Kneeling After Knee Replacement

Can you kneel after knee replacement surgery? This is a very common question and luckily there have been a lot of studies to find the answer. There is a wealth of research that you can find in this article to help you get the information you need.

Overview of the Problem

Most people get a knee replacement, because they want to reduce their pain and increase their activity levels. Kneeling is a common physical activity that often comes into question after surgery. Some people need to kneel for work, while others would like to pick up on forgotten hobbies like gardening, yoga, or basic day-to-day activities.

Conflicting Opinions

A lot of doctors don’t mind if their patients kneel and even encourage it because of the benefits that can come from the flexion of the knee and the resulting increased range of motion. Exercise can be very healthy for the knee and help with the overall recovery from surgery as well.

On the other hand, some doctors advise their patients not kneel anytime after their Total Knee Arthroplasty. No matter your health or individual circumstances, they do not want the risk of one of their patients getting hurt or the liability that comes with it.

This seems counterintuitive to many patients who are getting their knee(s) replaced so they can increase their activity levels, not decrease them. Let’s take a look at the facts.

Research and Studies

Study #1:

  • 75 Total Knee Replacement patients (with 100 prosthetic knees) were studied at least 6 months after their surgery. Patients are counted by how many prosthetic knees they have “knees patients.”
  • 32 knees patients stated they could kneel without significant discomfort.
  • 54 knees patients avoided kneeling because of uncertainties or recommendations from medical professionals.
  • 64 knees patients were actually able to kneel without discomfort.
  • Only 24 knees patients were unable to kneel because of actual discomfort. (the remaining 12 knees patients were unable to kneel because of problems not related to the knee)

Conclusion: The perceived fear of discomfort was actually much greater than any actual discomfort experienced during the tests. 1/3 of the knees patients who avoided kneeling because of perceived uncertainties were actually able to kneel without any discomfort. 

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11922363

Study #2

  • Data was collected from 253 knees before surgery, 1 year after surgery, and 2 years after surgery.
  • Surgeries included total knee replacement (TKR), unicompartmental knee replacement (UKR), and patellofemoral knee replacement (PFR), for osteoarthritis.
  • Patients were given a survey and a kneeling score based on the data.
  • Kneeling ability prior to surgery was poor in all 3 groups, where 80% found it extremely difficult or impossible to kneel.
  • Kneeling ability 2 years after surgery improved in all groups, with 20% having little to no difficulty kneeling.
  • Kneeling ability was best in UKR and worst in PFR.

Conclusion: Kneeling ability for osteoarthritic patients actually improves after knee arthroplasty surgery.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12787999

Study #3

  • 122 patients (38 TKR, 53 UKR, and 31 PFR) were objectively assessed.
  • Only 37% of patients thought they could kneel.
  • 81% were actually able to kneel.
  • Kneeling ability in men was better than in women.

Conclusion: Patients kneeling ability was significantly better than their perceived ability for all prosthesis types. 

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12897983

Conclusion

Knee replacement patients have a perceived fear of kneeling that does not realistically align with their actual ability to kneel. At some point, they have received information to not kneel (whether their own internal thoughts or from third party sources) which in many cases is withholding their actual ability to kneel. After assessing the research, it can be concluded that patients can in fact kneel after a knee arthroplasty. Furthermore, there is no data to represent any risk to a prothetic when kneeling, so any opinions against kneeling after surgery is unbacked by any real research.

Recommendation

Always wear a knee pad when kneeling in order to offer protection and additional comfort. There is only one knee pad recommended by doctors and has specific approval for Knee Replacement patients. The Total Comfort medical knee pad offers advanced memory foam cushioning with a dual density progressive resistance padding. It was designed alongside Orthopedic specialists and proven to offer superior protection to other foam or gel padding, with laboratory tests showing the results. Click on any of the underlined links to learn more.