When you've suffered from chronic knee pain, a knee replacement can give you a new lease on life, but hearing clicking noises coming from the joint may give you pause. Certain exercises will keep your knee functioning at its highest level and may quiet some of the noises. Always speak to your doctor before beginning a postsurgical exercise routine.
Causes of Sounds
It's not uncommon to hear some noises in your knee replacement, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Artificial knee joints are made from metal and plastic, so you are likely simply hearing the components rubbing together whenever you bend your knee. Exercising may not get rid of the sounds for good, but since they often go away in time, working the joint may help speed the process. As long as the sounds aren't accompanied by pain, your knee replacement is probably functioning just fine. Stop all exercise and call your doctor if you feel any pain in the region.
Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise
Exercises that you enjoyed before surgery can be beneficial for your new knee as well as for your overall health. Walking is one of the simplest ways to stretch your knee, strengthen your leg and ease back into exercising. Use a walker at first, then move on to using a cane. Walk around the block slowly, leaving the cane at home once you feel steady enough to walk without it. Walking up and down a staircase or using a stationary exercise bike may also help. Swimming is also a beneficial exercise for your knees, and when you're in the water, you won't be able to hear any sound coming from the joint. Avoid high-impact exercise that puts stress on your knees, such as running, gymnastics and contact sports like football.
In addition to aerobic exercises, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend that you do some stretches to strengthen your knee. Simple knee bends are easy to do without any special equipment. Hold onto the back of a chair or your walker and lift your foot, bending the knee. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and lower your foot back to the floor. Once you're stronger, add resistance to this exercise by tying a light ankle weight around your ankle.
When to Start Exercising
As your doctor should explain, you can't begin training for a marathon a week after surgery. Be careful to wait the correct length of time before beginning exercises in order to give your knee time to heal after surgery. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends waiting at least four to six weeks after surgery to begin doing resistance exercises. At this time you should also be clear to start doing most low-impact exercises like walking. Wait until after your six-week checkup to go swimming.
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- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Total Knee Replacement Exercise Guide
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Total Knee Replacement
- Drdauphine.com: Knee Replacement Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Knee Replacement
- The Knee Society: Total Knee Replacement