What if you have a specific condition or a knee surgery that you feel limits your ability to do certain activities?
Weight Bearing Activities After Knee Surgery
I recently had a client visit me who was a very active runner. But arthroscopic knee surgery caused her to back off from her running and take on swimming and biking – activities she felt were easier on her joints.
These activities are great cardiovascular exercises. The problem is she is starting menopause and her bones are entering a period in which they will lose density and strength unless she incorporates weight bearing activities into her routine. She need not return to running, but she should consider supplementing her exercise program with either brisk walking or nordic walking.
I encourage Physical Therapists who treat clients after their knee surgery to take into account the bone and skeletal health of their client. You may be hesitant to give them an activity that could overwhelm their joint. But, over time, you should have a plan to introduce weight bearing activities that are appropriate for them and stimulate bone development.
MedBridge recently introduced a course on the dissection of the knee. The course was developed and delivered by Dr. Robert LaPrade, M.D., PhD – a complex knee surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado.
If you want a better understanding of the knee or you treat clients who have had surgery of the knee, this is an excellent course to add to your continuing education.
Health Professionals: Building Better Bones Online Course
Learn the Prevention, Treatment and Management of Osteoporosis.
MelioGuide Building Better Bone Online Course for Health Professionals
Women and Men: Exercise for Better Bones Program
Osteoporosis exercise program that strengthens bone, reduces fracture risk, improves balance and builds confidence.
MelioGuide Exercise for Better Bones Program for Women and Men
Video and Transcript
Transcript – Scroll Bar is on the Right Hand Side
Hi, I’m Margaret Martin from MelioGuide, and today’s blog is going to be covering the challenges we have when we’re looking at optimizing our weight bearing, and that comes into play with our cardiovascular recommendations that are on the MelioGuide site.So I would like to bring up a client who I had this week who came to see me. Early post-menopausal, two years ago she had had a bone density test, and it was telling her that she was osteopenic. So she wasn’t too concerned. Unfortunately, she had another repeat bone mineral density test, so we’re looking two and a half years later, and it had gone down significantly, which is one of the reasons for her visit to me.Now, in looking at her history over the last two and a half years, she had been a runner, and she was very active in her sport that she loved to do. But she had a slight injury, and she had some arthroscopic surgery and made a decision at the time that she was going to be kinder on her knees and start swimming and biking instead.
She didn’t realize the impact that this was going to have, however, on the integrity of the density and strength of her hip bones. And so having gone from always being a runner and loading down into weight bearing to being involved in non-weight bear activities, good choice for her heart, good choice for her weight management, but not a great choice for her bones.
Here she is entering menopause, the time that we know you’re losing a lot of bone because of estrogen decreasing, and she’s also offloading or choosing cardiovascular exercises that are not stimulating bone building in the hip especially. So the consultation with her was that her choices for going into biking and swimming were great choices in terms of knee health, but she needs to go back to supplement her walking or her running that she had been doing. So, a choice that she has, she doesn’t have to go back to running, because we know that brisk walking will have just as much benefit.
She could also, if she’s having difficulty, and some of my clients who might be carrying more weight or their ligaments have damage, there’s a little bit more of a concern, they could be using Nordic poles or urban poles for walking, because that helps offset the weight on the knee joints but still allowing as much optimal loading through the pounding that occurs with each step.
So, as therapists, we’re always challenged to find the best bone loading with the most joint preserving activity possible. So, as a therapist, if you are having to brush up on your knee anatomy, I would recommend a course that’s just come up through MedBridge. It’s something you might want to consider.
But certainly when you’re interviewing your clients and you’re looking at the pathology of a particular joint, I encourage you to think past the joint and look at, what is the bone health and the skeletal health going to be like in six months, a year, two years based on your recommendations? Because your recommendations might be really solid for right now, but just encourage them to be thinking about that transitioning back to more loading.
So that’s all for MelioGuide today. Thanks for tuning in.
Margaret Martin is a Physical Therapist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience helping clients achieve their health and fitness goals.
She treats clients with low bone density at her clinic and teaches fellow Health Professionals how to treat osteoporosis.
Margaret is the recipient of the 2011 Award of Distinction from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario for her significant contributions and achievements as a Physiotherapist.