Can I still play sports after knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is a common treatment for people with chronic (long-term) knee pain. Having this surgery can give you a new lease on life but how far can you push that new knee? Here we take a look at sports and activities that you can do after you’ve recovered from knee replacement surgery.  

When can I resume playing sports?

Recovering from your surgery will take time, so set your expectations accordingly. There are several different types of knee replacement surgery, including partial knee replacement, total knee replacement and revision surgery, where you have a previous knee replacement redone. The type of surgery you have will make a difference to your recovery time. Whatever type of knee replacement you have, you will need to go through surgery rehabilitation, with physiotherapy exercises to help you recover. 

Which exercises are good after knee replacement surgery?

Recovery from knee replacement surgery usually takes three to six months and during this time you’ll gradually become more active. When you’ve recovered enough to think about exercising again, start with low-impact exercises to help strengthen your new knee without putting too much strain on it. 

Activities such as walking and swimming are ideal. They’ll build up strength while giving you a gentle aerobic workout. It’s important to increase your activity levels gradually and to stop if you feel any pain or notice any swelling. Other suitable low-impact exercises include cycling, particularly on a stationary bike where you can control the distance and difficulty, as well as gentle dancing and yoga — you will need to inform your dance or yoga instructor of your surgery and avoid certain movements that twist the knee.

Are there any sports that I can’t do after knee replacement surgery?

Everyone’s recovery is different but generally high-impact sports should be avoided after a knee replacement. High-impact activities involve movements that apply a considerable force to your joints and bones, such as running and jumping. Playing sports such as football, rugby and tennis are therefore not good for your new knee joint. 

Can I still work out at the gym?

If you’re a gym lover there are plenty of activities you can do when you’re ready to hit the gym again. In addition to stationary cycling, a cross trainer is a great alternative to running as your feet are supported and you move your legs in a circular motion, which avoids the impact of running on a flat surface. 

If you’re into strength training, lifting weights can be a good way to build up your knee strength. It’s a good idea to have a session with a physiotherapist or personal trainer before you start so they can help you plan a low resistance programme that will be good for your new knee. 

Social exercise

If you like to socialise while you exercise, try a round of golf, bowling, lawn bowls or a dance class. With all of these activities, make sure you warm up first, take care with your movements and don’t be afraid to make adjustments, such as using a lighter bowling ball.

Check with your doctor

If you’re not sure whether an activity will be good for your knee, talk to your physiotherapist or doctor. You will have follow-up appointments after your knee replacement surgery to check on your recovery, so this is an ideal time to ask about what activities are right for you. Staying active is an important part of your recovery and it will also help you to stay fit, maintain a healthy weight and support good mental health.

Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.


The 2020 Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences.Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing.He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.