With high costs, long recovery times, and uncertain outcomes…total knee replacement should really be the last resort when it comes to treatment of arthritis and knee pain. The best alternative for anyone who is serious about avoiding knee replacement surgery is to get STRONGER. To limit the impact that goes through our knees by building full body strength.
Strength Training vs. Physical Therapy
One of the indications for surgery that your doctor will mention is when ‘conservative treatment fails.’ Unfortunately, their idea of conservative treatment is two weeks of some cookie cutter physical therapy program that was doomed to fail from the start. But at least they can say they ‘tried’ before cutting you open.
Keep in mind that strength training is NOT physical therapy. Strength training is a full-body, progressive exercise plan designed to build muscle and improve your ability to function in your daily life. Strength training improves movement patterns, build strength, and increased mobility to limit impact on your knee joint so surgery isn’t necessary.
The best part? While an extremely effective alternative to knee replacement surgery, the benefits of building strength extend far beyond your knee pain. Less joint pain, less arthritis, less osteoporosis, better balance, better immune system, cardiovascular benefits, less stress, better sleep, and even lower mortality.
How To Get Started with Strength Training to Avoid Knee Replacement Surgery
One of the hardest parts about getting started on a strength training program is knowing where to start. Finding exercises that are both challenging and safe for the person with knee pain. Over the course of my career I’ve helped 100’s of adults build the strength needed to overcome knee pain without surgery or injections. I can tell you every program included a variation of these three exercises. I’ve included three progressions to help you find the best starting point.
A great full body movement to build strength in the muscles that support your knee. We’ve provided a few progressions to get you started with easiest on the left.
Hinging And Lifting
Hinging and lifting are two of the most important movements to protect your knee and build strength. We’ve provided a few progressions to get you started with easiest on the left. Be sure to practice with little to light weight before getting started.
The Step Up/Lunge
Lunging is the most functional way to build strength in our hips and legs to support the knee. We’ve provided a few progressions to get you started with easiest on the left. Using assistance can be a great way to build confidence in the movements.
Keep in mind is that building strength takes time. Arthritis is a condition that has developed over years – and can’t be fixed in just a few weeks. Building strength is a long-term strategy to drastically improving your health and I would be very weary of anybody who is selling you a ‘quick fix’.
We’re here to help you make the best decision for yourself. If you’re thinking about knee replacement surgery, be sure to check out our most recent article that discusses six things you should consider before opting for surgery.