MOST patients undergoing knee surgery want to know when they’ll be able to return to a pain-free, active lifestyle and do the things they once enjoyed before knee pain took over.
Three months after surgery, most people have completely recovered and are able to return to many activities that were too painful or difficult previously. Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, the safest way to restart activity after knee surgery is to find activities that avoid placing unnecessary stress on the now-repaired or even replaced joint. Here are three activities to help you move safely after knee surgery:
- Walk (don’t run!). Experts say walking outside your home three to five times each day is one of the best ways to regain your knee strength. While you may need to adjust the length of your step and speed, you will be able to spend more time walking for exercise once your muscle strength improves.
- Dance. While you should avoid high-impact moves like jumping or lifts, ballroom dancing and gentle modern dancing are great ways to use leg muscles, engage in aerobic activity and have fun! Just be sure to avoid abrupt movements or twists that could potentially put your knee out of alignment.
- Swim. Once the wound has healed, many people choose swimming as their exercise of choice as it’s not a weight-bearing activity and therefore reduces stress to the joints. If your knee is still a bit tender, opt for water aerobics or pool walking.
Want to mix it up? You can feel safe doing many other recommended activities such as yoga, golf, bowls, aerobics or sailing. If you have experience prior to your surgery doing more intense activities, your doctor may give you the go-ahead to resume them.
Whichever activity you choose, remember that rushing into activities before you’ve recovered sufficiently may put you at risk for complications, so be sure to check with your doctor first before resuming any activity after knee surgery.