Exercising After Knee Replacement Surgery

Image of Couple with Bicycles

Low Impact Exercises

If you’ve spent months or years living with pain in your joints that limits you from participating in daily activities or hobbies you enjoy, undergoing knee replacement surgery can help you get back to living the life you love. Once you’ve received the go ahead from your surgeon, it’s important to begin incorporating exercise back into your daily routine. Most people are able to return to normal activities within eight to 12 weeks after surgery. Lack of exercise or physical activity can cause joint stiffness and decreased range of motion. Below are a series of low-impact exercises which are great for limiting stress on your joints:

Walking

Walking is one of the safest ways to condition your body aerobically and build up strength in your knee. When walking, your feet land with less impact than in other sports which reduces the chances of injury. Per mile, walking can burn as many calories as high impact exercises such as jogging, which is not typically recommended after knee replacement surgery.

Swimming

Swimming or performing aerobic exercises in a pool are gentle ways to exercise muscles. They can also improve balance and coordination. Swimming is a non-weight bearing exercise, so when you’re in the water, you’re not putting excess stress directly on your knee joint.

Yoga

Yoga is a series of stretches and poses that you do with breathing techniques. Each yoga pose targets specific muscles. This helps you increase your flexibility and reduce your risk for injury. And since yoga is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of your age or fitness level. It's important to modify poses to ensure you are protecting your knees, by keeping them in line with your hips and ankles.

Cycling

Cycling or stationary bicycles allow your joints to move in a circular motion which means you can stay active for longer distances. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends peddling backwards on a stationary bike as you work up to full strength in your knee.

Becoming too active before you’ve made a full recovery may put you at risk for further complications or injuries. It’s important to always check with your physician before participating in any activities after knee surgery.


Think you need to consult an orthopedic surgeon? Visit www.lakelandhealth.org/ortho to learn more.

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