By Christopher E. Mutty, MD

A common question that patients often ask is: “Will I have limitations on activities following hip or knee replacement surgery?” The goal of having joint replacement surgery is to return to activity with minimal restrictions, without the pain that was present prior to surgery. Engaging in an active lifestyle helps to improve overall health following surgery.

During the first few weeks of recovery, you can expect to experience a gradual increase in activity. Most patients will use a walker for a few days after hip replacement. Patients having their knee replaced may use a walker for a few weeks before transitioning to a cane, and then no walking aid.

The goal is to treat your replaced joint like your original joint and perform all of your regular activities; however, impact sports like football are hard on replacement joints and should be avoided. Knee replacement patients should also avoid playing singles tennis, as it involves many sudden pivots and lunges that can place significant strain on the replacement components and increase wear, whereas doubles tennis and pickleball are fine. There are no restrictions on activities like walking, golfing, swimming, and biking. Skiing is also permitted, but I discourage mogul skiing, as there is the potential for a fracture near the replaced joint should a fall occur, and that is challenging to repair. While occasional running is acceptable, extensive long-distance running is an impact activity, and therefore not encouraged.

Overall, joint replacement is an effective way to return to an active lifestyle without major limitations.

Christopher E. Mutty, MD specializes in hip and knee joint replacement and reconstruction at UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Learn more at or call 716-898-3944.