After my total hip replacement surgery, I was amazed to find myself being able to use the ball machine in just four weeks. And now, I feel just about “totally whole.” But what do the experts say about playing tennis after total hip or knee replacements? You may be surprised …
National Institute of Health says …
“Lower extremity total joint arthroplasties are among the most successful operations in orthopaedics. Presently, it appears that some patients wish to not only have general functions restored, but also desire the opportunity to return or continue on a high level of activity.”
“Orthopaedic surgeons frequently recommend participation in low-impact sports such as swimming, walking, bicycling, bowling and golf. The patient’s return to these recreational activities appears to be without problems. In contrast, there has been a general consensus from surgeons to avoid high-impact sports such as tennis and jogging after total joint arthroplasty, but there have been numerous studies that reported functional results being compatible with these activity levels.
“Conflicts emerge with some studies that describe lower survival rates for hip and knee arthroplasty in patients participating in high-impact sports. Most of these studies report that participation in sporting activities following total joint arthroplasty refers to increased polyethylene wear and debris, which could eventually result in implant failure. With recent advances in implant technology and surgical technique, the survival rates for modern prosthetic designs and patients with these high demands are promising. Various studies assessing the association between clinical outcome and participation in tennis did not demonstrate a harmful effect on implant survival rates.
“Although the majority of these studies do not reflect a true representation of the average patient undergoing total joint arthroplasty, more surgeons are confronted with the patients’ desire to continue with sports activity. To optimise results, patients who demand higher levels of activity must be carefully selected, and must have the motivation and drive to optimise their results. In general, all patients should be encouraged to remain physically active to improve general health, maintain good bone quality, and improve implant fixation. There is still a need for prospective, randomised controlled studies concerning high activity and its impact on total joint arthroplasty.”
And from the Arthritis Foundation…
Doctors have long recommended that knee replacement patients avoid sports like football, soccer, aerobics, jogging, baseball and basketball because it was thought that high-impact activities might contribute to the early failure of artificial joints, leading to the need for a second surgery.
But a study suggests that those long-held assumptions could be wrong.
The study compared two groups of people with knee implants – those who ignored advice to take it easy on their new joints (called the sport group) and model patients who followed doctors’ orders to avoid high-impact activities (the control group).
Researchers found that after more than seven years there were no significant differences in wear or mechanical failure between the two groups.
The research was presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in New Orleans, La.
“We were a little bit surprised because we were not thinking that there would be absolutely no difference,” says lead author Sebastian Parratte, MD, PhD, an orthopaedic surgeon from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and the Aix-Marseille University, Center for Arthritis Surgery, Hospital Sainte-Marguerite in Marseille, France.
“Before, everybody was thinking if you go running or something like that it will kill the prosthetic and don’t do that. It’s forbidden,” Dr. Parratte says
Perhaps even more surprising is that researchers found that those who took part in the non-recommended sports actually showed higher knee and function scores than the control group.
“The big news is that everybody before was thinking that doing high-activity sports would be terrible for the prosthetic of the patient and what we discovered was it was not terrible and indeed the patients that did high-level activity sports were doing better than others,” Dr. Parratte says.
“There may be an increased risk, but it’s minimal,” he continues. “So patients have to decide if that’s worth it for them to lead a more active lifestyle.”
I am now coming up on two years with my new hip; and I feel like I am moving well, with no complications. What is YOUR experience?
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