For many people, running is not just an exercise – it’s a way of life. And for some avid runners, marathons are exciting events to help push them to be their best, give them confidence, and keep them healthy.
Unfortunately, running, aging, and other things can wear down the knee joint, making running a painful process. This can lead to the need for a total knee replacement, but many runners put the operation off as they’ve been told they can’t run afterward. Is this true? Are your running days over after a total knee replacement, or can you still participate in marathons?
The good news is that knee surgery doesn’t mean you have to give up your passion. It does, however, mean you’ll need to take some extra steps to get back to your old running self – with a better knee. The following facts can help you through this process.
Technology Has Improved
Previously, artificial knee joints were connected by cement. The fear was that the cement – if put through too much impact – could wear down the artificial joint. With these surgeries, nothing more than low-impact exercises like golf and walking was recommended.
Modern technology is much different. Often, biological tissue is used to replace the joint and typically never needs cement. Instead, the artificial yet biological joint can actually grow, leading to a more natural replacement.
Surgery Isn’t One Size Fits All
Typically, the earlier you address issues with your knee joints, the less intervention you’ll need. Not everyone with knee problems needs a full knee replacement. For some, a partial replacement is enough. The level of knee replacement you need will dictate how quickly you can return to your regular activities, so the sooner you address it, the better.
Activity Is a Good Thing
Once the artificial joint is in place, it’s important that patients stay active to increase bone density and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. This helps keep your new joint in place. Therefore, returning to running is not a bad idea. However, it needs to be a gradual return.
Let your knee surgeon know that you would like to return to running and participate in marathons. They can help you through physical therapy and recommendations that will help you meet this goal. Just remember that you’ll want to give your knee time to heal.
Therefore, you should set a goal for running your marathon, but be sure that you give yourself ample time to get in the proper shape. Don’t push yourself too hard or too fast as this can backfire.