The Risks Of Running After Knee Replacement
It is important to note that running on a replaced joint does carry some risk. Experts cant agree on how risky it is, exactly. But this article would not be complete without this disclaimer.
If an artificial knee becomes damaged or comes loose, it will have to be replaced. And secondary surgeries are often more complicated than the first surgery. They also have a lower success rate.
Knee replacement surgery always starts with a long conversation between patient and provider. The choice to run on an artificial knee is no different. Patients should always let their doctors know if they intend to run on a replaced knee. And the sooner, the better. This will set the tone for all future exchanges and ensure everyone is on the same page.
The doctor can also outline any risks specific to the patient. The patient should carefully consider these risks when making the decision to run.
Biomechanical Expectations During Rehabilitation
In order to avoid the pitfall of returning to running too soon, its imperative to establish checkpoints in the rehabilitation process to ensure forward progression and keep you on the right path.
A solid rehab protocol will address the issues listed above , but should also address changes in gait and loss of strength.
Some of your primary benchmarks for a safe, post-op gait include the following abilities:
Each of these foundational skill sets will help you achieve full functionality in the quadriceps muscles, which is imperative for recovery. Your quads are directly connected to the knee via the quadriceps tendon, and any deficiencies or compensations with the muscle can cause increased pressure and forces at the joint. So, its essential to develop sufficient muscle strength and full contraction before you begin a walking program .
As you progress through quadriceps reactivation and move into walking , its important to address the how in addition to the what and this is where biomechanics come in.
The patterns you teach your body during rehab will have a bearing on whether or not you can return to pain-free running. If the motions you train arent biomechanically sound, you open yourself up to future re-injury or pain with running.
And that leads us to one, huge consideration in training your knee for running
Fitness After Knee Replacement Surgery
So many of you have emailed with questions about your own knee issues after I shared my journey of running after knee surgery. Unfortunately some of you have questions I couldnt answer because you were undergoing a full or partial knee replacement.
I didnt want to leave you hanging, so I reached out to Robin, a former ultra marathoner, who has been on this journey for the last year and has some incredible insights.
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Add In Resistance Training
The old advice states that high-impact sports may cause knee replacement implants to come loose. Some doctors are now challenging that idea. They think that implants come loose as the bone around it becomes weaker. But there is a solution! Resistance training helps to increase bone density. And the best part is that athletes can start even before theyre ready to run. Athletes can focus on their arms, core, or uninjured leg using machines. Its a good idea to stick a trainer at first, especially during recovery. They can help athletes avoid injury
When A Knee Replacement Is Needed
Knee replacement surgery is usually necessary when the knee joint is worn or damaged so that your mobility is reduced and you are in pain even while resting.
The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is osteoarthritis. Other health conditions that cause knee damage include:
- knee deformity with pain and loss of cartilage
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Can I Jump Rope After A Total Knee Replacement
Just as with running and jogging, it depends.
I have been an avid CrossFit member for over 6 years now. In my class several members have undergone a total knee replacement.
Jump rope is a common part of CrossFit and other workout programs. When done properly and with the guidance of your surgeon or physical therapist, jump rope may be a great exercise after a total knee replacement.
Consider the variables below and talk to your physical therapist before jumping rope:
1.) Body size larger bodies are required to absorb more impact.
2.) Training history a person who has been using jump rope as a trainning stimulus will be far more likely to return to jump rope after surgery.
3.) Age, strength, and other factors in my clinic I have worked with individuals ranging in age from 28 to 82 who have received total knee replacements.
Stair Climbing And Descending
The ability to go up and down stairs requires both strength and flexibility. At first, you will need a handrail for support and will be able to go only one step at a time. Always lead up the stairs with your good knee and down the stairs with your operated knee. Remember, “up with the good” and “down with the bad.” You may want to have someone help you until you have regained most of your strength and mobility.
Stair climbing is an excellent strengthening and endurance activity. Do not try to climb steps higher than the standard height and always use a handrail for balance. As you become stronger and more mobile, you can begin to climb stairs foot over foot.
Stair climbing and descending using a crutch
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A Few Alternative Exercises I Prefer
I have been very active all of life and I continue to be active after knee replacement. I have been able to continue with some of my old activities but I have also found new activities that I can enjoy.
Until I was 55, I played softball and basketball on a regular basis. I still play catch now and then, shoot a few baskets, and make a trip to the batting cages but I no longer engage in competitive play.
Pickle-ball has taken the place of softball and basketball. I play doubles and the reflex reactions and cardio workout keep me fit and sharp.
