The hot tub seems like a great way to relax and recover after knee replacement surgery. The warm water is soothing and there are jets that provide a light massage. But you shouldn’t be so quick to jump in the water!
It’s important to be careful about using the hot tub after getting a knee replacement. If everything goes well with your surgery, and if your wound heals on schedule, then you’ll be back in the hot tub after 1 month.
There are, however, a number of things you should be aware of when your surgically repaired knee is healing.
In this article, I’ll share my experience using a hot tub after TKR. Prior to my TKR surgery, I frequently used the hot tub to help relieve pain and soreness on and around my knee.
After TKR I was advised not to swim or get in a hot tub until the scab on my knee was gone. My doctor made it clear that any part of the wound that was still open, even a small area could be easily infected.
The hot tub that I use is at a community fitness center and several people use it daily, thus the risk for infection is greater. If I had a hot tub at home I feel there would be less risk of an infection.
After TKR surgery my wound healed and my scabbing disappeared. I began using the hot tub in different ways than I did before surgery, which I will explain in this article.
The good news is that once you’re cleared to use the hot tub, it can be beneficial in your recovery from total knee replacement.
Be Careful Not To Use The Hot Tube Too Soon After Knee Replacement
After my surgery, the medical team cautioned me not to swim or use a hot tub until my wound was completely healed. The risk of infection and complications is too great. Any open area even scabs can allow an infection to enter the wound. Infection and range of motion were the biggest concerns of my medical team.
Once the staples were removed my wound began to scab up and started to close. Once all the scabs were gone the doctor gave me the okay to swim and to use a hot tub.
What My Doctor Said About Using The Hot Tub After Knee Replacement
One month after my TKR surgery my doctor gave me the okay to swim, in a pool or in the ocean and he also told me I could sit in a hot tub. He told me not to let the jets hit the scar directly but that I could let the jets hit the sides and the bottom of the knee directly.
Early on, he said to spend only ten minutes in the hot tub and then slowly increase the amount of time I stayed in the hot tub. He also suggested that I keep the knee in motion while I was in the hot tub and to do ankle pumps frequently (here is more general advice about water and TKR surgery from Emory University)
How Did I Use The Hot Tube After TKR
I used the hot tub several ways.
- First, I tried using the hot tub before going into the fitness center to help loosen my knee up. By the time I rinsed off and changed clothes, it wasn’t really effective. I found the stationary bike did a better job of loosening my knee up and increasing my range of motion before doing my exercise routine.
- I also used the hot tub for 5 or 10 minutes after swimming laps. I kept the leg moving while in the hot tub and went from the hot tub to a warm shower. While I was in the hot tub I did calf raises, marching, and some stretching. I allowed the jets to hit directly on sore spots and where muscles, ligaments, and tendons attach near the knee.
- I also used the hot tub to relax after I began golfing and playing pickleball. I would go back to the fitness center in the evening and jump in the hot tub for ten or fifteen minutes relaxing while flexing and extending my knee.
Related: My Must-Have Items After TKR Surgery
My Suggestion: Supplement Your Workouts and Exercise With The Hot Tub
Before you do anything, talk to your doctor about your specific situation (everyone will be on a different recovery schedule.
You can use the hot tub several different ways after TKR.
- You can use it to exercise and to stretch and to relieve aches and soreness.
- You can use it to relieve soreness all over your body that results from your overall exercise plan.
Don’t be too anxious to get into the hot tub after your TKR surgery. Make sure your doctor and or physical therapist give you the okay. Anything that you can do to prevent infection in your knee is important. Be cautious.
- Once you return to your pre-surgery activities use it to relax and relieve soreness.
- While you are in the hot tub flex and extend your knee often.
- While sitting you can do ankle slides on the bench and ankle pumps while chatting with others in the hot tub.
- Use the jets to pinpoint sore spots.
I use the hot tub more now post surgery than I did pre-surgery. If you have a hot tub available, take advantage of it as another tool for your knee replacement recovery. Look for more articles to come. Thanks for reading my blog.