Bay Area Medical Information (
Total Knee Replacement
Bones of the knee

Overview of Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure that can greatly decrease pain and improve the quality of life for many people. In most cases, this operation is safe and provides good results, however, as with any surgical procedure, complications can occur.

To see a well-illustrated and easy-to-understand videotutorial from the National Institute of Health and National Library of Medicine, click here.

Illustration courtesy of Nat'l Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

In the News

April 2008
Study identifies the best type of exercise that generates the least force on the knee
Orthopedic researchers from Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif, identified biking as the exercise that produces the least impact on the knee, and hence the best lifetime exercise for those who have undergone a total knee replacement. Treadmill walking was next best, producing minimal force. Specifically, the findings revealed the following impact on the knee:

  • Biking = 1.3 times the person's body weight
  • Treadmill = 2.05 times the body weight.
  • Walking on level ground = 2.6 times the body weight.
  • Tennis = 3.1 to 3.8 times the body weight, with serving producing the highest impact. Doubles tennis, instead of singles is often recommended to patients who have undergone total knee replacement (TKR), as it is less stressful to the knee.
  • Golf swings = 4.5 times body weight on the forward knee and 3.2 times body weight in the opposite knee. The researchers noted however that the impact from a golf swing occurred in an instant, while the forces produced by jogging are constant, which is worse. Golfers, who have previously undergone TKR, might want to consider consulting with a pro to modify the swing so that less force is exerted on the knee.
  • Jogging = 4.3 times body weight. Because of this repeated impact on the knee, it is advisable for people who've undergone knee replacement to give up jogging altogether and switch to another form of exercise. Medline Plus/American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon's annual meeting April 2008

August 31, 2007
Repair of the Knee Cartilage, Without Surgery, May be a Viable Option in the Future
Researchers have achieved promising results from recent clinical studies on pigs who had meniscal damage from injured or arthritic knees. Anti-inflammatory agents were injected directly into the knees in an effort to aid natural repair of the torn or damaged meniscus. These injections successfully promoted and accelerated significant meniscal healing and repair in the knees of the pigs in this study. Although promising, these findings are only preliminary, and the anti-inflammatory agents have not yet been studied in humans. MedPage Today/Arthritis & Rheumatism 56: doi 10.1002/art August 2007

Exercise Before Joint Replacement Significantly Helps Post-Op Recovery
A recent study found that a six-week program of water- and land-based exercises before a total-knee or hip replacement significantly reduced the chance that patients would need inpatient rehabilitation immediately following surgery. MedPage Today/Arthritis Care & Research. October 2006

Educational Video Tutorial
Knee Replacement This is a comprehensive, easy-to-understand video tutorial about the anatomy of the knee, the surgical procedure, and the risks and complications of this operation. This video is available through the National Institute of Health and the National Library of Medicine.
--Written by N Thompson, ARNP, Last updated March 2007

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