Expert Tips to Start Cycling Again after Undergoing Knee Replacement Surgery
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We want to share a small story of a customer who grew up playing high-impact sports like football, sprints, and basketball. Unfortunately, he experienced several minor joint injuries that continued to trouble him as he became more competitive.
With time, he had to undergo about 3 knee surgeries and 1 rotator cuff shoulder surgery and give up on sports after gaining an enormous weight. Things become harder after he underwent a total knee replacement 3 years ago.
His physical therapist advised him to do cycling and a specific exercise routine to get the mobility back into the knee and strengthen the muscles. After 2 months of cycling, he says his knees feel fantastic and is extremely happy to find a new hobby.
Cycling has saved the lives of many people. This story is the answer to your obvious question: Can I still ride a bike after the surgery?
The fact is that riding a bike is an excellent form of exercise even after a knee replacement surgery. People with e-bikes are even more advantageous as it allows you to control the amount of stress placed on your knees.
Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Surgery is performed to treat the stiffness and loss of mobility caused due to severe arthritis or a severe knee injury. The surgery is excruciating, but physical therapy can improve your strength and range of motion (ROM).
Disclaimer: Make sure you consult with your doctor or therapist if it’s right for you to cycle given your current condition. Overall, biking is a great exercise for patients who underwent total knee replacement surgery.
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Let’s get started.
The first couple of weeks, your physical therapist will ask you to ride a stationary bicycle to attain muscle tone and keep your knee flexible. After this, you will be asked to ride a bike gradually to prevent swelling. The aim is to reach a full passive ROM. When you start riding a bike, you need to focus on achieving the maximum degree of bending and straightening your knee without putting much stress on it.
You can't afford to ignore the following pointers:
1. Always check the seat height
– To set the perfect seat height, sit on the bike with your (operated) knee touching the ground. You need to make sure that your knee bends slightly when the pedal is at the lowest point.
2. Start by pedalling in reverse
– Start by slowly pedalling in reverse until your (operated) knee bends as much as possible.
3. Start gradually
– Try to hold the possible when the knee is bent as far as possible before you continue to pedal in reverse. Be gentle and work to straighten your knee before you start pedalling backward.
4. Continue backward pedalling
– Repeat backward pedalling for a few minutes until you feel comfortable doing the same. Later, shift to forward motion.
This is the best way to improve your knee's ROM quickly and take a full circle on your bike.
Pro tip: Every person must bend about 90 degrees to pedal around the bicycle fully.
We are here to help you with a few recovery tips before you start cycling.
1. Work on passive ROM
After undergoing knee replacement surgery, the main aim is to reduce the swelling and target to achieve full ROM. Every patient has to work on getting their entire back in motion, post-surgery. Be prepared to work hard for fast recovery.
2. Become active
You need to be quick in starting your physical therapy. It's usually within 24 hours after the surgery where the therapist will help you walk, sit, and stand. In the early stages of your physical therapy, a certain level of stiffness, pain, and other discomfort is evident. Thus, follow your therapist's advice and stay active to get back into your normal life. Amego electric vehicle offers best-in-class electric bicycles in Canada.
3. Start with a stationary bike
As a matter of fact, the ROM is a critical part of your recovery plan. Start using a stationary bike to boost your ROM until you get back on riding your bike. Don't start things on your own; ask your therapist first even before you adapt to cycling.
Your seat height should be set up correctly for better recovery. As said earlier, your knee should bend a little when you place it on the ground or the pedal. Start cycling slowly, both forward and backward, for a few minutes as suggested by your doctor. Do it regularly until your range of motion improves.
4. Take your outdoor cycling slowly
After about 4-6 weeks of indoor cycling, your doctor will permit you to ride outdoors. We want to advise you to take it super slow and be careful. Make sure you stop right away when you feel excessive pain.
After you gain confidence in riding a bike, you might want to add a little resistance to your physical activity to improve your leg muscles' strength and endurance.
Try it only when your physical therapist permits you to do the same. Your therapist will help you to determine the right amount of resistance needed. Even a slight pain shouldn't be ignored. Don't hesitate to inform your physical therapist and reduce the extra resistance immediately.
Biking is considered to be the most crucial component to regain your ROM and improve your recovery rate. Besides cycling, your therapist will also ask you to undergo other physical activities like walking and stair climbing to work on your functional mobility. Take your physical therapies seriously and stay consistent in regularly doing it to maximize your chances of full recovery.
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Amego Electric Vehicles was founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Virginia Block. Growing up 6 hours north of Toronto, Block had a close connection to her natural environment and a strong motivation to make a positive impact. We are the most trusted electric bicycle expert in the US and a leader in the electric bike movement. Visit us today!
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