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Total Knee Replacement

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Anyone out there skiing with a total knee replacement? I am looking at the prospect of having my left knee replaced.

If you have had TKR, what device was used and how is the wear factor working?

Thanks....Rick H
post #2 of 24
Our ski school director had a total knee replacement last June and was back on skis in early December. He said he should have replaced the #$@* thing years ago. I will pass along your info to him and have him contact you directly
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ski Guy

post #4 of 24
Rick-check your private messages about tkr- good luck- 1oldbear
post #5 of 24
I ski with (left) hip replacement and without any problems. Considering my right knee I fear that I might be another candidate. Any (positive) experience makes me feel better.

I was driving 400 miles from the Alps home yesterday and had to make at least 5 stops to stretch the right leg for about 10 minutes each time.

To replace or to use the original as long as it still works is often a hard dilemma to decide.
post #6 of 24
Hi Rick,

Both the wear and stability issues with a knee replacement are much different (worse) than with a hip replacement. There is no doubt that you "can" ski with a knee replacement but you should become fully aware of the issues so that you are making decisions for yourself as opposed to having a surgeon or other clinician (with their own perspective on what's worth it and what's not) do it for you. Wear characteristics of knee replacments are very different than with hips. Besides wear, issues you need to understand included stabilized vs. unstabilized knee prostheses and the trade-offs with knee ligament balancing during surgery (range of motion vs. stability).

Whether you ski or not, the skills of the surgeon are critical, so do some investigation. I am sure there are some experienced and skilled people at Steadman and elsewhere in Colorado. Tom Rosenberg in Salt Lake City is VERY experienced with knee replacment and skiing and has some very specific ideas about this. It might be worth getting a consultation if possible.
post #7 of 24
That´s what I expected and feared: skiing with hip replacement is a cinch, the knee is much worse.
Another reason to hold out as long as possible.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
I just got back from my knee specialist in Los Angeles. He says that I don't need a replacement as yet. It could be six months or six years. In six years, I'll be 76 and probably ready to hang it up, anyway.

Thanks to all who commented. It was a real help.

Rick H
post #9 of 24
What is the reason you might need it Rick?
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
It is pretty loose and arthritic. The xrays look pretty grim. The reason the orthopedist is reluctant to replace it is there is not enough pain associated with it. What got me concerned was the knee would swell without any reason. So I will just plug along until it hurts pretty bad 24/7. Now when we have a powder day, I'll just wrap it with an Ace bandage.

Rick H
post #11 of 24
Rick, Have you determined what the fluid is? Be cautious that it is not blood, especially if you are having destructive failure of the joint. My knee failed when it began to bleed severely into the joint. good luck- 1oldbear
post #12 of 24
OK - is it bone/bone type arthritic? ie have you lost a bit of cartilage & is that what is causing you the pain?

My old bike riding buddy was your age (older in fact) & his knee was bone/bone - so you could hear it grind he tells me.... He had some red rooster comb extract stuff injected into the joint as a last resort to replacing the knee(which he did not want as he had had a triple bypass & a heart attack & the anaesthetic was a big risk).
It was supposed to last months - but last I saw him he was 2 years on & just starting to think to have it done again.

Oh & before anyone asks - he had a moped. & remember i can't ride a bike - so he was training me with him on moped & me on bike.
post #13 of 24

My own feeling is that it is you who needs to decide when the time for a replacment is right. No clinician can really do that for you as effectively as you can do it for yourself. I recommend you get adeqautely informed about the range of expected outcomes and durability/longevity issues to make a decision for yourself when balanced against discomfort, pain, loss of sleep, loss of functional activities (skiing being WAY up there of course), effects on mood, etc.

There are still many orthopods who believe in holding people off as long as possible to minimize the chance of ever needing a revision. With improved technologies, however, joint replacments are lasting longer. Thus, there has been a trend for more orthodpods to be less conservative in their recommendations.

Personally, I look at it very differently. As I lost functionaly abilities (skiing, hiking, tennis, etc.) with my hip (along with a considerable amount of pain which I considered to be a secondary issue the first time around - and something I'm not sure I feel the same way about the second time around) I decided that if I were only going to have 10 or so years of good function I'd rather have it starting at age 48 rather than later on. Additionally, with the new hip technologies (I have a ceramic on ceramic bearing surface) there is a good chance of having a MUCH longer life expectancy for the hip replacment. BTW, I an now at 5 years post replacement.

