Knee Replacement Surgery

Misconceptions Of The Role Of Sports And The Role Of Age In Total Knee Replacement Surgery

It is a “misconception” that doing a lot of sports as a young person will definitely lead to severe osteoarthritis of the knee. Many patients who have had a knee replacement have reported not being very “sporty” in their younger days.

Then why did I get such severe osteoarthritis in my knee? Patients may ask.

Some degree of familial tendency to developing severe osteoarthritis does exist. If parents of patients have had knee replacements or severe osteoarthritis of the knee in the past then the chances of developing severe osteoarthritis is more likely but by no means certain for some patients.

It is a “misconception” that if you are under a certain age you cannot have total knee replacement surgery.

Adults of any age can be considered for a total knee replacement, although most are carried out on people between the ages of 60 and 80.

Younger patients can have their total knee replacement surgery, provided the patient is adequately counselled on the surgery and fits all the correct criteria for this surgery. (Refer to my blog on “Who gets the best results from total knee replacement surgery”).

This group of younger patients have to be clearly warned that the artificial knee joint will not last for ever and may need replacing again. However my view is that most patients want to enjoy a quality of life now, not wait to be told to come back after 5 or 10 years for their surgery!

It is important also to counsel this younger group that by doing a total knee replacement procedure, the aim will be to get the pain in the knee better and to get back a better quality of life. The patient must not expect that it is done to get someone back to “extreme” sports only.

Many patients however are delighted with the results after a total knee replacement and are completely encouraged to get back to recreational sports and activities if they so wish.

The sports encouraged after total knee replacements are golf, swimming, gym work (especially upper body), doubles tennis and doubles badminton, skiing but not cross country skiing. Football and rugby refereeing and non-extreme running may also be done if the patient’s mental wellbeing demands this.

Heavy lifting, pounding activities and sports which are prone to falls and injuries on a regular basis are discouraged.

Elderly group of patients also enjoy getting back to bowls, dancing and gardening after their total knee replacement operation.

However I urge to explain to all patients that the primary reason for doing a total knee replacement procedure is getting the pain better in that knee.