Knee replacement surgery is often necessary for people with significant pain and limited mobility. Most patients worry about the procedure and what they’ll be able to do with their new knee. Knowing what not to do after a knee replacement is also essential for optimal recovery. It will help you avoid damaging the knee, and can prevent a need for revision surgery later.
The Top 5 “DO NOT”s While Recovering from Total Knee Replacement
Don’t Ignore Your Surgeon’s Instructions
While many knee replacement patients get similar advice on post-surgery activities, every situation is unique. Your surgeon will provide advice specific to your needs. The best thing you can do when recovering from a total knee replacement is to follow their instructions. Keep up with all appointments and recommended physical therapy. Follow your surgeon’s timeline for resuming activities, and avoid those they deem too risky for you.
Don’t Sit for Too Long
You’ll naturally do a lot of sitting while recovering from knee surgery, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Avoid sitting for long periods of time. It’s best to get up and move around a little to lower the risk of getting a blood clot.
When you sit, keep your knees and feet in line with each other and pointed forward to avoid twisting the joint. Don’t stay in the same position for longer than 45 or 60 minutes. Sit in firm chairs that are not too low to the ground so it is easier to get up.
Don’t Risk a Fall
A study of patients after a total knee arthroplasty found that 17.2% fell within six months of the procedure. Most of the falls happened while the patients were walking. A fall while you’re still recovering could lead to significant damage to the new joint. It could also slow your recovery and healing.
You can limit the risk of falling by following your surgeon’s guidelines for activity and taking extra care when standing, walking, and engaging in allowed activities. Use support devices, like railings, a cane, or a walker. Sit down when dressing and showering. Keep floors in the home free of trip and slip hazards.
Don’t Kneel After Knee Replacement if it’s Painful
Many patients avoid kneeling after surgery for various reasons. Some experience pain while kneeling, or struggle to get back up. Others are afraid it will damage the joint. There is no evidence from research to suggest that kneeling harms artificial knees. Don’t kneel down if it causes you pain or discomfort, but otherwise, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Don’t Do These Exercises After Knee Replacement
Your surgeon will provide you with a timeline for getting active again after knee replacement. They might also recommend you completely avoid certain exercises and sports. Anything that involves twisting the knee, impacts and rough play, jumping, and sudden direction changes can be too risky for knee replacement patients, especially while they are still recovering.
Even after complete healing, many surgeons recommend that patients avoid high-impact sports. These include:
Exercise is important, but choose lower impact sports. Good options for going easy on the knee joints include:
- Elliptical machines
Strength training is also important for health and fitness. Talk to your surgeon about your limitations and what to avoid.
Can You Run After a Knee Replacement?
This can be a controversial question, as some surgeons say no, others say yes, and others say maybe. Most experts caution patients against running or jogging, as the high-impact nature of the activity can damage the joint over time.
If you did not run before surgery, choose other exercises with less impact to stay fit and strong. If you used to run and want to return to the sport, talk to your surgeon. Some knee replacement patients do run after a full recovery, but the outcomes are mixed.
Get the Treatment You Deserve
If you are considering a knee replacement but worry about what recovery will be like, take a look at our Total Knee Replacement Recovery Calendar for an idea of what to expect. You can also talk to our orthopedic knee specialists about your concerns. Call us at (919) 220-5255 or request an appointment online to get in touch.