Can You Kneel after a Total Knee Replacement?

Not much is known about kneeling for patients with a total knee replacement (TKR). Is it safe to kneel? Will the joint implant wear out sooner if you kneel? Does the new joint work the same way when kneeling as when squatting or climbing stairs?

These are questions researchers at the University of Vermont are trying to answer. X-rays were taken in three positions for 20 patients with TKRs who could kneel and stand easily. The researchers looked for contact points for two types of knee implants in two kneeling positions. The results were compared to the contact points while standing with the knee straight.

The authors report that patients who had trouble kneeling were more likely to report back pain or scar pain as the reason. They found that kneeling with 90 degrees of flexion was the same as deep flexion during squatting and climbing stairs. There was a little more movement in one of the two implants. Neither type was in danger of dislocating.

After TKR, many patients want to resume activities that require kneeling. This report offers some information to help give patients guidelines for kneeling. It’s not clear if plastic replacement parts will wear out sooner with kneeling. For now it looks safe for patients to kneel carefully on occasion.