Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23

Thread: Hiking after knee surgery

  1. #1
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Stratham, NH
    Posts
    212

    Hiking after knee surgery

    Just had knee surgery, a meniscus tear removed.

    I held off and suffered the constant ache for nine months, refusing to let it hamper my hiking, and got serious about fixing it in October. It took months to get an MRI (finally went to a different sports doctor). Long story short I did not expect recovery time to be so close to late spring/summer hiking season.

    The doctor said I would be good as new in five weeks but talking with friends (non hikers) and looking on the internet conveys a much longer recovery time, which is quite disheartening given my big June and July hiking plans.

    If you've had this knee surgery, how long did it take you to get back to hiking, say a hike like the Lincoln-Lafayette loop? Did you do PT, what type of post-op conditioning worked for you? Did you have more problems down the road?
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-32/50

  2. #2
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Newton, MA
    Posts
    2,454
    YMMV, so to speak, so listen to your body above all.

    I managed fairly well for a couple of years after I tore a meniscus but finally it became unbearably painful every time my leg twisted in any direction but forward so I scheduled it in late summer and was resuming activities after a month, including soccer. However, hiking is one of the more stressful activities so I got back into that gradually with shorter hikes and snowshoeing. For well over a year I wrapped the knee for additional support. Even today, 10 years later, I feel a gentle reminder to be careful with it (i.e. wrap it and don't stress it to the point of a constant awareness ... short of pain).

  3. #3
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Near the Adirondack Blue Line
    Posts
    3,762
    I've had 3 scopes, 2 on 1 knee, 1 on the other. I insisted on a long course of PT. The physical therapists described me as a 'motivated patient'. I was anxious to get back into the woods and they cautioned me to take it easy, saying that uphills would not be difficult but downhills are the ones that hurt while you're in recovery.
    After getting the clearance for a 5 mile hike, 1,400ft day on a woods road trail, sailed up and congratulated myself. On the way down, the first 3/4mile was simple, started feeling it the next half mile, and uncomfortable the rest of the way.
    After another scope, out on a snowshoe with a group of friends. On the way down, I lagged on every steep section, and in the last mile, I was struggling to keep up. Take your time, the mountains aren't going anywhere and do the exercises the PTs suggest and then some.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
    to be a requisite to doing anything of consequence
    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

  4. #4
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Stratham, NH
    Posts
    212
    Stan, I take it you have not needed repeat surgery on your knee. Did they remove any part of the meniscus? I have been told they took 1/3 out, leaving 2/3.

    Peakbagr, I too am motivated. How long before you did the five mile hike, and are you doing fine now?
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-32/50

  5. #5
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Newton, MA
    Posts
    2,454
    Quote Originally Posted by Peppersass View Post
    Stan, I take it you have not needed repeat surgery on your knee. Did they remove any part of the meniscus? I have been told they took 1/3 out, leaving 2/3.

    Peakbagr, I too am motivated. How long before you did the five mile hike, and are you doing fine now?
    I, too, spent several weeks visiting PT and following a routine at home. I also had a series of racquetball injuries (forearm, elbow and shoulder) which did not require surgery but did involve PT. My conclusion is that strength is an important part of recovery and, by extrapolation, prevention. So I continue with modest strengthening exercises. One caution: there is a period of healing of any collateral damage so be careful not to overdo it ... it may even call for an initial period of rest.

    The same can be said of stretching. Tight tissue strikes me as more conducive to injury so there is a need for balance between strength and flexibility. Stretches are a big part of prevention in sports activities and that includes hiking. Sports medicine says that stretching afterwards is as important. I do ocassionally stretch "off season" but am more inclined to give this advice than take it, which I may someday regret.

    I do not know how much they cut nor have I had additional surgery. I credit the success of the procedure to the PT I learned and practice and not to any long term change in activities ... which I think are as important as the PT itself in maintaining health of the knee (and everything else IMNOHO).

  6. #6
    Member Scarpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Barrington, NH
    Posts
    78
    I had two meniscus surgeries on my left and one on my right before I got back into hiking. I did a (gentle)round of P90X a couple months after the last one and found any lingering knee pain disappeared. That was six years ago. I still do similar exercises found in that program, mostly lunges and squats, and I added yoga a couple times a week. Keeping the muscles strong & flexible makes all the difference.
    Trail adopter-Franconia Ridge between Liberty Spring and Falling Waters trail.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RollingRock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Waterville Valley, NH
    Posts
    579
    I guess recovery time must depend on the how much is being removed. I've had both knees done. I was back hiking after about a month...I started on moderate hikes and probably after two months back to 4,000 footers.

    I did not do any physical therapy but my doctor recommended if I wanted to start hiking sooner rather than later to not use crutches after the surgery so that's what I did. I limped for a few days but then I was fine. A friend at work who also hikes was also hiking after one month.
    GayOutdoors.org
    It's the journey, not the destination

  8. #8
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Stratham, NH
    Posts
    212
    RollingRock, your words are encouraging but 6 days post-op, I know I am looking for the answer that I want (which is not necessarily what's going to happen). I used crutches for two days and resumed light activity (like walking and making dinner) within days. But the surgeon stressed that I not over do it the first week which leaves me binge watching Netflix and counting the days to PT.
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-32/50

  9. #9
    Senior Member summitseeker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    S.E. NH
    Posts
    439
    Quote Originally Posted by Peppersass View Post
    RollingRock, your words are encouraging but 6 days post-op, I know I am looking for the answer that I want (which is not necessarily what's going to happen). I used crutches for two days and resumed light activity (like walking and making dinner) within days. But the surgeon stressed that I not over do it the first week which leaves me binge watching Netflix and counting the days to PT.
    Hi Peppersass,

    I can commiserate with you on those first few post op weeks and the desire to get back on the trail ASAP. I only had a scope of my left knee, but found myself watching the entire Dexter series in record time last April and counting the days until I could get back out. Everyone heals at different rates but FWIW I would stick to only the exercises the PT people give you and try to avoid taking on any serious elevation gains before you are feeling close to normal.

