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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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Are there any exercises that can help me regain my balance when I stumble? I had a unilateral knee replacement (implant goes just on one side) about six months ago and I'm having the most trouble with this.

This type of knee replacement is designed to replace only the portions of the joint that are most damaged by arthritis. The operation is less invasive than a full knee replacement. There are significant advantages, especially in younger patients who may need to have a second artificial knee replacement as the first one begins to wear out. Removing less bone during the initial operation makes it much easier to perform a revision artificial knee replacement later in life. Studies have shown that many patients experience continued muscle weakness after unilateral knee replacement. The reasons for this aren't entirely clear. The incision, cutting through muscles, and surgical trauma may contribute to loss of muscle power. Loss of muscle bulk (called atrophy) from favoring that leg before surgery may also be a factor. Anytime there's muscle weakness with loss of muscle power, there's a decrease in muscle coordination. You need both strength and coordination to recover from a stumble or sudden loss of balance. If you aren't having any other symptoms, you may benefit from an exercise program designed to regain strength, coordination, and balance. The first step may be to check back with your surgeon. If all looks good with the implant, then a physical therapist may be the best one to help you out with this problem. A specific program of exercise focused on the problem areas may be all you need. With a few sessions, you may be well on your way to having solved the problem (and preventing future problems from falls and injuries from falls).


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