Are Winter Sports Okay After Joint Surgery

As winter rolls in, your outdoor sports routine will change. That means golfing will be replaced by skiing, swimming will be replaced by skating, and running gives way to snowboarding. If you've had a knee or joint replacement surgery recently, the shift from one sport to another may not be smooth.

Most orthopedic specialists don't recommend high-impact sports like snowboarding and skiing. They also advise patients to take precautions based on their unique conditions and health status before, during, and after the joint surgery.

Here are the most important things to note about participating in winter sports after joint replacement surgery.

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Factors That Affect Your Ability to Do Sports and Exercise

Doctors won't ask you to participate in particular sports after your joint surgery, but exercise is still essential for all patients. The following factors will play a vital role in your activity level.


How Old You Are

Your age determines how much time and energy you can put into sports. Unfortunately, as you grow older, the size of your bones and muscles begin to reduce. For women, this usually starts at menopause. The natural aging process can reduce your speed and the sharpness of your reflexes. As a result, your risk of having injuries like sprains, strains, and broken bones increases. Also, when you have an injury at 50 years and above, your recovery rate will be slower than that of younger patients.


The Joint Replaced

The next factor you must consider is the joint that doctors replaced. For instance, if you had knee replacement surgery, it will be a bad idea to play ice hockey. This sport is already linked with a lot of knee injuries.

Activity Level Before Surgery

How active were you before your knee replacement? Active people tend to recover from joint surgery quickly and return to their regular sports or exercise routine.

On the other hand, those who were not active before surgery find it more challenging to start regular exercise. For instance, if you were an active skier before surgery, you should be able to continue your sport with a few adjustments. You may choose to ski on groomed trails and avoid bumps, jumps, and uneven areas.

In contrast, if you were not involved in sports activities before the surgery, you will find it hard to become active after. You should have realistic expectations about sports and exercise before and after your joint surgery.

Even if you feel you can handle a high level of activity after recovering from joint surgery, you have to talk to your doctor. Get professional guidance and be cautious during any sport or exercise.

Application of Joint Recovery Products

To speed up your recovery rate after joint surgery, you can apply several topical lotions and products that will improve your muscles' strength and the flexibility of your joints.

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Winter Sports to Avoid

Indeed, you must avoid high-impact sports. Three of the most popular winter sports: skiing, ice skating, and snowboarding, are all classified as high-impact sports. If you get involved in any of these sports, you will have a high risk of wear and tear in your knee joint.

Orthopedic experts specifically tell patients recovering from hip replacement surgery to avoid skiing, football, or soccer.

Related: Skiing with a Torn ACL: Tips for Recovery

Recommended Sports After Knee Surgery

If you must avoid skiing and skating, which sport should you participate in? First, you must remember that it's essential to maintain a moderate physical activity level after your joint surgery. Regular exercise helps you stay healthy, and playing sports allows the bones at the knee joint to work together. Low-impact sports and exercises that build muscle at low risk are best for people who have had knee replacement surgery.


Benefits of Exercise After Knee Surgery

Recovery from surgery can last for weeks or months. To regain strength at your joint, you should continue doing exercises at home.

Regular exercise is beneficial because it:

  • Restores the normal range of movement to your joint
  • Strengthens your knee joint and adjoining muscles
  • Relieves pain and inflammation in your knee
  • Improves blood circulation and prevents dangerous blood clotting

Before you decide to engage in any sports, make sure you are consistent with your primary exercises. These exercises will improve the flexibility and mobility of your joints. You also want to ensure that you straighten and bend your joint as often as you can.

If you decide to add any new exercise routine, talk to your doctor or a qualified physiotherapist before starting.

The American Association of Orthopedic Surgery (AAOS) recommends low impact sports when you are recovering from knee or hip replacement surgery. These include sports like cycling, golf, and swimming. However, these are not always easy to do during the winter season.

Related: Golf for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

Here are some low impact activities for the winter season:


During the winter season, you may be better off taking a long walk with snowshoes. Snowshoeing helps you to increase your heart rate. It gives you the same aerobic benefits that you can get from hiking.

Snowshoeing is a low-impact activity because the snow acts as a cushion to your legs and absorbs a lot of shocks and bumps. That's why it's a good exercise for someone recovering from knee surgery. You can do your snowshoeing in different places, from mini urban parks to long forest trails.

Fat Biking

When it is snowy, you may not want to ride your usual bike outdoors. Instead, you can ride a fat bike. A fat bike is an off-road bicycle with thick oversized tires. The fat tires allow you to ride comfortably and safely on rugged terrain.

Taking Care of Your Knees for Faster Recovery

Doctors believe that the leading cause of joint replacement failure when there's no infection is the loosening of cement from the bone and worn-out plastic inserts. Most of the loosening results from the weakening of bones, especially when patients get older and reduce their activity level.

However, resistance exercise is the most effective way to increase bone mass. So, by increasing your cycling and snowshoeing, you strengthen the bones and prevent cement loosening.

Also, strength and resistance training builds muscle mass. When you have strong muscles, they absorb force during sports and reduce the pressure that passes through the joint.

Consult Your Doctor Before Exercise

When it is snowy, you may not want to ride your usual bike outdoors. Instead, you can ride a fat bike. A fat bike is an off-road bicycle with thick oversized tires. The fat tires allow you to ride comfortably and safely on rugged terrain.

As you workout after your joint replacement surgery, always bear in mind that you need to consult your doctor before taking up any sports. Also, using VIDYA products for joint and muscle recovery will improve your joints' performance during sports or exercise.

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