Advice From An Orthopedic Physician.

A reader asks:

I need a knee replacement. Is there one implant (Zimmer, Depuy, Stryker, etc.) that is better for returning to skiing?

Here’s the reply from Dr. Peter Schmaus, Orthopedic Spine and Sports, Paramus, NJ:

Thank you for that interesting and timely question. There are nearly 700,000 knee replacements done in the United States annually and that number is increasing. Many  of these adults participate in snow sports and wish to continue skiing. More conservative  orthopedists in the past have advised against skiing with a total knee replacement and especially with a total hip replacement. However there is no clear evidence that  when skiing within limits, a total knee replacement presents a problem. Logically, experienced skiers in good physical condition should fare better.  A novice skier may however present more risk. Reducing impact , perhaps avoiding the bumps and limiting significant knee flexion would be prudent. Cross country skiing should present no problem at all.  Advances in equipment have also contributed to reduced risk.
There is no academic work showing  disproportionate loosening or wear and tear of the prosthesis, and no one brand  of prosthesis to my knowledge is superior to another.
There may be extenuating circumstances in regard to other coexisting orthopedic conditions and participants should asses the risks and benefits with their orthopedist and ideally, work with a physical therapist experienced in snow sports.

Have a question about technique, gear, destinations, travel, or any other aspect of winter sports? Send it to [email protected], and we’ll do our best to find an expert to respond.


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