The number of people having knees replaced is rising rapidly. Why? A couple of reasons: more people are active in sports and athletics throughout their life which can contribute to wear and tear on the joints and lead to an abnormality in the joint and pain As a society, North Americans are getting heavier and the extra weight is a major cause of wear and tear on the knee joint.
Research conducted on clinic patients waiting to have knee replacement and were required to participate in a supervised strengthening, cardio and stretching program found that after several months of conditioning almost half of the patients no longer needed surgery! The joints are protected and stabilized by muscle tissue. If the muscle tissue fades away the joint itself takes on more stress and shock absorption. This can leads to increased wear and tear and inflammation. By performing resistance exercises the joint can be stabilized and the exercises themselves increases the lubrication in the joints.
If an operation is inevitable it is recommended to perform pre-habilitation exercises to prepare the body for the stress of surgery, and to speed recovery. Surgery is then followed by 8-10 weeks of physiotherapy and then ongoing maintenance exercises. Knee surgery is an option after people have reduced their weight, improved their strength and then have the knee re-evaluated to see if surgery is needed. If a person does not do the pre-habiliation exercises, continues to carry too much weight and does not do a post-surgery fitness program the net result will be a less than satisfactory result and a replacement joint that will not function as well as hoped.