Movement and Sports After Knee Replacement Surgery

Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses Movement and Sports After Knee Replacement Surgery.

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Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon, discusses Movement and Sports After Knee Replacement Surgery.
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Featuring Dr. Bassam Masri, MD, FRCSC, Orthopedic Surgeon

Duration: 3 minutes, 32 seconds

So after a knee replacement one can expect to resume almost all normal activities that most middle-aged individuals would do.  

Having said that, a lot of middle-aged or older individuals like to participate in high impact sports and that’s probably the only thing that is not possible after a knee replacement. 

As a good rule of thumb one can think of after a knee replacement you can do any activity that maintains one leg on the ground at any one time.

So what that means: no jumping, no running - because when you run both legs are off the ground at any one time - any other activity is pretty well possible. So sports such as golf, swimming, cycling, doubles tennis, even non-competitive singles tennis, rowing activities, canoeing, kayaking, those sorts of sports are all possible.  

Things such as soccer, because of the extreme running in soccer, are not possible. Some non-contact hockey is possible. Skating is possible. Skiing is possible both downhill and cross-country. So basically whatever someone was doing before is possible afterwards as long as their running activities are cut back.

And it’s important to think about what you want to do after surgery before you have the operation, because one of the biggest reasons for dissatisfaction or a poor outcome is if the patient’s expectations are not met by the operation. And the patient’s expectations and the surgeon’s expectations are not in sync. 

And this is why it’s very important that if you have any questions about what you can or cannot do to consult with your surgeon. In the hospital it’s very important to try to get up as early as possible, move the knee as early as possible, and start walking as early as possible. In most hospitals the physical therapists will work really hard at getting you out of bed and getting you walking immediately, and it’s very important to comply with those recommendations.  

It’s important to be sitting up in bed as opposed to laying down in bed. And it’s important to move the knee despite the pain. Early on it may be daunting and it may feel extremely painful to bend the knee in bed, so the easiest way to do it is to do what’s called the drop and dangle technique.  

So you sit up on a high bed, and you let the leg gently dangle and let gravity take it. You can rub your thigh muscles to make sure that they don’t spasm or that they don’t tighten up and gravity will do its work. And you can take your other leg and try to push it like backwards a little bit. Keep doing those exercises even when you’re at home and even between physical therapy sessions.  

After surgery it’s important to participate in physical therapy as quickly as possible and to work on your range of motion exercises all the time to get your range back as quickly as possible. Once you’ve gotten your range back as quickly as possible the pain becomes much less and you’ll be much happier and you’ll be able to participate in more intense training, such as exercise bike, which will really help your muscles and also help your range of motion.  

If you have any more questions don’t be afraid to consult with the staff who do the training sessions at the hospital, with your physician or with your physical therapists in the hospital and after discharge. 

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Presenter: Dr. Bassam Masri