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Return to Work and Play

Return to Sport

Return to sport and leisure activities is an important goal of many patients after partial knee replacement and the ability to return to sport is highly variable. In general, return to sport is easier and more predictable after partial knee replacement than total knee replacement. In a recent comparison study, 96% of patients returned to preoperative level of sports after partial knee replacement whereas only 64% of patients returned to their preop level after TKR(6). Another recent study demonstrated that the level of leisure activity participation after TKR failed to meet patient expectations; in this study, at 1 year post op, no TKR patients were playing tennis, skiing, jumping rope, skating, playing basketball or jogging. Less than 4% were playing golf, hunting or fishing(7). In another study, 28% of patients walked the golf course preoperatively whereas only 14% of patients walked the golf course after a TKR(8). In active golfers, the length of their drives decreased by an average of 12 yards and their handicap rose by an average of 4.6 strokes after TKR(9). Alternatively, 90% of patients maintained or improved their sporting activities after partial knee replacement(10).

Return to Work

Return to work after knee repair is highly variable; indeed, many patients are retired at the time of their surgery. However, I recommend 6 -12 weeks off prior to return to work after total knee replacement. Alternatively, I consider partial knee replacement a back to work operation.  I encourage patients to go back to work after 1-2 weeks after a partial knee replacement.

Recovery Time

The recovery time for any operation varies. Here is a comparison of typical recovery times for partial vs total knee replacement.

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