurse, a family member, or a physical therapist.
A should be avoided until one is allowed to do so by the surgeon or physical therapist. While climbing up the stairs, lead with the leg that has not had surgery and while climbing down, step first with the leg that has had surgery.
Kneeling: Difficulty in kneeling or an inability to kneel after a total knee replacement is reported by many people. Though there is not much evidence to such that kneeling shortens the life of the prosthesis, if one is uncomfortable, it should be avoided.
Running and Jumping
The knee joint bears three times the normal force while running than when walking. And jumping involves an even higher amount of force at work. One must totally avoid activities that involve running and jumping while recovering from a knee replacement surgery. These activities may not only delay healing but also cause damage to the prosthesis.
In fact, such high-intensity activities should be avoided even when fully healed.
Sports with high impact or quickly changing directions
Here are some sports to avoid after the knee replacement:
Weight training: Heavy weight lifting, particularly during squats or similar exercises, which exert pressure on the joints should be totally avoided. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for suggestions or techniques which are suitable for the new knee.
Hiking: Even while being low impact, routes with uneven ground and erupting roots or rocks can cause falls and be hazardous to the knee. So avoid hiking in rough terrain after knee replacement.
Skateboarding and Rollerblading: Holding a substantial risk of twisted knees and possible fall on hard surfaces these sports can lengthen the recovery process.
High-impact Sports or Aerobics: The negative impact of running with the risk of hitting other players in the process of damaging the knee is combined in some sports. One must avoid taking part in contact sports or sports that lead to a sudden twisting or jerking of the knee like soccer, football, rugby, basketball, skiing, hockey, gymnastics, etc.
Some great options to stay active after the knee replacement surgery are low-intensity sports like cycling, golf, and swimming.
Knee replacement surgery is a highly successful method of getting rid of knee pain which can hamper your life and normal activity.
Dr. Tanveer Bhutani at Eva Hospital has been helping people lead a pain-free life by very competently treating Knee replacement
However, one may have to make a few adjustments to their lifestyle while the knee heals. Some of these changes might seem apparent, but they do a long way to make a difference in the long-term use of the knee.