One of the most frequent messages I hear from my clients is:

“I’ve had a total knee replacement and now can’t kneel.”

The ability to kneel is key to be able to get up from the floor if you fall.

What is a total knee replacement?

Knee replacements usually happen when functional or day-to-day life is affected, like walking to the shops, walking up and down stairs or other activities of daily living. The operation involves replacing the surfaces of both the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). Sometimes the surface of the patella (or kneecap) is also replaced.

The nature of recovery from a knee replacement is very individual.  The initial six weeks post-surgery can be characterized by significant pain, making inflammation reduction and improving range of motion (ROM) and function the primary focus. It’s unfortunate that when they are experiencing most pain is the window of opportunity to gain range.

Strength and conditioning play an important role and should adhere to personalized principles. A physiotherapist should provide recovery exercises before discharge.

So is kneeling contraindicated post-surgery?

Kneeling is not contraindicated.

There is currently no evidence that there is any clinical reason why someone who has had a total knee replacement should not kneel on their replaced knee.  However there are reasons they might choose not to which include

  • knee pain/discomfort
  • numbness
  • fear of harming prosthesis
  • co-morbidities

Usually people who struggle to kneel pre-op will be the ones to struggle post op.

If someone is struggling to kneel it is important to approach this compassionately and use techniques to encourage kneeling gradually, maybe start with kneeling on all fours on the bed.  Alternatively, patients can stand beside a chair, placing the affected knee on the seat and gradually increase the load over time.

Other progressions that could be used

  1. Kneel on the sofa with a pillow under your knee.
  2. Kneel on sofa without pillow under your knee. 
  3. Kneel on sofa cushion on ground.
  4. Kneel on sofa with pillow under the knee.
  5. Knee on floor with towel under knee.
  6. Kneel on carpeted floor without pillow.

The goal is to slowly increase the amount of time you are kneeling and change the surfaces from soft to hard. Everyone has their own recovery timetable so no need to rush through this just progress when you think you are ready.

NHS Advice and Exercises for after Total Knee Replacement

The post Navigating Total Knee Replacement: Is it safe to kneel? appeared first on Whole Life Fitness.



Having worked in IT in London for 15 years I was made redundant in 2009. I had trained as a gym instructor whilst working and decided I would rather spend the rest of my career doing something I loved than look for another job in IT. I furthered my qualifications with a Certificate in Advanced Personal Training from the highly regarded Premier Training. Many personal trainers are generalists covering all areas of fitness but I took the decision to specialise in the over-50s and therefore went on to do a CYQ Award in Functional Training for the Independent Older Adult Level 3. My focus is on overall health rather than fitness. I believe that making small changes can have a long term positive effect on health and well-being.

One Response to Navigating Total Knee Replacement: Is it safe to kneel?

  1. Important info

    on May 31, 2024 at 8:35 am Asna vp

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