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If knee surgery is in your future, you may wonder when you can start exercising after your procedure. Though the answer ultimately depends on the type of procedure you are having and how quickly you recovery, there are a few things you should know about being active after knee surgery.
1. You Will Usually Start Physical Therapy Within a Week After Your Procedure
If your doctor recommends that you attend physical therapy sessions, your appointments will start about a week after your procedure. Depending on your recovery, the physical therapist may come to your home or hospital room for your initial therapy sessions.
The goal of physical therapy is to build strength in your knee so that you can regain your mobility.
2. Most Light Exercise is Okay About Three Weeks After Your Surgery
If you have stitches that need to be removed, your doctor will take these out a couple weeks after your procedure. Most patients are then able to start light exercise within 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
Avoid exercise that involves bending your knee, as this is likely to cause discomfort. High-impact activities, such as basketball, jumping, and vigorous calisthenics, should also wait a few weeks. Instead, stick with walking, riding, and biking. Assuming that your wound has healed, you can also consider swimming or water aerobics.
3. It May Take 2 to 3 Months Before Your Doctor Approves More Vigorous Activities
At one of your follow-up appointments, your doctor will eventually clear you for more strenuous types of exercise, such as weight-lifting, basketball, and circuit training. Depending on your knee's prognosis, you may be advised to stay away from running and activities that require a lot of jumping, simply because they can be hard on your knee.
Ask your doctor which weight-bearing moves are permissible. For example, some doctors recommend that their patients avoid squats and lunges so soon after surgery, or you may be advised to stick with lighter weights for these moves.
4. A Knee Brace or Knee Wrap Can Help You Resume Your Exercise Sessions
After your surgery, you may find it more comfortable to wear a knee brace or knee wrap when you exercise. These devices help to stabilize the knee and support the joints so that movement is more comfortable. They can also help you avoid another injury to your knee.
See if your doctor has any recommendations concerning a supportive knee device. With so many options, your doctor may be able to recommend a model that is well-suited to your preferred activities and your specific knee problems.