Skip to main content

Aging Athletes: Exercise With or Without Joint Replacement

Baby boomers were the first American generation to make daily exercise a priority. Today, many aging athletes are defying the myth that you have to stop playing your favorite sport as you age. However, as much as they hate to admit, their aging bodies are not as elastic as they once were, and previous athletic injuries may catch up with them as they age. Decline in athletic performance accelerates after the age of 60, and recovery times from injuries increase.

Musculoskeletal conditions and injuries are very common in aging athletes, including muscle strains, tendinopathy (rotator cuff tears, Achilles tendon tears, etc), meniscal tears with osteoarthritis in the knees, or worse – fractures.

As you age, it is very important that you listen to your body and treat your aches and pains with care.

What are some tips for preventing injury?

-Stretch, warm up, and cool down. The importance of stretching increases as you age. Stretching and proper warm-up and cool-down exercises will prevent injury and will keep your body nimble.

-Avoid abruptly changing your exercise activity level or regimen.

-Allow for adequate recovery time for your body. Don’t do too much at once because your body takes longer to adjust to change.

-Cross-train. Alternate your exercise routines so that you strengthen different muscles. This will help you avoid overuse injuries.

-Invest in some good, supportive shoes.

R.I.C.E: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. This regimen is important for people of all ages who struggle with athletic aches and pains.

What about athletes who need joint replacement?

Aging athletes can have joint replacement and still be active. In fact, they should definitely remain active! Although some people may be able to return to hard-impact sports like tennis, jogging, and rock-climbing, surgeons recommend that post-replacement athletes should consider lower impact exercise. This includes swimming, cycling, yoga, or the elliptical. Generally, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery (AAOS) does not recommend running after a total knee replacement. However, some partial knee replacement patients have been able to return to running. Modern total joints are proving to hold up to hard-impact sports fairly well, but every case is different. If you have a total joint replacement and are eager to get back to the activity level you crave, please speak with your surgeon about possibilities.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Welcome Dr. Rick Weidenbener

Meet Dr. Rick Weidenbener, the newest member of the MCJR team! Dr. Weidenbener is a non-surgical sports medicine specialist who will see patients exclusively in our Bloomington office.

Dr. Brian Badman to see patients at MCJR

We're excited to announce that Dr. Brian Badman, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder replacement, will begin seeing patients out of our Indianapolis office in July.

Meet Dr. Colin Penrose

We're excited to announce that Dr. Colin T. Penrose will be joining the MCJR surgeon team in Summer 2022. Get to know Dr. Penrose!

Caring for Arthritis in this 2020 Winter Season

The winter is upon us and we're bundled up inside this year more than ever before. Caring for arthritis in 2020 has some extra challenges. But here are some ways to keep your joints healthy this winter.