When you've had chronic knee pain, a knee replacement can give you a new lease on life, but hearing your knee replacement clicking might give you pause. Certain exercises will keep your knee functioning at its highest level and may quiet some of the noises.
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Always speak to your doctor before beginning a post-surgical exercise routine. For best results, perform knee replacement exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist.
According to the Mayo Clinic, knee replacements typically last more than 15 years. If you've had your knee replacement for a long time and suddenly develop clicking, see your doctor.
If your knee replacement is clicking, exercises might improve flexibility and ease of movement.
Read more: Bad Knees? Try These 14 Knee-Strengthening Exercises
Understand the Cause
Artificial knee joints are made from metal and plastic, so a crunching sound after knee replacement is most likely the components rubbing together whenever you move your knee.
You might also notice your knee replacement knee cap popping. According to an article published in March 2014 in the journal Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery, up to 18 percent of people have this symptom after knee replacement surgery.
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.
Take a Walk
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. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, once you are able to walk for more than 10 minutes without leaning heavily on your walker, you are likely ready to try a cane.
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.
Add Strengthening Exercises
In addition to aerobic exercises, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend that you do some exercises to strengthen your knee. Simple knee bends are easy to do without any special equipment.
- Hold on to the back of a chair or your walker.
- Lift your foot, bending the knee.
- Bring your heel as close to your buttocks as possible.
- Hold this pose for five seconds and lower your foot back to the floor.
- Repeat 10 times, working up to three sets in a row.
Read more: 12 Exercises That Are Safe to Do With Knee Pain
Progress With Caution
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.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.