Orthopaedic / Total Knee Replacement

When Can You Ride A Bike After A Total Knee Replacement?

When Can You Ride A Bike After A Total Knee Replacement?
by admin
18th January 2023
6 minutes read

Riding a bike is a great way to exercise, but if you have recently had a total knee replacement surgery, how should you get back in the saddle? Cycling is often recommended as a part of rehabilitation, as bike riding or cycling after a total knee replacement can improve your range of motion. Of course, this cannot be done anytime immediately after a total knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon will give you clear instructions of when to start with certain activities based on their intensity levels. Let’s understand how a total knee replacement works before discussing rehabilitation activities. 

What Is Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

Total knee replacement (TKR)  surgery is also known as Total knee arthroplasty. It is one of the most successful orthopedic procedures in India. The normal knee consists of three components, namely:

  • The thigh bone (femur)
  • The shinbone (tibia)
  • The kneecap (patella)

It is a surgical procedure that involves removing all the damaged, diseased, injured, or worn-out joint components, and replacing them with artificial implants (prostheses). 

Knee pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility cause difficulty in your daily routine activities such as walking, standing, climbing the stairs, jogging, getting up from a chair, etc. When non-surgical treatments (walking aids, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy) fail to provide pain relief, your surgeon may recommend total knee replacement surgery as the last option.

Riding A Bike After Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Surgery

Cycling or riding a bike is an active part of the rehabilitation process after a TKR surgery. When you are able to cycle will vary from person to person, depending on your individual recovery rates. You will be able to use a stationary bike soon after your surgery (within 2 weeks post-surgery), but cycling on the road may take longer (12 weeks post-surgery). Your physical therapist is the right person to help you out with various safety tips to resume activities like cycling. As your range of motion and muscle strength improve, you can transition from a stationary bike to an outdoor bicycle. 

After about 6 weeks of riding a stationary bike, your surgeon and physical therapist may clear you to start riding your outdoor bicycle. This will not put your new joint under any stress and will help promote your range of motion and strengthen your knee. Once you start outdoor cycling, begin carefully and slowly, and always stop if you feel pain.

You may find it easier to start with an electric bike; once you get stronger, you may transition to a regular cycle. It is important to remember that everyone is different, and your condition and type of total knee replacement surgery (unilateral or bilateral) may require that you wait a bit longer before starting bicycling during the recovery phase.

Riding a bike post-TKR surgery improves joint function and maintenance and is also a form of cardiovascular exercise. It aids in weight control. Biking will also help to restore endurance, which is negatively impacted after knee replacement surgery.

Advantages Of Cycling After Knee Replacement Surgery

Cycling is a very good form of exercise that favors a quick recovery and rehabilitation post-TKR surgery. However, you must wait for at least 1 to 2 weeks to resume cycling after the knee replacement. This is to provide proper healing of the knee joint before putting pressure on it. Cycling has many advantages:

  • Improves the range of motion post total knee replacement surgery.
  • Form of cardiovascular workout.
  • Helps reduce excess weight.
  • It is a safe alternative to jogging and running, which are both high-impact activities.
  • Increases muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Improves posture and coordination.
  • Reduces stress levels.
  • It helps strengthen bones.

Tips For Cycling After a Knee Replacement Surgery

Riding a bike can be really beneficial after knee surgery, but you should seek advice from your orthopedic surgeon before embarking on it. The following tips will help you get back to riding a bike after a total knee replacement surgery:

  • Make sure you have reached a particular level of strength and range of motion after your surgery. Resuming cycling early during your recovery period can do more harm.
  • Adjust the height of the seat in such a way that your operated knee is straight down resting on the padel.
  • Begin pedaling slowly. Initially, you might not be able to pedal all the way around which is normal. Continue pedaling until your operated knee bends as far as you can tolerate.
  • Repeat pedaling forward and backward to improve bending your knee. You will notice a rapid improvement in the range of motion of your knee.
  • Your physical therapist will help you build resistance and endurance as you continue cycling.
  • Initially, you may feel knee discomfort which will gradually ease over time.
  • If you feel a sharp throbbing knee pain while cycling, discontinue and consult your surgeon and physical therapist.

Does Cycling Wear Out A Knee Replacement?

Resuming cycling too early and doing too much will put unwanted strain on your new knee joint and can result in serious knee damage. You need to give time for the range of motion to set in before you resume cycling. Repetitive pedaling and inadequate seat position are the most common causes of wearing out of the knee joint. Therefore, make sure to follow the instructions from your physical therapist clearly. This will help you follow the correct technique and frequency of any kind of exercise and avoid any unwanted damage to the knee. 


Make sure you consult your surgeon or physical therapist to know if it’s right for you to ride a bike, given your current condition. Biking/cycling is a great exercise for patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery. Our panel of healthcare experts at Medfin is dedicated to making your rehabilitation journey smoother and worthwhile!

Disclaimer: The content on this site is the copyright of Medfin and is intended for informational and educational purposes only. This should not be considered as a substitute for medical and surgical expertise. Results from any treatments or surgeries are subjective to an individual patient and the type of procedure/surgery performed. Please seek professional help regarding any medical concerns. Medfin will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.

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