Hip and Knee Repair
The knee is the most common site for joint replacements, accounting for more than half of the annual total. Hips also account for many joint replacements, but replacement joints of metal, plastic or ceramics have also been developed for elbows, shoulders, ankles and fingers.
Hip or Knee Repair? Protect Your New Joints
More people than ever are getting artificial hips and knees when arthritis causes pain and prevents daily activities. The surgery is generally successful in relieving arthritis pain and restoring mobility. But patients need to take steps to protect new joints.
Protecting replaced knees and hips is particularly important for younger patients, generally those in their 60s. Most joint replacements last about 20 or more years. But many younger patients want to be more active, which can cause greater wear and tear.
Take Care After Surgery
Following an initial six- to eight-week recovery period, patients usually return to most daily activities. While recovering, you’ll need to take any extra precautions your surgeon has advised. Also follow any specific instructions, including rehabilitation exercises, prescribed by your doctor or physical therapist.
Most people reduce athletic activity after a joint replacement, but we all need exercise to stay healthy. Once you’ve gotten your doctor’s OK to exercise again, keep these tips in mind:
- Walk as much as you like. For a more strenuous workout, add trekking poles to exercise your upper body, too.
- Water exercise and swimming are extra easy on joints. Swim with training fins for extra kick.
- Low-impact aerobics, dancing, bicycling on a level surface and golfing — with spikeless shoes and a golf cart — can help keep you in shape without overstressing joints.
Avoid Impact Activities
Doctors usually tell joint-replacement patients to avoid higher-impact activities such as running, tennis and racquetball. Other activities that should be avoided include jogging, skiing and sports that involve jumping, like volleyball. While those with hip replacement may lift weights, weight training is generally not recommended for knee-replacement patients. Talk with your doctor about your recommended weight limits.