To Wait or Not to Wait?

Sports After Total Joint Replacement

Arthritic knees, frozen hips and pain or limited mobility can throw the serious athlete into a panic. The internal struggle over whether to put off a total joint replacement (arthroplasty) or plunge into the “unknown” of having the replacement done sooner rather than later can be a challenge.

In the past, athletes were often advised to wait as long as possible – which could lead to inactivity, stiffness and weight gain. But, that’s changed.

New components and surgical techniques now provide more flexibility and last longer than in the past. We now recommend joint replacement earlier rather than waiting. Our goal is to return patients to their previous level of activity and sport participation.

Golf, tennis, hiking, power walking, cycling, skiing (water and snow), and even yoga are possible after surgery. Contact sports (football, wrestling) and high impact recreation (running, soccer, basketball) are generally discouraged. In fact, most patients are able to start activities that they haven’t been able to perform in years. Although today’s generation of joint replacements have greater life spans, limiting the pounding across your hip or knee will allow the new joint to last as long as possible.

In summary, if the internal debate about having a joint replacement now or later is raging within you, reframe the question. It isn’t, “What can’t I do after my joint replacement?” but, “What is my pain keeping me from doing?”

Learn about joint replacement options.