Total knee replacement

AnneMargaret Member Posts: 5
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:07 in Living with arthritis

Hello this is my first post on the forum and am wondering if anyone else has the same experience? I am on the waiting list for 2 knee replacements as my surgeon has told me my knees are bone on bone. However, I only experience discomfort when I am walking but not in pain otherwise. I swim breaststroke for an hour most days and I have been informed that this will be uncomfortable for at least a year after surgery. This is my only swimming stroke so I am worried about going ahead with the operations. Any advice would be appreciated.




  • Poppyjane
    Poppyjane Moderator Posts: 748

    Welcome @AnneMargaret to the online community,

    You have been advised to have both knees replaced and you are concerned about whether you will be able to continue with swimming the breast stroke after the procedure. May I suggest that we look at your concerns in stages

    First, you swim everyday at the moment and this is obviously very beneficial to you. Secondly, the waiting lists are unfortunately very long and therefore you may have to wait for some months before your operation, so with your daily swimming regime you will be maintaining your muscle strength and stamina which will stand you in very good stead for your recuperation.Thirdly, after the wounds have healed and you are allowed back into the water you will be encouraged to try stretching and balance exercises and not actual swimming lengths for a while. Fourthly, the main fear of the surgeon is likely to be dislocation until all the muscles and tendons have fully recovered. Therefore booking some sessions with a hydrotherapy physiotherapist may help you assess your recovery and your ability to return to your favoured breaststroke.

    I attach some information and personal stories of swimming enthusiasts which I hope you will find interesting

    The community is here to support you with information, friendship and lots more, so do take time to browse round the discussions and join us .

    Do let us know what you decide about your knee replacement surgery.

    Take Care


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  • Thank you Poppyjane. Your comments and links to more information are very helpful.


  • Mini
    Mini Member Posts: 33

    Hi just read your post I have had both knees replaced & hip and waiting for my 3rd knee replacement on my left knee and have spinal stenosis & awaiting spinal fusion I was told not to swim because of my back & instead now walk the pool 4 x a week and do 20 laps some laps walking straight and use breast stroke with my arms or walk normal then some laps sideways doing jumping jacks bringing arms up & down then my last 2 laps I walk backwards just moving my hands & arms in water

    To be honest I thought at 1st it wouldn’t have same affect as swimming but in fact it’s made me stronger & my balance so much better u can also put 2 swimsuits on to hold you down more in water like anchor or but a swim weight belt there also good to wear

    I find after my knee replacements the water is excellent to realese the tightening of my muscles

  • Thank you Mini for your suggestions . I will try walking laps next time I am in the pool. Pleased to hear how much it has helped you. Always good to try something new. Keep up the good work and I hope your next knee replacement goes well.


  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85

    Hi @AnneMargaret

    It sounds like you are a strong swimmer so I wonder if you could teach yourself other strokes before surgery (or find someone who can)? The trick with any stroke is getting the body and head position right, and getting the breathing right. The easiest way to start front crawl is to get one of those floats you put between your thighs so you swim arm only. This forces your bottom up high and helps get the right overall body and head position. As with any stroke, breathe out when your head is underwater and in when your head surfaces. I think it’s easier to just use one side for breathing. Once you get confident with this you can try it without the float.

    I think it’s important to try to solve this because I don’t think you will be able to swim breast stroke immediately and if you are anything like me, you will be devastated if you can’t go swimming. I tore a medial ligament a few years ago and had several weeks of not being able to swim breast stroke. After surgery the safest form of swimming will be front crawl or backstroke, initially with the leg float.

  • Thank you Coddfish for your suggestions regarding trying front crawl and backstroke. I can actually swim backstroke but it aggravates my arthritic shoulder so had to give that up. I have tried swimming front crawl on numerous occasions but don’t like having my face in the water. I tried walking in the pool this morning doing the breaststroke arm movement at the same time and that was ok so that could be a solution until my knees have recovered and I can swim a modified version of breaststroke. I hope you are fully recovered from your injury and are enjoying swimming again. It was awful in lockdown when the pool was shut.

  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85

    Hi @AnneMargaret

    Quite understand backstroke (and crawl for that matter) would be tough on a problematic shoulder. I had assumed you were comfortable with your face in the water given how much you swim. It makes a huge difference to your body position on all strokes to do this. You will be able to get back to breaststroke more quickly and safely if you can crack it. Sorry for pushing it - I am a fairly serious regular swimmer.