    My surgeon said I would be hiking again after 5 weeks (ironic that this estimate usually coincides with what insurance companies will cover )

    My PT strongly encouraged me to wait at least 6 weeks before even attempting anything strenuous on uneven terrain. My last pre-op 4K was Jackson on 4-6-2014, I then got in one last hike of Pawtuckaway's North Summit on 4-14-14. I went in for surgery on the 21st, followed the instructions of the Doc and PT to a tee, and hiked Pierce and Eisenhower on 6-15-14. It took a lot of patience and adherence to the daily exercises, but a few weeks after doing Ike and Pierce my PT discharged me knowing that my appointments were starting to become personal training rather than rehabilitation.

    This is just what my experience was, but I sincerely wish you all the best in your recovery efforts. Although the itch to hit the trail again soon is insatiable, just remember how much longer a set back could put you out from a full recovery, just saying.


    Best of luck

    Z
    "Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.
    Healthy, free, the world before me.
    The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose."
    - Walt Whitman

  10. #10
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Near the Adirondack Blue Line
    Posts
    3,762
    Doc and PT said walking when the swelling went down, gradually adding some uphills 4 weeks after procedures. About 6 weeks for the 1,400ft, 5 miler, and though I could do it, the downhill was uncomfortable. That gradually went away.
    Lot of this depends how invasive the procedure, how much removed.
    At the time of the first surgery, the surgeon said there would be a very slight chance of arthritis developing. I hit the 'jackpot' on that one.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
    to be a requisite to doing anything of consequence
    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

  11. #11
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Stratham, NH
    Posts
    212
    Thanks for all your input. Just saw the surgeon for my post op and when asked how I can maintain my knee health he said:

    "KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING, DON'T STOP (referring to hiking). YOUR LIGAMENTS, CALF AND THIGH MUSCLES ARE IN BEAUTIFUL SHAPE - I WAS IMPRESSED."

    Given the guy has actually seen these from the inside-out I wondered if I blushed . I thanked him for the complement and figure this is my excuse when faced with the question, "Am I hiking way too much?"
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-32/50

  12. #12
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Newton, MA
    Posts
    2,454
    Quote Originally Posted by Peppersass View Post
    Given the guy has actually seen these from the inside-out I wondered if I blushed .
    Know what you mean. One of the most flattering letters I ever received was from my gastroenterologist. It was a report on my colonoscopy.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Peppersass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Stratham, NH
    Posts
    212
    I imagine all who've responded know what the waiting is like. 3+ weeks later and the knee is coming along.

    Last weekend (2+ weeks out) I walked 3 miles in my neighborhood and got slapped by my PT, my brother and everyone I came in contact with who's had knee surgery -TOO MUCH TOO SOON. So I am on a strict behave-yourself-do-only-what-I-allow regimen for exercise and PT. They have assured me if I slow down I will be hiking peaks by June (my goal). So...whatever it takes.

    Today I hiked into Lost Pond, got about halfway to Wildcat Ridge junction. I turned around only because I reached a small but sharp downhill and haven't been cleared to start ascending and descending yet.

    Very humbling to have that be the "big weekend event!" But the knee did well maneuvering around postholes and angles.
    Peppersass - NEHH, NHW-13/48, NE111-91/115, State HPs-32/50

  14. #14
    Senior Member summitseeker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    S.E. NH
    Posts
    439
    Hey Peppersass,

    I know it is driving you crazy to be sidelined so long, but try to hang in there.

    After my knee scope I wanted to get back on trail ASAP, but I am confident that had I done too much too soon, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish anything in the months that followed.

    I know it sounds easy to give advice after a full recovery, but being day to day on the injury front has kept me realistic and relatively patient with my current healing process. The muscle injuries I am dealing with have no time tables and the Graston Technique has been a lot of discomfort for little return. It can be demoralizing, but I suppose that time is the best remedy for most ailments. Even if it feels like purgatory

    Z
    "Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.
    Healthy, free, the world before me.
    The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose."
    - Walt Whitman

  15. #15
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Colchester, CT
    Posts
    2,940
    Keep us updated on your recovery and re-entry outdoors.

    Had I seen your post earlier, I'd have recommended making sure your PT was aware of your prior activities. Work with them and make a plan. Maybe it starts with rail trails and old roads. Then progress to some of the southern state parks with well maintained, possibly even graded paths, or Livermore Road without a summit trip. Work you way up to Lonesome Lake & Willard once they are snow free. (You could do the easy lower sections of trails and stop as rehab is your goal, not another view on a peak you've done several times before. Work up to maybe easier mountains you've decided were too short before. (Pine Mt, north of Madison, from one direction it has an old road almost to the top I believe)
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

Similar Threads

  1. Anyone Hiking after Knee Replacement?
    By BISCUT in forum General Backcountry
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 10-19-2019, 03:33 PM
  2. 2nd Post-Knee Surgery Hike: Mount Chocorua 9-23-13
    By Kevin, Judy and Emma in forum Trip Reports
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-01-2013, 07:57 PM
  3. Knee surgery..been there? done that?
    By Silverfox in forum General Backcountry
    Replies: 92
    Last Post: 06-15-2013, 07:22 PM
  4. hiking after knee surgery
    By wayward son in forum General Backcountry
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-27-2006, 10:22 AM
  5. Lasik (lasic) surgery and hiking?
    By carole in forum General Backcountry
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 10-12-2005, 01:33 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •