Can You Kneel After a Knee Replacement?
Whether you can kneel after having a knee replaced will depend on the individual and their circumstances. Generally speaking, it is possible to kneel after an artificial knee is implanted, but it often requires time. In rare occasions, someone may never be able to fully kneel again. However, most patients can use rehabilitation to gain flexibility and kneel as if it were their natural knee. A knee prosthesis is required when the patient has advanced joint injuries or if they suffer from degenerative diseases such as arthritis. The knee replacement can help regain the movement lost due to these conditions, including kneeling.
At oneHOWTO, we ask can you kneel after knee replacement? We look at the possible limitations and what you need to best ensure you can kneel on a prosthetic knee.
Is it bad to kneel with a knee prosthesis?
There are various treatments for joint problems in the knee such as analgesics for pain management. Unfortunately, there is no curative treatment for a damaged tree. Once damage occurs, the joint, tendons and other tissue have very limited ability to repair themselves. For cases where the damage affects mobility and overall quality of life, a prosthetic knee replacement is a good option for many candidates.
There are different types of knee replacement prostheses which are made of various materials, although it is common for them to use a mixture of plastic and metal. During the surgery, the doctor removes damaged natural tissue and replaces it with the prothesis where the joint is located. Such an implant can allow the person to regain much of the function they have lost, as well as reduce issues such as discomfort and pain.
However, the implantation does not end with surgery. A period of rehabilitation will be required to allow the prosthesis user to adjust. The body will need to assimilate the prosthesis, a period of time which will depend on individual circumstances. Moreover, the user will have to learn to use the leg again with the prosthesis, something which can also take some time.
How much mobility is regained with the prothesis will depend on how well the user and their body adapts. In some cases, the prothesis can allow the user to have almost as much freedom as they had with their natural knee when it was healthy. In others, it is possible the knee will be stiff at times, but they can still move relatively freely. This includes the ability to kneel with the prosthetic knee.
It is very uncommon for a user not to be able to kneel at all, but it can happen. It will depend on the patient and the nature of the replacement. Some patients recover faster than others, especially when the prothesis is unicompartmental and not total.
During recovery, some patients report difficulty in performing various daily activities. This includes home cleaning tasks, fitness and even performing personal hygiene. Problems with kneeling down are particularly common. Even with the use of a cushion to protect the knee, mobility can be strained and movement uncomfortable.
Regarding work activities, if these include the practice of some of the specified tasks, the patient may not be able to perform them for a while. In fact, it is recommended to wait 3 to 6 months after implantation surgery to kneel with the knee prosthesis. In many cases, patients adapt the spaces in which they operate to make it easier for them to work without kneeling.
Difficulty moving with a knee prosthesis
There are certain activities which should be avoided after a knee prosthesis implantation, especially before the recovery process is complete. Kneeling on uneven surfaces is a particularly common issue. We will need to protect the knee to avoid physical trauma, as well as issues such as bacterial infection.
A common consideration with knee prosthesis patients is fear. Many patients are afraid they will damage the knee if they use it too much or overexert themselves. While it is healthy to be cautious, underusing the knee will not help recovery. In order to adjust to the knee replacement, patients need to move and extend the joint carefully. This will help it to assimilate into the body and allow the user to intuit their mobility level over time.
A lack of information or misinformation can cause users of knee prosthetics to be overly cautious. Some factors can hinder the recovery, such as poor management, improper rehabilitation techniques, type of prosthetic and individual variations. However, the knee prothesis is designed to be sturdy and act in the same way as a natural knee. In some cases, the prosthesis can make them stronger than before.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has commented that after the placement of the prosthesis, it is not bad to kneel. The components of the prosthesis cannot be worn out or damaged through kneeling carefully. Damage is only likely to occur with strenuous activities such as sport. In these cases, consultation with a traumatologist will be necessary to determine what level of movement is or is not appropriate.
With this in mind, there are very few activities that cannot be done when having a knee prosthesis. This includes kneeling with an artificial knee. The most modern prostheses are designed so that the person can perform normal movements, even with considerable flexion of the knee.
Learn more about the symptoms of worn knee cartilage to help determine whether you are a good candidate for knee replacement surgery.
How to care for a knee prosthesis
If you have had implantation of an artificial knee, the doctors and rehabilitators will explain what you can expect after successful replacement. This includes what you can expect in terms of recovery times and what activities you should stay away from. They will also provide some practical advice on how to care for your knee prosthesis, including the following:
- The use of dustpans and grabbers to lift objects from the ground.
- Sit on a stool when cleaning low areas of the home.
- Replace the bathtub with a shower.
- Do not attempt to kneel without prior authorization from the doctor.
- If you feel pain or discomfort, do not make any effort to kneel.
- Do exercises to strengthen the leg and gain balance, always following the instructions of the doctor.
- Ask your prosthesis provider or specialist if it is safe to kneel with your current prosthesis.
- When kneeling, it is advisable to use a bar or a chair as support until you feel safe.
- Avoid standing for long periods, such as when preparing food or washing dishes, as this could cause swelling.
- Try not to sit for too long with your lower back bent, as this could cause stiffness.
- Move as much as possible, under the doctor's instructions.
As can be deduced, having a knee prosthesis is not an impediment to continuing with a normal life. In fact, it is often the key to returning to normal activity. An artificial knee replacement exists to allow patients to perform tasks such as kneeling without pain and discomfort. Follow the doctor's advice and be consistent with rehabilitation exercises. If we experience any pain or other problems during recovery, we will need to consult our doctor.
Learn more about patellar mobility with our article on how to treat a hyperextended knee.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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1. Luo, T. D., & Hubbard, J. B. (2023). Arthroplasty Knee Unicompartmental. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.