What Activities Can I Do After Joint Replacement?

Published by Scott Gelman on

“Doc, will I be able to golf after I get my hip replaced?”

“Well, can you golf now?”

This is a common joke among patients and surgeons. Of course, hip and knee replacement does not provide super-power athletic abilities, but it is important to consider what the appropriate expectations are for returning to activities.

Older patients are more active than in the past and we are doing joint replacement on younger patients too – So what can you do and not do after joint replacement?

In general, the healthier you are and the more you participate in higher impact activities before surgery, the better chance you will be able to after surgery as well. The greater the impact on your joint replacement, the higher risk there is that it may wear out earlier – just as tires wear out faster on race cars and off-roading vehicles.

Low Impact Activities: Swimming, bowling, stationary biking, dancing and rowing

  • These are always allowed and have been shown to be safe and not impair outcomes of hip or knee replacement
  • Typical time frame: 1-3 months

Intermediate Impact Activities: Downhill and cross-country skiing, weightlifting, ice skating, pilates, cycling, doubles tennis, golfing

  • Typical recommendations are that it is acceptable to return to these activities if previous experience prior to joint replacement
  • Typical time frame: 3-6 months

High Impact Activities: Raquetball, jogging, contact sports, aerobics, baseball and snowboarding

  • These activities are not encouraged, but can be attempted if previous experience and specific discussion with patient’s surgeon regarding potential risks
  • Typical time frame: At least 6 months

Dr. Scott Gelman is a Frederick Health Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in knee, shoulder and hip replacement. He has a special interest in rapid recovery and advanced pain control, anterior hip replacement and total knee replacement as well as complex revisions of failed hip and knee replacement. He believes in an individualized, patient centered approach that focuses on returning each patient to their maximum function.

He lives in Middletown, MD with his wife and three small children where they love to go on family hikes and spend time with family and friends.

Categories: General