Can You Kneel Down After a Knee Replacement?

The short answer is Yes. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that kneeling after knee surgery is not harmful. It may, however, just feel uncomfortable. The newness of the knee joint, along with your hesitation, may not allow you to kneel comfortably.

Can You Kneel Down After a Knee Replacement

A study was conducted on the kneeling ability of patients after total knee arthroplasty. 68% of them could kneel without any training or difficulty.

27% could not kneel due to pain or discomfort. When the latter underwent rehabilitation and training, they could kneel without any problems.

It proves that almost everyone can kneel at some time after a knee replacement surgery, if not right after it. (Most Patients Can Kneel After Total Knee Arthroplasty. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30773356)

The Impact on Your Life if You Don’t Kneel!

In addition to pain, kneeling is the other reason that you might have sought knee replacement surgery. In the postoperative recovery phase, when reviewed for improvement initially, most patients may review kneeling poorly. However, over time and with more rehabilitation therapy, this gradually improves.

 

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Since kneeling is an essential day-to-day activity, unable to return to it immediately after surgery often gets disappointing for many people. This inability may impact you in the following ways:

Your Daily Routine

Inability to kneel may disrupt some of your daily activities of self and home care initially, so you may have to adapt to certain habits to work around your problems.

  • You may face a problem kneeling to clean or decorate – Use low-height stools or ottoman to sit and do the same.
  • It may be difficult to sit in a bathtub; Instead, use a shower.
  • Difficulty in kneeling to pick up things from the floor or to reach low cupboards – You can use modifications such as grabbers

If you still need assistance in your daily routine, you may have to take help from family or friends. You can also employ somebody as a caregiver.

To help improve your daily routine activities, you will have to religiously follow the rehabilitation protocol, as recommended by your orthopedic surgeon or physiotherapist.

With adequate rehabilitation therapy, you will be able to return to your daily routine functions soon.

 

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Your Work Routine

Knee replacement surgeries are increasingly being performed in people less than 65 years of age. Most of you may belong to this working-age group.

plumbing

Some of you may be doing jobs that require kneeling such as painting, carpentry, laying floorings, plumbing, roofing, decorating, cleaning, teaching young children, and so on. After knee replacement surgery, you might be unable to go back to your occupation immediately because of the inability to bend your knees.

Since occupational kneeling is necessary for many of you, being unable to get back to work may get a little demoralizing.

In such cases, if you are unable to get back to your livelihood for at least one year after the surgery, you may qualify for disability from Social Security financial aid once you fulfill the requisite criteria.

You will have to support your condition with necessary documents from your orthopedic surgeon. Subsequently, you can get back to your work once you have a go-ahead from your orthopedic surgeon. 

 

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Your Social Life

Though the prime reason for you to seek knee replacement may be related mostly to your daily activities and your occupation, still the need to participate in social activities is also a reason for many. Many of you who seek to involve yourself more in family and leisure events may have opted electively to get the surgery done. These events may be,

Your inability to kneel and hence, participate in such activities may lead to loneliness and feeling of isolation at times.

Be rest assured that feeling this way is perfectly normal. Once you recover over time and increase your range of knee functionality, you will get back to your complete spectrum of social activities soon enough.

Stability and Falls

Many of you over 60 years of age may be facing occasional fall and stability issues. You are not alone. One in three people over 60 years of age experience them.

These are minor events, and you can easily get up from them. Getting up after a fall requires you to bend your knees and take an intermediate position. Thus it is crucial after knee replacement surgery to attain stability while getting up.

Inability to kneel hampers this process of being able to get up yourself.

trying to stand up after fall

Hence, you may feel helpless and dependent on other people leading to low confidence. You may feel hesitant performing certain activities, especially outdoors.

Do not let this psychological stress get the better of you. This limitation will soon get over in a few days with the physical training of the knee joint.

 

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Is There Any “Safe” Way of Kneeling After Knee Replacement Surgery?

It is important to note that before you start to kneel, it is suggested that you take the necessary clearance from your care provider. Depending on your surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will be the best judge of your case.

That said, here are some tips on how to kneel without damaging your knee implant or putting undue pressure on your knee.

  • Do not kneel on your knee cap directly. Pressure should be on the stronger shin bone of your lower leg.
  • Don’t kneel on a hard surface.
  • You can take a thin rectangular foam piece for support. Place it just below your knee cap when kneeling so that the kneecap doesn’t touch the floor directly and the weight is on the foam and the shin bone.
  • Different kinds of knee pads are available in the market for wearing on the knee. These should be used only after consultation with your surgeon.

You may now be wondering if your choice of surgery or implant or any other clinical factors is hampering your kneeling ability. Let us shed some light on that as well.

Will the Type of Knee Implant or Other Surgical Factors Influence Kneeling?

Many studies done to study the same have mostly been inconclusive. More research is thus, required in this area.

Kneeling is considered a high flexion (bending) activity. Currently, there is no supporting evidence that states that any kind of clinical reason can be responsible for the patient not kneeling. Proper training and rehabilitation can help the patient to get back to kneeling.

 

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Summary

After knee replacement surgeries, people often expect miraculous outcomes. An active function such as kneeling may be difficult in the early days due to pain or lack of balance due to discomfort. But with adequate guidance, you can begin to kneel effectively soon enough.

As a rule, you must include kneeling in your rehabilitation training. The first step would be to recognize the reason for your hesitation in not kneeling. Next, discuss the same with your orthopedic surgeon or physiotherapist. A holistic approach of getting kneeling information before the surgery and rehabilitation guidance after it will be enough for you to feel confident while kneeling. All this just in a matter of a few days to a few weeks.

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, is an engineer by training. He also holds the degree of PGDCM from the prestigious IIM Calcutta. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents. He is a wellness aficionado and loves keeping and staying healthy.