Swimming after TKR

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I am 4 months post TKR and discharged from hydrotherapy last week. I love swimming and want to start again soon , my physio told me you can't do breast stroke after a TKR, if you do you have to flap your feet not do the frog style with your legs, is this true? I've never heard this before

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Natalie

    I had total knee resurfacing in September I can do breast stroke which I'm glad as it's the only stroke I can do lol......I was really gentle at first I must admit.... I'm not sure if resurfacing / replacement have different restrictions...

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  • Posted

    Natalie, i am five months post TKR and I have started back swimming but have found that some of the things I do cause my knee to hurt and was told by my PT folks that it is because I have fully developed back my leg strength so to go gently while I am working on the strength.  

    As for the breaststroke, I found this article which seems like good advice:

    The general advice is that you can start swimming around six weeks after a knee replacement but wait for 12 weeks after the operation before attempting breaststroke.

    Breaststroke relies heavily on flexible legs and knees to generate forward movement. The kick puts extra side-to-side stresses on your knees, but certainly doesn’t rule out this stroke after a knee replacement. Any imperfection in your technique increases the stress, so a couple of sessions with a swimming instructor might be a good idea.

    This answer was provided by Dr Tom Margham for the Spring 2015 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

    Send your questions for Dr Tom Margham to enquiries@arthritisresearchuk.org

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  • Posted

    Thank you for the replies
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  • Posted

    I'm so pleased you asked this question as I also had a total knee resurfacing just before Christmas and it was one of the things I planned to discus with my consultant on my final check up next month.  I do hope it is okay as I really don't fancy learning crawl and like to swim in the summer.

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    • Posted

      Hi Mary , have we spoken before? I asked my surgeon about this before I had my operation he said there was a difference in knee resurfacing that meant less restrictions and gave me confidence. I asked him after my operation also about breast stroke as swimming is an important part of my life as I enjoy it . He said yes go for it so I've been swimming from about 5 months after surgery. I go twice a week and swim 64 lengths ( 1 mile) I didn't do many lengths at first but that was mostly due to my energy levels being low.

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    • Posted

      Hi Pennypops,

      Yes we did speak last year before my operation. We discovered that we were having the same procedure by the same surgeon in the same hospital.  I messaged you back to suggest we might keep in touch throughout our recovery to compare notes - but perhaps you didn't get

      that message?

      Good to hear about your success with swimming.  I hope you are doing well in general.

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    • Posted

      Oh yes indeed...I thought I was having a problem with my recovery then found out my hip is bone on bone hense still having pain ...hip replacement booked for next month ! I'm hoping after that my left side will be pain free ...how are you doing ?

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  • Posted

    I’m three months post op and can only do breast stroke I’m up to 10 lenghths and lots of walking in the water.. I will be doing breast stroke 
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  • Posted

    Listen to the advice. Also, search the Forum for "breast stroke TKR".  I know there have been some threads about it over the past few years.  From what I remember, some docs say yes, some say no, some say wait "X" months, etc.  You even have some patients saying: "Screw it.  I'm doing it anyway."

    The key is listening to your knee.  If it hurts...stop.  Remember, your quads, glutes and core are all atrophied...they have to be rebuilt to support the knee else all the strain goes to the new joint.  Bad idea.  Personally, I believe water therapy is the absolute best thing you can do.  The breast stroke?  You might want to consider the muscle rebuild before doing that.  With a strong supporting musculature, you will probably have a better chance of pulling it off. 

    Here's the program...

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/post-tkr-exercising-565527

    Once your muscles are really strong again, then I'd give the breast stroke a shot.  Time, work and patience...those are your tools.  Four months is very soon to put any kind of unnecessary pressure on the new joint.  Comparable situation: After back fusion surgery, golfers are forbidden to swing a club for six months.  For the next six, very easy, light strokes.  After 1 year post-op, full activity.  Maybe use that example as a guide. 

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  • Posted

    I can do froggie legs post TKR....mostly I swim crawl but I have found it easy. I think just easy going and not too much would be fine.

    I am rather pleased I can do it. Before TKR for some odd reason I stopped being able to swim with froggie legs. The muscles in my leg lost all power!

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  • Posted

    I swim and it took a long Time to get back to frog kick. It's never going to frog kick like before but it is possible. 

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  • Posted

    I'm still waiting for long overdue hydrotherapy at 6months post LTKR so meanwhile took myself off to the local pool to try to get more flexible.

    I didn't know that you shouldn't do the breast stroke  but managed to do the leg movement underwater holding onto the side of the pool so thought it would be fine. I manged a few slow lengths but found I was not so able being lop sided but assumed I just needed time for muscle development. So ??

    This comes with a warning! I can get into the pool unaided but getting out I needed the hoist.

    Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Oh no poor you,was this because you did the breast stroke?
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  • Posted

    Unfortunately physios and consultants never seem to say the same thing. Seems to me you just do what you feel is right for you at any given time. Don't try to do too much or too quickly.  

    My NHS hydrotherapy has been put back another month due to pool closure so my local pool doing it my way is the way to go for me and I will try breast stroke and back and overarm plus excercises which are all easier in the water as non weight bearing.

     

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