Since my new hip replacement, I've become much more interested in exercise. I have no pain and feel like I could tackle some fun activities. I remember the surgeon telling me to avoid certain activities like jogging or tennis. How about horseback riding or cross-country skiing? I used to do those when I was younger. I wouldn't mind trying them again now.
In a recently published review of athletic activity after joint replacement, experts in the field tried to give patients and surgeons an idea what is safe and appropriate athletic activity after total joint replacement. They base their comments on information taken from several studies published on athletic activity after hip and knee replacements. They also used surveys of surgeons collected by the Hip and Knee Society.
In general, it looks like there is agreement that patients with total joint replacements CAN participate in demanding sports. Some of the high-demand sports patients were involved in included tennis, jogging, downhill skiing, racquetball or squash, and basketball. But it's not clear whether or not it is wise to do so. Most surgeons advise avoiding these activities because of the high-impact loading and twisting motions required.
Other activities such as bowling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing (even downhill skiing), or weight lifting are allowed but with certain precautions. Patients must have some prior experience with these activities. They should be aware of the risks associated with each activity. Training is a must.
At least six to eight weeks of back, hip, and knee rehab along with core strength training is advised. This can protect the joint, prevent injury, and reduce your risk of implant failure from wear or loosening.
If you choose your sport carefully, understand the risks, train to protect, then there's no reason why you can't engage in those activities and have fun!
William L. Healy, MD, et al. Current Concepts Review. Athletic Activity After Total Joint Arthroplasty. In The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. October 2008. Vol. 90-A. No. 10. Pp. 2245-2252.
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