Can you do sports with a hip or knee prosthesis?

Neus Vives

16 September, 2015

If you wear a knee or hip prosthesis it does not mean that you can no longer exercise regularly. You only have to choose a sport that does not increase the wear of these joints and that involves a low joint impact.

Nowadays, replacements of the hip or knee joint have revolutionized the quality of life of many people suffering from pain or limitation of joint mobility. The evolution of the materials and the surgical technique has allowed more than 80% of the patients to have a very satisfactory daily physical activity.

The main risks that can be produced in the long term are the dislocation (especially in the hip prosthesis) and the wear of the materials that make up the prosthesis, which cause it to break down and may force it to change it.

Current research is aimed at minimizing the friction between the two surfaces of the prosthesis contact to reduce wear and prolong the duration of the prosthesis.

Do sport with prostheses
When it comes to practicing sports or physical activity, you need to consider some recommendations:

Sports activity may increase prosthetic wear or tear, but it depends on the type and intensity of the activity that is practiced.
The so-called high-impact sports are discouraged. For example: running, tennis, horse riding and all sports with balls or jumping. You can also add contact sports and risk activities.
Low-impact sports such as swimming, cycling, badminton, petanque, walking, etc., practiced recreation are the most advised.
It is necessary to look for wearing the appropriate footwear so that it does not suffer from slipping and that at the same time allows us to swing on the floor without forcing the joints.
When you restart the activity once the prosthesis is placed, you can lose speed for walking and for climbing and descending stairs, and you also lose a lot of muscle strength. Therefore, the beginning of the activity must be very progressive, making good readaptation to the sport and much better with the help of a physiotherapist. If there is any problem, consult with the doctor.
It is very important to maintain a controlled body weight, since overweight is an even more determining factor for premature wear of the prosthesis.
In conclusion, we must keep in mind that we always have to adapt physical activity and sport to our conditions and not vice versa.

the author

Neus Vives

Head of the Health Department of Claror Cartagena

Medical specialist in Physical Education and Sports Medicine (UB)

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