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.

Continue Watching

Hip replacement: Connie Harmacinski "A humbling experience"

When Connie's hip pain didn’t go away, she knew it was time to seek help from orthopedic surgeon, Nicholas Loafman, DO.

Total Shoulder Replacements (Kenneth Edwards, MD)

Find out what’s causing your shoulder pain and what can be done about it.

Total Hip Replacements (Kenneth Edwards, MD)

Find out what’s causing your hip pain and what can be done about it.

Total Knee Replacements (Kenneth Edwards, MD)

Find out what’s causing your knee pain and what can be done about it.

Knee replacement: Steve Petlick "A home run experience"

When pain in his knees began to interfere with his ability to keep up on the field, he turned to orthopedic surgeon, Kenneth Edwards, MD. Since undergoing double knee replacement surgery he's now back in the game pain free.

Knee Injury: Jonathan Paulus "Bouncing Back from an Injury"

While playing a game of basketball, 37-year-old Jonathan Paulus noticed discomfort in his knee. In the days that followed he could no longer straighten his knee and knew it was time to seek medical care.

Knee Replacement: Tom Norbey "Nothing to Be Scared Of"

Tom Norbey spent years in pain before he considered getting knee replacement surgery at Lakeland Medical Center.

Orthopedic Surgery: Caren Rossow "Begin with the End in Mind"

After years of wear and tear on her body, Caren Rossow was knee-deep in pain. Since undergoing a bi-lateral knee replacement Caren is back living life the fullest.

Orthopedic Surgery: John Hoffman “Four Surgeries in Four Years”

Over the course of four years he experienced limited function in both of his knees and shoulders.

My Aching Shoulder: Common Problems and Treatments (Jeffrey Postma, DO)

Listen to orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Postma, DO, as he discusses how to keep shoulders pain-free by understanding common conditions, avoiding injuries, and the latest treatments.

© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2020