After Knee Replacement, Play On

From - March 8, 2018

After Knee Replacement, Play On

THURSDAY, March 8, 2018 -- Knee replacement patients can continue to enjoy sports -- such as skiing, tennis and dancing -- without worrying that high-impact activities might compromise their new joint, a small, new study finds.

The researchers tracked patients for between five and 15 years after knee replacement surgery, known as total knee arthroplasty. They found that sports participation had no significant impact on the longevity of artificial knees.

Historically, knee replacement patients are advised against high-impact activities to preserve the new joint.

"Patients were coming back for their annual review . . . and were participating in a range of 'prohibited' activities. There were patients competing in downhill skiing and tennis, but there was no wear, no dislocations, no loosening and no revisions," said study author Dr. Samuel Joseph. He's an orthopedic surgeon at Linacre Private Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

"Yes, there are patients running marathons and participating in triathlons after knee replacement surgery," he added.

More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The procedure replaces the natural joint with a prosthetic version made of metal and plastic. It's typically done because of severe arthritis, trauma or other joint damage.

Joseph and his colleagues identified 355 knee replacement patients who continued to participate in sports after surgery, more than 100 of whom did high-impact sports. Another 139 knee replacement patients in the study did not participate in regular sports.

In the sports group, three patients underwent further operations on the knee area, though none to modify the new joint. In the nonsports group, three patients underwent surgery to modify or replace their artificial knee because the joint loosened.

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