I can choose to play recreationally or I can opt for more competitive games. Pickle-ball was a great way to meet new friends when I moved to a new area.
Occasional games of golf and ping-pong also help to fill the gap left by basketball and softball. Before knee replacement I walked, hiked, swam and cycled.
All four are enjoyable ways to get outside and build up the muscles in my legs and get some cardio benefit as well.
Swimming as become one of my favorite exercises because I am able to get a full body workout. Continue to work out 3 to 4 times in the gym .
Have your physical therapist develop a workout program for you once you complete formal physical therapy.
Does Running Lead To Knee Replacement
Is running bad for the knees and does it cause knee replacements? This belief is incorrect.
This is a long-standing misconception probably because injuries to the knees, shins and joints are quite common in runners. The theory says that running wears out the knees, erodes the protective cartilage in the kneecap and thus reduces the knees ability to cushion the blows and ultimately leads to arthritis.
However, the truth is that long-term running is probably good for your knees. Consider, for example, a Stanford University study. Scientists were interested in whether or not regular running on long distances causes more frequent occurrence of osteoarthritis in the knees. Over a period of 20 years, two groups of older runners were compared with a control group of non-runners of similar age. At the end of a 20-year study period, the researchers concluded that arthritis did not occur more frequently in runners than in non-runners. On the contrary, degenerative changes occurred faster in the knees of non-runners compared to the knees of runners.
Another study by Austrian scientists involved scanning the knees of a small group of dedicated marathoners in 1997 and then again in 2007. The result of the research is almost the same: the condition of the knees of no runner has deteriorated over the ten years that have elapsed between the two tests. In other words, running seems to have protected the runners knees from damage.
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Is Running Safe After Meniscus Surgery
If youre a runner, youve likely lived firsthand the unique bond that comes with running as a sport theres that unparalleled appreciation for hitting the road, finding your stride, and finding escape through running.
But to have that world suddenly interrupted by injury is shocking, to say the least.
To make matters even more difficult, if youve specifically endured a meniscus injury or surgery, youve likely been told to stop running altogether.
Not only has the initial injury sidelined you from training, but youre also directly discouraged from running again by medical professionals. And as you probably know, being told that you cant and shouldnt run again is equivalent to asking you to give up your passion and source of stress relief.
However, were here to tell you: unless there are concrete facts to justify why you may have to put an end to that running career, its entirely possible to ensure a safe return to running.
Our team is determined to help runners rehabilitate and get back to doing what they love the right way.
The Athletes Tendency To Put Off Medical Knee Assessment And Surgery
Knee operations are a terrifying thought for anyone, but to an athlete, theyre unthinkable. We just cant shake the fear that an op is only going to make things worse or completely obliterate our ability to run.
As such, its common for us to just wince through the pain, putting off medical assessment. I certainly did. In fact, for a long time, I didnt seek medical help because I simply thought nothing could be done, that this was my lot in life and that Id lost the genetic lottery. But the earlier you see a specialist, the better.
The longer you endure the pain in your knees, the more damage is being done, which will limit your options in terms of treatment. Remember, you dont have to agree to any surgery, but requesting a medical consultation is key, and until then, make sure youre running in supportive footwear.
Ive been using Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 running shoes. Obviously, they havent solved my issues, but they do a great job of reducing the burden of walking and running on my knees.
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How Active Can I Be After Joint Replacement
A combined 280,000 joint replacement surgeries were performed in 2016, according to the American Joint Replacement Registry. While the statistics for 2017 have not been released as of this article, the numbers are expected to increase continuing a trend that began in 2012.
As life expectancies continue to rise, more people will experience conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis that damages their joints. Consequently, more people will turn to surgeons to have artificial joints put in to relieve their painâpain that often keeps them from active lives.
Artificial joints are remarkably resilient, and itâs rare that a knee or hip replacement doesnât last a patient the rest of their life. But care has to be taken not to put undue stress on the artificial joint, as this can wear it out much more quickly.
This article provides a list of approved activities following joint replacement surgery. This article also contains activities that require precautions as well as activities to avoid.
How Do I Start Running After Knee Surgery
There are few studies on the impact of high-stress sports on artificial knees. And many of those studies no longer apply due to advances in materials and surgical techniques. This, unfortunately, means that there are also few studies on exercise after knee replacement. Most of the available advice comes from runners who underwent the procedure themselves.
People after knee replacement must consider this lack of evidence when deciding whether or not to run. The suggestions outlined below may help reduce the risk of injury. But running knee surgery , will always carry risk. Only the athlete can decide if the benefits are more important.
