when can I swim after total knee replacement

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My significant other is having a tkr on both knees this fall and he is wondering how soon after surgery can he swim? Also has anybody done Exercise or swimming before surgery and if so did it help?

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    He will know when he's ready, it took me about 4 months, I was told Not to do breast stroke, or should I say you should flap your feet not do the frog leg as it can dislocated the knee apparently.

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  • Posted

    It's the entry and exit to a pool if you must use metal steep steps that can cause injury. I swam at around 4 months post both knees replaced. I damaged my knee and ended up with an effusion. If you can enter and exit via concrete steps or a ramp it might save problems later. Ask you Ortho what they advise. Many of us try to be as fit as possible however because we need replacement exercise prior can be difficult. Pool walking post op in warm water, has helped me with recovery.

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  • Posted

    Anything you can do t o build your core values, muscle wise is of great value. The longer, stringier and more pliable the faster and easier I t is to heal. I've had 11 surgeries, 30 rounds of radiation and 5 complete rehab and I have to admit the last ones were much easier than the 1st. As far as a total exercise program, recuperating from tor is much different than most surgeries. Its two steps forward and one back.....up and down and sideways. Stay faithful t o the program and don't become discouraged. Everyone heals differently and both legs will probably react differently and that's to be expected. Your therapist becomes your master and the instructions will be explicit. Work smart and diligently. If you can look up Chico Marx on this site, read all the great tutorials he has written. I haven't seen a post from the man for several weeks so hope he hasn't been waylaid by another surgical attack. His advice is golden.

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    • Posted

      Maybe I'm the one that's been missing and no one has told me about it yet. Back surgery is coming along but picked up a serious UTI that has had me dragging. My son decided to hop the 1st plane this way to give me a hand as it was the same weekend I had to have my wife admitted to skilled care. I think she's adapting better than me. No fun in life when you are both supporting the medical profession. Glad you are still hanging in mending the I'll.

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  • Posted

    Any exercise before surgery helps.  Immersion of the incision in water is up to your doc.  I've heard 2 weeks to 8 weeks; my doc said six.  ALL therapy in water is beneficial...very beneficial.  Doing the PT ROM exercises in a therapy pool is GREAT.  Rebuilding the strength in the atrophied quads, glutes and core is great.  One caution...

    I've read from a whole bunch of swimmers on the Forum that the breaststroke is the only one that a lot of doctors say to avoid for at least six months...puts too much pressure on the knee.  Remember...this recovery takes a looooong time and it's a very gradual process.

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  • Posted

    I don't know about swimming after surgery since I don't swim. But exercising before surgery is a very good idea. My orthopedic surgeon ordered 6 weeks of exercise before my surgery because he wanted my knee to be as strong as it could be prior to my replacement. My PT agreed because if your knee is weak before surgery it will take that much longer for those muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves to recover afterward. Good luck...and remember this is a long process to full recovery. Don't get discouraged, we've all been there and made it through...even if there were times we didn't think we would and times we wished we hadn't had the replacement.  Hang in there.

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  • Posted

    I swam about 3 weeks after having both my knees done. It felt great it’s awesome exercise. You need to make sure that your wounds are completely healed before getting in the water. Can’t risk a chance of infection. 
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  • Posted

    I just checked I had them done on  June 5th and was in pool on the 27th so a little over 3 weeks
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  • Posted

    I started doing exercises and walking in the pool at 6 weeks buy could’ve gone sooner I was being lazy!

    Wound healed is key and as others have said a pool that has ‘roman’ steps or ramp type way in and out is essential - not those ladder steps ! 

    Then started gentle swimming 2 weeks later but still do a warm up of exercises and walking first and no breast strike legs. 

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  • Posted

    Colleen, I have been unable to go swimming until 11 weeks post TKR and although i enjoyed my time in the pool on FRIDAY 31st August i found that it was too easy to overdo the swimming, the problem being that during the time in the pool with relative warm water the swimming appears relatively easy with no pain on the knee at the time, however this is 4 days since my visit in the pool and i have been in quite a bit pain since Friday. sad  Lesson i have learned is initially to go easy with the number of lengths swam in the pool then wait for between 24 - 48 hours to see if there has been any knee reaction and depending on reaction either reduce / increase your swimming lengths accordingly. My surgeon has indicated that until my knee was stronger that i should stick to either backstroke or crawl as any frog leg type of swimming movement eg breast stroke puts a substantial stress on the knee. Although my knee is still hurting at the moment i just cannot wait to get back into the swimming pool because i found that going to the pool gave me such a positive physiological boost rather than just sitting around the house feeling sorry for myself sad
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    • Posted

      celticchick, Do you find much difference if you do not ice / elevate after going home? Reason that i am asking is that i have never "iced up" during post TKR, maybe i should start to" ice up", also do you "ice up" after carrying out your knee physio exercises, also how long do you apply the ice to your knee.  I thought that "icing up" was purely to go along with my GIN and TONIC cheesygrin cheesygrin

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  • Posted

    Hi I had both my knees replaced 8 weeks ago . You can swim as soon as you wounds are healed  but not the legs for  breaststroke at first . Need to find a pool that you don’t need to use ladders to get in/ out of it as he wil find that difficult until he has rebuilt strength in the muscles in his legs .

     If he is getting both TKR at the same time then I would recommend that  he does some exercises to build his upper body strength as you rely on that a lot in the initially  7 days to get out of bed etc . 

    There are also some recommended pre op exercises for your legs  as this will make recovery a bit easier . You can find by googling TKR pre -op exercises  or it may be that the Hospital runs a pre op joint school .

    Good Luck 

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