How soon after TKR surgery can you go swimming?

Celle

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As long as your incision is completely healed, with no scabs or open areas, it is safe to swim in a public pool. No infection can get in if your skin is unbroken.

You will need to be careful not to do too much in the pool. As the water bears most of your weight, it is all too easy to over-exert yourself and not realise it until you are back on dry land.
 

Majic

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How soon has anyone done the breast stroke, and can it do any harm? I am not good at the crawl, although I can do the backstroke.
 

Celle

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The breast stroke leg kick is pretty hard on the knees. My surgeon advised me to avoid it. However, maybe you could do breaststroke arms and a flutter sort of leg kick?
 

ironclm

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I am two years post TKR and swim with a masters team. I very very rarely do breaststroke, maybe 25 yards at a time, and even then I don’t fully kick. Just doesn’t feel right. Freestyle, backstroke and butterfly are all fine.


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sistersinhim

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I do the breast stroke with gentle flutter kicks. No pain that way!
 

pdx

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I do breast stroke without any issues. Try it and see how it goes. It's good for your inner thigh muscles, which we tend to neglect. My doctor never discouraged any stroke, nor did either of my PT people.
 

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I’m a bit paranoid. Anyone afraid of getting infections from a public pool?
 

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I was. Thankfully I only had 1 PT pool session. In my case, pool therapy wasn’t good for me. They put me in the pool at 4 weeks post op, my first (and only) session was 50 minutes long with way too many bending exercises. It took me 3 days to recover.
 

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I was 4 months before I went back to the Y's pool. If you have no chance at all of having any open wounds, the pool is probably OK, but working out in water is like using weights because of the resistance. That is a no no for the first 4 months.
 

Majic

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Does anyone know if and when it is ok to do breast stroke after two TKRs?. I have only swim breast stroke and back stroke, but have been told to do the crawl. Any advice welcome.
 

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The frog kick for the breast stroke puts a lot of side strain on the TKR and many surgeons will tell you not to do it. Other people will say they can do it but made sure to build up the surrounding muscles first. The way I look at it --and I love to swim-- is that there are many other strokes for swimming, so why do one that might risk my knees?
 

Majic

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@SusieShoes The breast stroke is the only face down stroke that I know, and swimming lessons for adults are like hen's teeth round here.
 

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Interesting. My surgeon never said anything about avoiding breast stroke. I had no ill effects.
 

yesyvonne

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I love the water aerobics I’ve started doing in the past couple months, so asked today at my appointment to get the ball rolling for scheduling my first TKR, how long after surgery till I can get back in the pool? Was told one week after the stitches come out, barring any complication (e.g. infection).


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LeeApril26

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I was cleared to get in a pool six weeks after both hip and knee surgery. After the hip replacement I was told never to do the breast stroke kicks ever again, so back to the crawl. Ask your doctor.
We are all different. I was exhausted the first time I walked in the pool after my TKR on 5/10/17. But, after a couple of weeks of slowly building up the knee I was fine. I am now doing a combo of laps and water exercises for more than an hour.
You’ve had a hard time. Hope you have a smooth recovery.


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SusieShoes

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When to return to the pool is a good question to ask your surgeon. For certain you must wait until your incision is fully healed. I’d say a good two to three weeks after staples are removed, to be sure your skin has fully closed. The main risk from the pool is infection. So that’s the one absolute rule: incision must be healed.

Whether your knee is up to pool exercise is something you are in the best position to determine. I went back at three months, because I waited until my knees were mostly pain-free. I joined an aqua exercise class and did the exercises gently at first. If my knee didn’t like an exercise when I tried it —any pain when moving— I didn’t do it again that session. After a few weeks, my knees liked all the exercises. From there I moved up to laps.

You will go back when you think your knee is ready. :)
 

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