Having to face the same issues with the other hip I don't think I have the same level of endurance for pain, discomfort, loss of functional abilities, effects on mood, etc. the second time around.

I don't suggest you should feel as I do, only that it's worth becoming as informed as possible to make the best decision you can for yourself.

On another note, I have been taking glucosamine/chondroitin for many years. About 2 1/2 years ago I switched to a neutraceutical called Nutriex that contains gluc./chon. combined with other ingredients. While it is totally anecdotal, I was ready to get my other hip replaced in spring of 2003. It is now 2005 and I am still hanging in there with about the same level of symptoms (perhaps slightly less) then I had back them. Check Nutriex out.

Additionally, there are other therapies (i.e. hyaluronic acid) /surgeries (i.e. microfracture) that you might want to look into.
post #14 of 24
Rick (or others),

If you would like me send you a few articles on exercise after joint replacment let me know. I don't think the literature on this is all that good but it does give a starting point.
post #15 of 24
Si, I think you are under-reporting your qualifications with respect to this discussion...

I really like the fact that you are plugging info gathering and informed decision making - something often lacking in the medical decision making process. On the other hand, I know I'd pay close attention to your input on this subject.
post #16 of 24
Thanks Spindrift, now all I'm waiting for is someone to say the same thing about me on the instructional forum where I have been reminded a number of times that I didn't have credentials to validate my opinion.

More seriously, my point is that there are good information sources out there on total joint replacment and that the orthopods are influenced in their recommendations by their own values and biases. These may be quite different than the patient's so that I am just recommending the patients get informed and decide for themselves. In situations where a patient does not understand the medical issues there is little choice but to trust in the clinician and accept their recommendations.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Si and All,

After having my knee swell from bicycling, I made the appointment with the orthopod. It was smarting pretty bad at the time. In the three weeks from when I made the appointment, until I saw the doctor, the pain went from 7-8 to 0 on the day of the visit. I rode Monday in a 25mph wind and did a recovery ride yesterday(HR=95, Cad=80) Pain to day is 0. So, I think the orthopod was right in saying I am not ready. When I had my hip replaced, the pain level was 6-8 wirh medication. The knee is nowhere near that level. The swelling a month ago must have been inflammation caused by lack of riding for the winter. BTW I had the hip checked when I saw the orthopod. It was replaced in April 1996. It has around 700 days if skiing. It shows no wear or migration. The materials are titanium and teflon and is cementless.

Rick H
post #18 of 24
post #19 of 24

I'll think 2,3, probably 4 times.  But I'll still eventually need one.  Anyone had a partial and still skiing?

post #20 of 24
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

I'll think 2,3, probably 4 times.  But I'll still eventually need one.  Anyone had a partial and still skiing?

I have a good friend who's had a partial and is skiing like you wouldn't believe.


He's dealt with severe knee pain for several years and tried all sorts of alternate ideas in an attempt to avoid the drastic measure of (partial) replacement.  His problem involved bone-on-bone on the medial compartment of that knee, which as I understand it made him an ideal candidate for a partial replacement.  He's in his upper fifties, has skied at a very high level for 40 or more years, and is extraordinarily fit.


He's thrilled with the result of his partial.

post #21 of 24
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

I have a good friend who's had a partial and is skiing like you wouldn't believe.

Thanks Bob!
Sounds reassuring, well except the extraordinarily fit part.
I guess I'll have to work on that first.

How are your new Knees?
post #22 of 24
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

I have a good friend who's had a partial and is skiing like you wouldn't believe.



I'm here to ay that Bob Peters and his two new knees are skiing like you would't believe. Mind happily blown.  Seriously. 

post #23 of 24
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post


I'm here to ay that Bob Peters and his two new knees are skiing like you would't believe. Mind happily blown.  Seriously. 

Thanks, spin.  I really am very pleased so far.


I'm a lucky guy.

post #24 of 24

Hi Rick,

A friend of mine had a very successful TKR and is skiing happily now. He had his surgery from the most acclaimed orthopedic surgeon long island and is a lucky guy to have got such an expert doctor. Be very careful on the doctor you choose for your surgery as he must be specialized in the field and must have had a number of successful TKR surgeries in his record. The recovery and rehabilitation process plays a crucial role in helping you get back on your feet and resume an active lifestyle. It can help you heal from surgery faster and greatly improve your chances for long-term success. Post-knee replacement recovery and rehab period usually lasts about 12 weeks.

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