Follow this return to running program after knee surgery:
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Dick Beardsley 61 And Minus Two Knees Runs Faster Than You
The former pro has had two full knee replacements in the past decade. Neither slowed him downand they don’t have to slow you down, either.
Dick Beardsley is out in front again. More than 30 years ago, the now 61-year-old legendary runner podiumed at storied, high-profile marathons and qualified twice to run in the U.S. Olympic marathon trials. Today, defying both odds and naysayers, Beardsley still logs impressive milesdespite the fact that his left knee isnt what it once was.
Nor is his right.
Beardsley, who runs as many as 50 miles per week on two synthetic knees, is a testament to the notion that artificial parts neednt slow you down.
Everything is going good, says Beardsley, a chipper Minnesotan who delivers motivational speeches around the world and co-owns the Lake Bemidji Bed and Breakfast, about 200 miles north of Minneapolis. I love getting out there for an hour every morning.
But recovery time from the surgeries isnt the only hurdle facing joint-replacement vets. They often must override physician resistance.
The whole point of joint-replacement surgery is to get your patients out again.
After a joint replacement, most doctors will tell their patients to slow down, suggesting they replace their beloved runs with, say, mall walking. We get the cautiousness. Medicos still quote the old Hippocratic Oath, First, do no harm.
Under two hours, says Beardsley. I was pretty tickled.
Additional Factors To Consider However:
Past fitness levels and exercise history
Body size of the individual
Prior participation in the sport or activity
Bone health and tissue healing
Age of the individual
Psychosocial benefits of these activities
Risk of other health factors that may decline without performing this activity
* Recommendation: when possible, consult with your surgeon and rehabilitation team to determine what is the best solution for YOU based on the factors mentioned about. This is a complex question and requires extensive investigation into the benefits and possible risks associated with your activity.
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Can You Run With A Knee Replacement
Running is a good aerobic activity, but should you run after knee replacement surgery? Unlike other aerobic activities, running has a high impact on the body.
Running or jogging can cause strain and stress on your knee replacement. Most doctors, including my own, will say that running and jogging is possible after TKR, however they would not recommend either activity.
Joint replacement and the recovery process that follows is not easy, especially for weight bearing joints like the knee.
This article will look at the pros and cons of running and jogging after knee surgery and Ill share my experience with running and jogging.
What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to have knee replacement surgery
Reasons not to have knee replacement surgery
I want to be able to do low-impact activities, such as swimming and golf, as well as chores and housework.
My knee doesn’t really get in the way of the physical activities I like or need to do.
I have more bad days than good.
I have more good days than bad.
I’m not worried about the chance of needing another replacement surgery later in life.
I’m worried about needing another surgery later in life.
I’m ready and willing to do several weeks of physiotherapy after the surgery.
I don’t want, or I won’t be able, to have several weeks of physiotherapy.
I know that problems sometimes occur with surgery, but getting pain relief and getting back some use of my knee is worth the risk.
I’m very worried about problems from surgery.
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The Bottom Line About Running After Knee Replacement
Athletes should not rush into running after knee replacementor really, after any kind of surgery. They should weigh all the pros and cons to determine if its the right sport for them. Some athletes may find that running and elliptical machines are enough to keep them active. Both of these options put less strain on the joints. On the other hand, some athletes may find that nothing compares to the freedom of running. Ultimately they have to listen to their doctor and their body. Then choose the path thats right for them.
How I Returned To Running After Knee Surgery
Dont worry, youll run again, just be patient.
I cant count the number of times someone said this to me and I had to bite my very blunt tongue because honestly, I never once considered that I wouldnt run again.
It wasnt an option. Maybe thats because Id already spent 8 months of dancing around an injury leading up to surgery. Maybe its because Im stubborn. Maybe its because Im an optimist.
But for the recordmost injured runners dont want your platitudes. They make our endorphin starved brains a little angry. Not because we dont believe you have the best intentions, but because we arent really the kind to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, we want to TAKE ACTION!!! Take no prisoners, fight the good fight and all that jazz.Im now celebrating 9 1/2 weeks post knee surgery and to the amazement of many have been running since week 5 without pain. This week in fact, I hit 6 miles which felt pretty epic since 2 weeks ago 1.5 miles was pure bliss.
Going in to surgery I knew I would runI just didnt know when or what to expect.
Im sharing what worked for me in hopes that it helps calm someone elses nerves! The key here is to know that while I got up to running much faster than expected, I didnt do it against anyones orders! I wasnt taking chances or risking long term recovery for a couple uncomfortable trots.
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