Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swimming after Knee Surgery - Part 2

The left knee is still improving here and there, though the contracture on the quadriceps and hamstring will take time to improve. Booktoots' post, Walking On Gravel & A TKR, reminded me of while I was at a Florida beach recently.

While solid ground is easier to walk on, it's the uneven areas that give me some trouble. I know that will improve in time. It was a bit of slow going from a table near a parking space through the sand to the water's edge. I was able to walk into the water, but a drop-off gave me a little trouble and an outgoing wave swept my feet from underneath me. A nearby mother with young child thought it was pretty funny. From there it was easy enough to stay in the water and move around despite the waves.

But getting out took a little creativity. I couldn't just get out normally like others could. My cane was still at the table. It took me a couple tries to actually get past the drop-off. I used the incoming waves to help push me up past the drop-off. A wave came in, take a couple steps, wait for the next wave to come in, a few steps, til I was past the drop-off. Walking back from there to the table was a bit slow and difficult going, but I made it.

Pool ladders still give me trouble, but after my right knee is worked on, that should be resolved in time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Swimming after Knee Surgery

One of the best things to do after a total knee replacement is swimming. It's best to wait til the stitches or staples are out before doing so. The water helps support you and if you trip somehow, you're not going to fall face-first into a hard surface. The other good thing is that you don't need any kind of walking aids.

When I'm swimming, I don't just water walk. My therapist recommended walking forwards, backwards, and sideways, 3-4 laps each. I've also tried slow paddling for a minute or two, then return to walking. Leg lifts can easily be done as well. Don't just stay in the shallow end. I usually go from about 3 1/2 feet of water to 5 feet and back. Sometimes I'll stay in the 4.5-5 foot area for awhile. Maybe later I'll add on the flippers. Swim shoes seem to add a little more water resistance when slow paddling.

About 20-45 minutes of this could be the equivalent of an hour's worth of exercise without making you overly tired. Just make sure the water isn't too cold as it can make it harder to swim.

I still can't quite use the ladders, though I can still use the steps in the shallow end. If the pool is large and has steps in the deep end, I can use that.

Has anyone worn a wetsuit while doing their exercises in the pool?