If you have had or are going to have a knee replacement, then you have probably wondered about what kind of exercises and sports you will be able to do when you have recovered.

It is important to begin a knee replacement rehabilitation program as soon as possible after surgery. The faster your operated leg regains its strength and flexibility, the more likely you will be to see improvements in your independence and with activities of daily life.1

At 13 to 16 weeks after knee replacement surgery, it would be a good time to begin some endurance activities but there are some requirements before you start:

  1. You must have minimal to no pain in your knee.
  2. You must have minimal to no swelling in your knee.
  3. You must be able to bend and straighten your leg almost as well as your non-operated leg.
  4. You must be able to walk fast without walking aids (walker or cane) or limping.
  5. You must be able to walk for 20 minutes without experiencing pain or swelling.

Speak to your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercises, especially if you are not sure if you meet the five requirements listed above.

The charts below provide recommendations for patients following knee replacement 13-16 weeks after surgery. These charts have been adapted from a clinical commentary released by the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy in 2008. A clinical commentary is written by a group of clinical experts when there is no definitive answer provided by research. This means that there isn't a study that says "golf is safe after 16 weeks." So a group of experts decided this based on what they know and the research that is available.

Our physical therapist, Nirtal Shah, states: Some of these activities may be possible before 13 weeks such as stationary biking, others around 13 weeks such as swimming and some may take 8-12 months such as golf, skiing and doubles tennis. This is a guideline and should be used with the guidance of a health care provider.

It is important to remember that your recovery from surgery should be a slow and steady process. Doing your rehabilitation exercises every day will allow you to be more mobile as you recover and get you back to doing the activities you love! Also, you can find the link to our app for total knee replacement rehabilitation to help you return to the physical activity you love at the end of this blog.

Recommended Activities Following Total Knee Arthroplasty

1999 Knee Society Survey

Recommended Activities Activities Recommended With Previous Experience Activities Not Recommended No Conclusion
Aerobics (low impact) Bicycling (road) Racquetball Fencing
Square dancing Skiing (cross country) Football Downhill skiing
Bicycling (stationary) Canoeing Squash Rollerblading / inline skating
Walking Skiing (stationary) Gymnastics Weight lifting
Bowling Hiking Rock climbing
Golf Tennis (doubles) Lacrosse
Croquet Rowing Soccer
Ballroom dancing Speed walking Hockey
Jazz dancing Singles tennis
Shuffleboard Basketball
Swimming Volleyball
Horseback riding Jogging

Reference: Healy WL, Iorio R, Lemos MJ. Athletic activity after joint replacement. Am J Sports Med. 2001 May-Jun;29(3):377-88.

For more information about activities you can and can't do after a knee replacement, check out this blog. We've also written a blog specifically for running after a knee replacement, so if you are wondering "Can I run after my knee replacement?", check out this blog as well!

Curovate is a rehabilitation app designed for knee replacement, hip replacement, and ACL injury. With step-by-step videos, progress tracking, and the ability to measure your range of motion, Curovate lets you start your recovery at home to get back to the things you love!

If you need further customized assistance during your surgery or injury recovery, check out our Virtual Physical Therapy page to book your 1-on-1 video session with a physical therapist.

Get it on Google Play

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