Total Knee Replacement: Follow up, Rehabilitation and Sports with Prosthesis
The day after the operation, the knee joint is gently mobilized by means of a continuous passive motion device (CPM). On the second day, intensive physiotherapy begins. The patient is taught to walk with forearm crutches, this means that on leaving hospital (after seven to ten days), he should be able to climb stairs.
Immediately after hospitalization, a three- to four-week rehabilitation program takes place, either as an outpatient or in a rehabilitation centre.
What can you do to make a knee replacement last longer?
- Make sure that you continue your daily physical exercises after leaving the rehab centre.
- Wear flat shoes with soft soles and, if necessary, with damping heels.
- If you suffer from infected wounds (on any part of your body) make sure that you inform your doctor about the implant and take antibiotics
- Avoid kneeling
- Avoid lifting and carrying heavy loads
- Avoid hard physical work
- Participate only in sports that are gentle on the joints (such as swimming, gymnastics or cycling).
- Avoid contact sports and risky sports such as football, tennis, jogging or horse riding.
A perfect fit for a knee replacement prosthesis
In recent years the implant designs have considerably improved, and the product range has been enlarged. It is now possible to adapt the implants individually to suit the specific needs of the patient and to preserve the non-defective parts of the knee joint. For example, different prostheses are available for men and women, and it is even possible to have an implant custom-made.
The aim of knee replacement surgery is the preservation of the body's own tissue structure, through the use of the smallest possible implant.
Knee replacement and sports
In general, participating in sports is desirable and a helpful part of the recovery process. However, after a replacement operation, it is important to be aware of one's physical boundaries and not to attempt too much too soon. It is necessary to balance the pros and cons (improving your physical condition, encouraging blood flow and coordination skills, against the risk of injuries). Therefore, sports with a high risk of falling and injury, such as contact sports, should be avoided. The load intensity acting on the knee joints is another necessary criterion for choosing the right type of sport.
In general, sports such as Nordic walking, swimming, rowing, golfing, cross-country skiing, gymnastics, yoga, hiking and cycling are recommended. Moderate strength training is also appropriate.
When it comes to horse riding, jogging, downhill skiing, tennis and badminton, it very much depends on how intensively they are done and if the sportsman is prepared to take risks.
Inappropriate sports include all martial arts, rugby, hockey and contact sport, such as football, basketball, handball and volleyball. As a rule, patients should participate in sports in a reasonable manner and be conscious of their limitations. Sensible precautions should involve wearing knee bandages and warming up with stretches before beginning to exercise. Patients should also be careful to avoid unnecessary risks and overstraining.