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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is alcohol consumption okay during recovery from a knee replacement?

    My dad had a knee replacement 6 weeks ago and drinks 8-10 beers every afternoon/ night. He is 58 and it is heeling very slowly and still very swollen. I have been advised that alcohol slows the healing process however can you tell me why?
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  • 15

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    Mark Brown

    Physiotherapist

    Mark is an APA Sports Physiotherapist with over 25 years experience with a special interest and expertise in performance enhancement and injury prevention. View Profile

    Alcohol has a number of affects which tend to interfere with healing particularly in the acute stages. Alcohol can cause vasodilation, which means that the blood vessels get wider, and that can increase the amount of bleeding, and in turn, swelling, and that can delay the healing process. Also, alcohol can cause fluid retention, and that increases swelling. It is also a muscle relaxant, and after surgery, especially joint surgery, you need to strengthen your muscles, so a muscle relaxant isn't going to help with that.

    Apart from that, excessive consumption of alcohol has other health problems associated with it anyway, and based on the numbers you given in the question, that's definitely in excess of recommended daily amounts.

  • 6

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    Jason Bradley

    Physiotherapist

    Hands on and exercise-based treatment that is personalised and focused on long term results delivered in private well-appointed treatment rooms. We strive to provide you … View Profile

    In addittion you need to be careful with that volume of alcohol consumption and interactions with any pain medications he may be taking post-surgery. If he is drinking to that level its probably unrealistic to expect you can get him to stop entirely but may be worth at least cutting down a bit.

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