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Knee replacement surgery

Knee replacement surgery is a life changing decision, especially for athletes. There are many factors to consider and questions to be answered. How much a titanium knee replacement weighs, recovery time for double knee replacement, the resulting range of motion, are all important considerations. Additionally, the duration of stiffness after total knee replacement and other long term complications of knee replacement are things to fully understand before an informed decision can be reached.

Knowing what to expect after surgery contributes to much more positive results during recovery. It is this positive mindset combined with realistic expectations that enables an athlete to have a quicker recovery and the possibility of returning to as many normal activities as possible.

Of the many questions that arise, one that occurs to and affects athletes more than the typical patient, is: “How much does a titanium knee replacement weigh?” While the good news is the entire prosthesis weighs less than a pound, it does weigh more than the natural bone and cartilage. Along with regaining the flexibility in the joint, strength training will be needed to increase the muscle strength beyond what was needed before surgery. The recovery time after knee replacement to achieve the desired results will be more intensive for a dedicated athlete.

Recovery time for a double knee replacement is different for well trained and motivated athletes. According to the Mayo clinic, three to six weeks of total rest is required before resuming normal, low impact activities. It can take as much as a month to regain the range of motion needed to drive a car. These limitations apply to the typical patient: over 65, mostly sedentary and experiencing arthritis in the joint. New advances in procedures and pain management techniques have allowed patients to climb stairs within a week of the knee replacement surgery. With the proper motivation, commitment to exercise, and a can-do attitude even better results can be obtained, according to researchers at Brown University.

Knee replacement range of motion is a major concern for anyone wishing to continue their athletic pursuits. The deciding factor is the patients own commitment to staying active and following the physical therapy routine laid out by their doctor. Recovery time for a knee replacement can take as little as 90 days and full range of motion in the knee can be achieved with regular stretching and strengthening exercises.

A limiting factor to the stretching and mobility is the duration of stiffness after total knee replacement surgery. In the first 3 -7 days there is very little mobility in the joint and the muscles will not regain their normal flexibility without consistent range of motion exercises. As noted previously, within 90 days full mobility can be achieved, but without continued attention, the muscles can stiffen up again. Long term care is vital to keeping the knee as healthy as possible and limiting the duration of stiffness after knee surgery.

An important question to ask the surgeon is: “What are the long term complications of knee replacement?” While this will vary from patient to patient and is influenced to a large degree by overall physical health, there are a few problems that may occur. Usually long term complications affect less than 5% of knee replacements according to Dr. Mervyn J. Cross the director of AIMS (The Australian Institute of Musculo-Skeletal Research) and Director of Orthopaedics for the 2000 Olympics. He lists post surgical infection, blood clots, loosening of the joint, Haemarthrosis which is bleeding within the joint, and nerve injury as some of the possibilities.

While there have been great advances in medical technology, a successful outcome is determined by the patient’s attitude and willingness to do the necessary therapy. Based on their experience, many doctors have somewhat low expectations for recovery and may not be very encouraging. It is up to the patient to find and follow an exercise program that has already shown proven results. Equally important is finding a trainer or mentor who has a positive attitude toward recovery from knee surgery and who can teach any athlete the same mindset. Believing it can be done and working with someone who has already achieved the desired results is the key to returning to normal activities and remaining free from pain.

Jerry Seaman is a two-time knee replacement patient and former state wrestling champion. He knows about knee replacements among athletes. At age 65, just 8 weeks after his second knee replacement surgery Jerry is able to squat 205lbs for 20 reps, stand and balance on a basketball, hang upside down on a bar 12 feet off the ground, and has a full 135 degrees of flexion in his knee. He has developed a complete recovery plan which includes exercises for flexibility and strengthening, a diet program to support weight loss and improved muscle tone, and his unique and powerful Success Mind-set program. It’s all available on one simple CD. Find it on his site

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