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Thread: Post-knee replacement hiking ?

  1. #1
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Post-knee replacement hiking ?

    After decades of pounding my knees running, racing, hikes, one of my knees keeps crying "Help". I've been seeing one of the best sports medicines docs in the area. He isn't a surgeon so a good choice instead of a doc who's quick with the scalpel.
    MRI shows knee has to be replaced but timing depends on my tolerance for discomfort that might last over a few years. Over 5 months I've had a cortisone shot, needles to break up tight tissue, injection of synthetic lubrication and weekly PT.
    He tried me with one of his neoprene braces with small metal hinges but he gave me a prescription for a larger, heavier and more sophisticate brace. He's offered to refer me for a surgical consult but is trying to follow my desire to forestall surgery as long as possible. There's a suggestion that a possible next step is an injection of my blood platelets ($$).

    With any previous medical procedure, I've always felt that if it's inevitable, get it over and done and cut short the number of bad days. But I'm afraid that I won't be able to do the type of off trail bushwhacking I enjoy. This knee has been scoped 3x over the last 20years and the MRI says another would not accomplish much.
    Hoping the avid hikers here who have had a knee replaced can offer advice and how much their new knee has changed what they were able to do.

    Thanks
    "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

  2. #2
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    A little something I wrote last year about this subject:

    https://sectionhiker.com/hiking-afte...ement-surgery/

    As a postscript to that article, I had what what was probably my busiest hiking season ever last year due to the amount of field work required for the WMG. I was all over the place and doing a lot of miles at once. The replaced knee wasn't an issue at all.

    Currently, I'm just about three weeks into rehab after getting a TKR on my left knee on 5/25/2022, and am a bit ahead of "schedule" as far as recovery goes. Feel free to ask away.

  3. #3
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    Here’s my story:
    April 2021 I had a TKR, as bone-on-bone was horrible. Found an excellent surgeon who listened to me describe my hiking goals: to complete the 67 Four Thousand Footers in New England. I completed the AT in 2016, so I’ve been hiking for a long time!
    Immediately after surgery I began home-PT, then found an excellent PT. I described my hiking goals to this young lady. I now live in MD so I wasn’t sure she would comprehend what I needed. This young lady listened & said “I grew up in Millinocket ME.” WOW. She indeed knew what I needed, so “aggressive PT” she gave me.
    Additionally, I used a cycling trainer in my basement until I had enough rotation and transitioned to outdoor cycling, 10-20 miles every few days. I’m a former competitive swimmer so I did workouts 3-4 times a week designed to help my knee strengthen & bend.
    And 4 months after surgery I completed my final 3 peaks: Hamlin Peak, North Brother & Mt Redington!
    Peakbagger, I wish you well on your decision & hope you get back to your beloved trails soon.

    Dottie “.com” Rust

  4. #4
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Reading and mulling. Right now there isn't an urgency as I'm using a special stabilizing brace. Just looking for other opinions and stories as I know it's coming. Thank you.
    "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

  5. #5
    Senior Member BISCUT's Avatar
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    Same situation for me. I recently had a PM talk with Ken who posted above. It helps to hear from others with the same plight. About 50 and in need of a TKR of my left knee due to bone on bone. The left side and knee cap are where the pain presents most. For me, the "real" pain is while descending. I do not experience much if any discomfort on the up. I have 3 hikes remaining for the 4k club (Isolation, Owl's Head, and The Bond's) and working toward that goal. I'm trying to get it done before the AMC lists reach 15k persons. I've been receiving Visco shots and they have worked well. With that moderate success, I am in a holding pattern for now. I've been doing hikes in the Catskills as it not far of a drive for me. But not the same as the Whites. I've been training on a treadmill with 5 miles/day and some 7 and 10 mile walks. Frustrating as I can't jog so I'm learning to walk faster I set the speed to about 3.7 and the incline at 5.5/7% throughout the walk. Next step is loading a pack and doing a 10mile with pack weight to see how that goes.

    Stem cell treatment for knees is a subject I keep looking for more on but not a lot out there yet. I'm hopeful there could be positive results on this end before I have to make the final decision for TKR. Good luck PEAKBAGR and thanks for posting this. I'm sure there will be many responses.

  6. #6
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    I went from a neoprene knee brace with internal metal hinges to something much better. My Sports med doc proscribed the Ossur Unloader brace. Weighs next to nothing, clamps on shin and knee, lots of straps but it really seems to work.
    Downhills are also my issue. I've done all the longer and higher 'list peaks'. I enjoy the off trail, off trail 'whacks. Lots of unexplored terrain with ledges and steeps. Coming down those is an issue. The MRI showed lots going on so I know the TKR is waiting, but trying to figure whether to bite the bullet and get it done, or eke out months of discomfort then having it done anyway. If you haven't checked out the Ossur brace, it's worth a look.
    "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

  7. #7
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    Before my recent surgery, I'd been using an unloader brace for the last few years. It did help a lot, but I can't say I'll miss it.

  8. #8
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Ken, pls check your messages.
    "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

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peakbagr View Post
    Ken, pls check your messages.
    Sent you an email ...

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