Colorado is a hotbed for winter sports. If you lived an active lifestyle prior to undergoing knee replacement, you’re likely wondering whether you’ll be able to resume all your favorite activities following surgery. The good news is that many activities will be safe to participate in once you’ve fully recovered from knee replacement surgery. That being said, there may be some limitations placed on what you can do to avoid damage to your new prosthetic knee joint.
It’s important to exercise after knee replacement. Regular physical activity will help you stay fit and healthy. In addition, exercise will help your new prosthetic joint operate at optimal levels and decrease the risk of it loosening over time. This will lower the risk of injury and help prolong the lifespan of your new artificial knee joint.
While exercise is beneficial, there are certain considerations to keep in mind. In general, low impact activities are recommended over high impact activities since this will reduce the stress on your knew artificial knee. In addition, there are certain factors that may impact the types of activities you can resume after knee replacement:
Many outdoor winter activities will be safe to resume once you’ve fully recovered from knee replacement. While the following information is a general guideline, it’s important to understand that you should always follow your knee surgeon’s instructions regarding what is and isn’t safe to do for your specific case.
Skiing is a high impact activity that places a great deal of stress on your knees. Therefore, it’s not the most ideal post-knee replacement activity. However, there are some situations where skiing may be realistic after knee replacement.
In general, it’s not a good idea to take up skiing for the first time after knee replacement surgery. Similarly, beginner and low-level intermediate skiers will most likely not be cleared to return to the slopes. But if you’re an advanced skier, you should be able to get back on the mountain once you’ve fully recovered from surgery. Keep in mind there will be certain restrictions:
Snowshoeing is a low impact activity that provides a great cardio workout. If you’re looking to play in the snow, this may be an ideal activity to take up. Make sure to choose a snowshoe that has a rotating or floating binding to reduce foot fatigue. In addition, snowshoes made of lightweight aluminum are preferable since they will prevent you from carrying around unnecessary extra weight.
If you’re unable to get back to alpine skiing, cross country skis may be the best substitute. Just like snowshoeing, cross country skiing is a low impact activity that provides a great cardio workout. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the back country in solitude if you cross country ski away from the resorts.
Taking the kids (or grandkids) sledding is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your family after knee replacement. This is another low impact activity that shouldn’t place too much stress on your knee, provided you don’t take any unnecessary risks. Use a sled that is the proper size for your body and don’t go on any hills that are too steep.
Getting on a snowmobile is a great way to enjoy the back country after knee replacement. Keep in mind that snowmobiling is hard work, especially after a big storm. To minimize stress on your knee, avoid going out in extremely deep conditions that force you to use a great deal of torque to maneuver the snowmobile.
Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy a relaxing winter day outside. There will be virtually no stress on your knee, making it a very safe activity. If you’re lucky, you may even reel in a few big fish.
Channel your inner child and build a snowman in your yard. This is a great family friendly activity. You can build at a leisurely pace, allowing you to spend a few hours outside with the littles ones without placing too much stress on your knee.
If you’re not a huge outdoor enthusiast, you can still stay active during the winter. Since regular exercise is important after knee replacement, consider the following indoor activities to stay in shape while you wait for the warm weather to arrive in spring.
Swimming is one of the best ways to get exercise after knee replacement. It provides a full body, low impact cardio workout that won’t place any stress on your knee joint. If you’re not a big fan of swimming laps, you can also take an aquatic aerobics class. Many local gyms with pools will offer these classes, and they provide a great way to move your body and socialize with others.
Bicycling is a great low impact cardio workout. During the warmer weather, you can get on your bike and enjoy the fresh air outdoors. Winter days are often a bit too cold and snowy to ride outdoors, but you can still get a great workout on a stationary bike. You can easily use an exercise bike at your gym, but if you prefer to cycle in the comfort of your own home, you can always get a Peloton.
Running is a bit too high impact for people who have undergone knee replacement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a treadmill. You can get a great workout by power walking at a mild incline, and this will reduce the impact on your knee. For an even lower impact cardio workout, try using the elliptical machine.
If you’ve been considering knee replacement surgery to eliminate chronic pain, Colorado Advanced Orthopedics can help. Our board-certified, fellowship trained knee surgeons consistently deliver outcomes that exceed industry standards, helping CAO earn a reputation as one of the leading orthopedic surgery clinics on the Western Slope.
Dr. Borchard uses the latest techniques and most advanced technology, including the Mako Robotic-Arm Surgery System, to ensure a highly customized procedure that minimizes surgical risks. You’ll experience a variety of benefits from this approach, including shorter hospital stays, a smoother transition to post-operative physical therapy, and the ability to avoid spending time in an inpatient rehabilitation center. This will help you get back to your favorite activities as soon as possible.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Colorado Advanced Orthopedics serves patients in Meeker and throughout the Western Slope.
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