How To Run After a Total Knee Replacement


Total knee replacement surgery consists of resurfacing the damaged and worn surfaces of your knee. The surgeon will remove these damaged surfaces and replace them with a manmade prosthetic of metal and plastic. The purpose is to correct leg deformities to relieve knee pain. According to the University of Washington School of Medicine, most total knee replacement patients are back to engaging in full activities in about three months after the operation. However it is advisable for patients to avoid some types of activity like jogging, running and other high impact sports. Excessive high impact activity or weight will accelerate the normal wear and of your knee replacement and cause it to to loosen and become painful. With appropriate activity modification, your knee replacement can last for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Well-supported running shoes
  • Elliptical machine
  • Water
  • Ice pack
  • Wear well-cushioned supportive running shoes. Protective footwear will help to reduce strain on your knees.

  • Warm up and do some gentle stretching exercises to prepare your muscles for the strain of running.

  • Start running on the elliptical machine. Start at a slow pace. Do not run on the treadmill or hard surfaces such as asphalt. Jogging or running is not recommended for total knee replacement surgery patients due to its high impact nature.
    The Georgetown University Hospital Healthcare Services recommends the elliptical machine because it simulates running without the high impact pressure on your knees and joints. You will need to ask your doctor whether your knees or prosthetic joint materials are able to take the impact even from the elliptical machine.

  • Hydrate yourself throughout your run. Keep running on a low intensity level until your doctor recommends otherwise. Stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

  • Cool off and gently stretch after each run. This will reduce muscle strain and help avoid injuries. Elevate and ice your knees as necessary to reduce any pain or swelling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not start running without the consent of your health care provider.
  • Always warm up and cool down after each run to avoid injuries.
  • Do not rush into exercising. Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to let your body adapt to the strain of physical activities.
  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons advises patients of total knee replacement surgery to avoid running and jogging because excessive strain may accelerate your knee replacement's wear and cause it to loosen and become painful.

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