Effective Functional Exercise Programming for the Older Fitness Client After a Total Knee Replacement

by Keith Chittenden, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D
Personal Training Quarterly April 2014
Vol 2, Issue 1


This article examines the effects that are commonly experienced by people who have undergone knee replacement surgery as well as the exercises that can help them regain functionality.

As people get older, many biological changes take place in the structure of their bones and joints. One change that can cause significant pain and loss of functional ability is degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is defined as the degenerative changes of the hyaline articular cartilage on the ends of bones that make up a joint.

OA can cause the formation of divots and/or osteophytes (bone spurs) on the end of the bone within the knee joint (i.e., distal end of the femur and tibial plateau). Walking and standing can cause compression of the joint and can put pressure on the osteophytes formation. As a result, the individual may experience pain and may potentially decrease his or her mobility in an effort to avoid the pain from the hyaline articular cartilage breakdown.

Many older adults who experience this pain during standing and walking will elect to undergo a total knee replacement surgical intervention known as total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Personal trainers should be aware of the effects that are commonly experienced by people who have undergone this surgery as well as the interventions and exercises that can help these clients regain functionality. 

This article originally appeared in Personal Training Quarterly (PTQ)—a quarterly publication for NSCA Members designed specifically for the personal trainer. Discover easy-to-read, research-based articles that take your training knowledge further with Nutrition, Programming, and Personal Business Development columns in each quarterly, electronic issue. Read more articles from PTQ »

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Keith Chittenden, MS, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D

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Keith Chittenden is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialistwith Distinction (CSCS,*D) and Tactical Strength and ConditioningFacilitator with ...

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