How Long After Knee Replacement Can I Kneel (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Varies according to the surgeon’s advice

Knee replacements make up for most of the orthopedic surgeries performed all over the world. It is also known as arthroplasty. The procedure is usually performed on patients who experience intense pain in the region that may be a result of bone and tissue damage or may be caused by chronic arthritis.

During the procedure, the damaged knee is removed by the orthopedic surgeon and replaced with an artificial joint. Although usually knee replacement surgeries are performed on aged people, they may also be needed on individuals who have injured the cartilage in between their knee and bone joints. Returning to normal after such a surgical procedure may take a long while.  

How Long After Knee Replacement Can I Kneel?

The ability to kneel is significantly affected post a knee replacement surgery. One’s capability to kneel on the newly operated knee varies on a case-by-case basis. It is also contingent on a number of variegated factors. However, it is also possible to ideate an average schema in terms of the patient regaining his/her ability to kneel after the procedure.

In studies conducted among post-knee replacement patients, it was noted that very few were able to regain full function of the knee. This was mainly in terms of kneeling on the operated joint. On average 20% to 30% of patients can kneel on their operated knee about 1 year after the surgery.

If the patient happens to be young and free from any major comorbidities or chronic arthritis, it is possible that with physical therapy, the patient may be able to kneel on the operated joint within a couple of years of the surgery.

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However, it is also cognizant from studies conducted on these patients that an overwhelming majority of them are unable to kneel on the operated joint ever. The statistical figures for this patient category stand at a whopping 70% to 80%. Similarly, the ability to kneel was further compromised for those patients who had undergone their second knee replacement surgery on the same joint in the last decade.

Moreover, the time period needed for a patient to recuperate after the surgery will depend on his or her overall health, the degree of success in the procedure, and a list of other important parameters. It is thus important to remember that one should not kneel without the surgeon’s approval.

In Summary:

Category of PatientsKneeling
Young patients without chronic arthritis1 to 2 years after the surgery
Old patients with arthritis or double knee replacementsNever

Why Do I Have To Wait So Long To Kneel After Knee Replacement?

It is important to understand that after a knee replacement surgery there are certain protocols that patients have to diligently adhere to. This includes refraining from placing excessive weight on the operation site. This norm is much too similar to any other surgical procedure conducted on the body.

Since knee replacement surgeries involve the scrapping of the damaged joint for an artificial one, it becomes difficult to put pressure on the affected knee. It is advisable to refrain from putting extra stress on the area. Excessive stress can inflame the knee and cause an infection to develop.

Moreover, after two knee replacement surgeries, the scar tissue developed around the joint becomes quite formidable, blocking a significant degree of movement- including kneeling. The range of motion in such patients vis-à-vis kneeling is severely compromised. Thus, as a result of this, they are generally unable to kneel.

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Studies also suggest that people are often afraid to put pressure on the operated knee because of the fragility of the area. Similarly, other research papers have suggested that some patients continue to feel pain in the affected area. This may be a result of something called phantom pain, a sensation that does not really exist but our neurons perceive its existence.

However, there are a few young patients who do recover completely and can kneel on their operated knee. This also takes a considerable amount of physical therapy and is possible only after a prolonged period of time. Therefore, the surgeon’s doctrine is the binding seal when a patient considers kneeling post a knee replacement procedure.

Conclusion

Every year there are thousands of knee replacement surgeries performed by trained professionals. Once a knee replacement surgery has been performed the patient can expect his or her movements to be limited to a certain extend.

The recovery period for each patient will be different. Thus, the time period for kneeling on the new knee will also be different for each patient. In a few cases, patients can use their knee within the first 2 years of the surgery. However, the majority of people who undergo knee replacements are unable to kneel on the operated joint. The advice of the surgeon must be followed when deciding on the most conducive time to kneel on the new knee.

References

  1. https://pubs.asahq.org/anesthesiology/article-abstract/91/1/8/37213
  2. https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/biomechanical/article-abstract/115/4B/575/399587