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The Key to Successful Total Knee Replacements: Staying Active and Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Medically reviewed by : Ryan T. Beck, M.D.| September 5, 2023

Total knee replacement is a common and effective surgical procedure for patients with end-stage knee osteoarthritis. While the procedure can significantly improve knee function and quality of life, some patients may not achieve the desired outcomes. Recent research highlights the importance of two critical factors that play a key role in the success of total knee replacements: staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. In this article, we delve into a recent study that sheds light on how these factors positively influence functional recovery following total knee replacement, providing essential insights for patients considering or undergoing the procedure.


The Study: Understanding Factors Affecting Functional Recovery


The comprehensive study conducted 20 separate studies involving 11,317 patients to explore factors that facilitate or hinder functional recovery after total knee replacement. The study identified 37 potential predictors of postoperative functional recovery at 12 months, with an emphasis on preoperative function, mental health, psychological distress, age, and body mass index (BMI).


The Findings: The Power of Staying Active and Maintaining a Healthy Weight


Among the factors studied, two stood out as significant contributors to successful functional recovery after total knee replacement:


  1. Preoperative Physical Function:


Patients with good preoperative physical function tend to experience improved functional outcomes after total knee replacement. This finding emphasizes the importance of staying active and engaged in exercises that maintain knee strength and flexibility before undergoing surgery. Engaging in low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling, can be beneficial for preserving knee function and overall mobility.


  1. Body Mass Index (BMI):


The study revealed a noteworthy correlation between preoperative BMI and postoperative functional recovery. Higher preoperative BMI was found to negatively impact physical function after total knee replacement. Carrying excess weight places added stress on the knee joint, which can hinder recovery and compromise the success of the procedure. For patients considering total knee replacement, maintaining a healthy weight before surgery can significantly enhance the likelihood of positive outcomes.


Implications for Patients: Empowering Proactive Measures


The insights provided by this study offer valuable guidance for patients. By understanding the significance of staying active and achieving a healthy weight we aim to empower individuals considering total knee replacement to take proactive measures to improve the chances of a successful recovery.


To increase the likihood of a successful total knee replacement, start your preparation now. Engage in low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, and gentle stretching to help maintain joint flexibility and reduce stiffness. Additionally, adopt a well-balanced diet and lifestyle that promotes weight management to significantly reduce the strain on the knee joint and enhance overall postoperative outcomes.

At the Orthopaedic Institute of Western Kentucky we are committed to providing comprehensive care and support to our patients throughout their total knee replacement journey. Our team of experienced professionals will work closely with you, providing personalized guidance and tailored treatment plans to optimize your outcomes. By staying proactive and making informed choices, you can pave the way for a successful total knee replacement and regain the mobility and freedom you deserve.