Can I Squat After Knee Replacement?

Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2022
Knee Replacement
If your new knee swells or hurts after performing squats or exercises following knee replacement surgery, you discontinue that activity until you feel better.

Half squats are acceptable for exercise after knee replacement surgery; however, you should avoid deep squatting because it is neither possible nor desirable following surgery.

When it comes to squatting, a few concerns may arise. You must avoid overstretching your knees after knee replacement surgery.

You can perform the following half-squatting exercise after consulting with your surgeon and physiotherapist:

  1. Hold on to a sturdy chair or counter and place your feet 6 to 12 inches away.
  2. Slowly bend your knees while keeping your back straight. Do not go lower than 90°. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Come back up slowly. Relax.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Squatting is not necessary, but it does require optimal strength and balance and is a key component in many daily activities. Squatting should, therefore, be researched as a key technique for assisting people in regaining their strength and balance.

What is knee replacement and who needs it?

Knee replacement is also known as knee arthroplasty. It involves replacing the knee joint's worn-out surfaces or injured cartilage with an artificial knee joint (implant) designed to allow movement and stability close to a normal knee.

The two most common indications for knee replacement surgery are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In people with OA and RA, the need for surgery arises when the pain becomes unbearable, the deformity is severe, and activities of daily living are severely affected.

How long will your new knee last?

How long your new knee will last following replacement surgery depends on your age and activity level.

  • Younger, more active people generally wear their knees sooner than less active, older people.
  • If you are older than 65 years, it is unlikely that you will need a revision replacement. 
  • Studies report that about 5 to 10 percent of well-performed knee replacements will need revision at 10 years, and most will last much longer (over 15 years).

What are the benefits of knee replacement and what is the maximum bend you can get?

The primary benefit that a knee replacement offers is pain relief. Additionally, it allows the correction of deformity and restoration of movement and joint stability. This leads to improved mobility and knee function and enables a return to activities of daily living.

The amount of knee flexion (bending) one can get after knee replacement depends on the following:

  • Amount of knee bending present before surgery
  • Quality of bone
  • Status and strength of the ligaments (collateral ligaments)
  • Type of implant used
  • Post-op rehabilitation (physiotherapy).

People who are overweight may not get full flexion in their knees.


Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain See Slideshow

What are the dos and don’ts after knee replacement surgery?

With a knee replacement, you can perform most of your daily activities.

  • You can walk without a walking aid although some older adults may require the assistance of a walking stick.
  • You can climb stairs, sit in a chair or couch, and get up on your own.
  • You can squat and sit cross-legged and bend your knees to more than 120° to 130° (Indian-style sitting).

Following surgery, these activities necessitate specialized rehabilitation (exercise program). However, it is recommended that you avoid such activities regularly because they may put undue strain on the knee, increasing wear and reducing the longevity of the artificial joint. Moreover, it is advised to use a western-style toilet.

Once you have fully recovered from the surgery, you may be able to participate in sports such as tennis and golf, as well as drive a car. Complete recovery could take up to two to three months.

What are the possible complications?

Knee replacement is a safe procedure with a very high success rate, and complications are uncommon. However, a few serious complications, such as infection or blood clots, may arise.

Your medical team will institute measures to minimize the risks of complications. You will be given medications to prevent infection and blood clots, and if required, a specialist physician will see you pre and post-operatively to check up on your medical status.

Other possible complications include stiffness, joint laxity, fractures, and more.

What activities can’t you do after you completely recover?

After you recover from knee replacement surgery, you still shouldn't go downhill skiing or play contact sports such as football and soccer. Avoid sports that require jerking, twisting, pulling, or running.

You should be able to do lower-impact activities, such as hiking, gardening, swimming, golf, and tennis.

Other instructions that you must always follow include:

  • Take small steps when you turn. 
  • Try not to pivot on the leg that was operated on. 
  • Your toes should be pointing straight ahead.
  • Do not jerk the leg that was operated on.
  • Do not lift too much weight, which will place too much stress on your new knee. This includes lifting grocery bags, laundry, garbage bags, toolboxes, and large pets.

How should you care for your new knee joint?

After having knee replacement surgery, you must be cautious about how you move your knee, especially in the first few months. Adhere to your doctor’s instructions about post-operative care.

In time, you should be able to return to your previous activity level. However, even then, you will need to move carefully to avoid injuring your new knee replacement. Be sure to prepare your home for when you return, so you can move more easily and prevent falls.

Your orthopedic surgeon or physiotherapist may advise you to exercise two or three times daily for 20 to 30 minutes. Additionally, they may suggest that you begin with a daily walking routine.

If your knee hurts or swells after a particular exercise, you should restrict or discontinue that activity until you feel better. If your symptoms persist, consult your orthopedic surgeon.


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Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2022
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