or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Skiing with knee replacement surgery

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'm 49 and both of my knees are shot. I need knee replacements for both knees in the next 1-2 years. My doctor says no skiing afterward (maybe very easy green runs). I just wondered who else has gone through this and what they've done.
post #2 of 37
I have a friend in his 70's doing some wicked rough hikes with two new knees. He didn't ski much the first season, but did the second.
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
I have a friend in his 70's doing some wicked rough hikes with two new knees. He didn't ski much the first season, but did the second.
Same here... A friend in his 70's skiing again without problems. My dad is 86 & although he no longer skis, he is high kicking, playing golf & walking fine after knee replacement last year.


JF
post #4 of 37
There are regulars here with knee and/or hip replacements (some with bilateral replacements) who not only ski, but do so very aggressively.

That said, there may be other reasons for the doctor's opinion YOU should not ski afterward such as diminished bone structure. It's unusual for someone your age to be in such a dire need. Or maybe you should consult a different surgeon.
post #5 of 37
Kneale's thoughts are what I was thinking. One lesson I have learned it to ask a lot of questions and if you are an active person, make sure the doctor is also active or has an extensive background/experience with athletic and active people. I have found that if dr.'s aren't skiers or who can't relate because they are not athletic, they tend to give you stock answers. I just went through this where the doctor suggested I stop skiing due to my history of injuries. BS, don't take that answer unless it's from someone who knows you and understands what you are trying to achieve.
post #6 of 37
It's not about whether the doctor is active or not.

Look up periprosthetic fracture.... That's the reason doctors tell you not to ski with many types of joint replacements. It's an absolute disaster to put one of these back together, and in most cases this type of injury results in varying degrees of long-term disability.

There's also a loss of proprioception with knee replacements - which should give one pause re. skiing anything other than easy groomed runs.

Unfortunately it's not unusual to see patients around 50 who have advanced arthritis - requiring consideration of joint replacement. However, the OP may want to consider (discuss with your surgeon) an osteotomy as a bridging procedure if malalignment is part of the problem.
post #7 of 37

have great lawyer friend in Hailey Idaho, had both knees done same time, still wins or top ten in all sun valley opens, just do not fall, and have good release bindings and a lot of rum.

post #8 of 37

I would be interested to meet this person, I am having my first of two (they won't do both at the same time) knees this coming Tuesday and have lots of friend with one knee or hip still racing, but not both.  Any chance you could get him to send me any tips or caveats?

Thanks!

post #9 of 37

Everyone knows a person who has had replacements, but no one has had one. Well, I have two, as does my wife. I am 75 and she is 64 and we both ski quite aggressively. We can ski all groomed black runs and blue bump runs. Our docs told us that they could not tell us we can ski, but told us a lot of patients do, and let it go at that. One thing that we try not to do is use rotary movements in turning, ie, steering. Without getting into details, it can be done and with high efficiency. We let the skis do the work.

 

Rick H

post #10 of 37

I ski with my right knee replacement. My surgeon, Dr Stephen Murphy from New England Baptist Hospital says it's "okay, but stay off the bumps". Everyone is different, just because I can, doesn't mean the next guy can. This is one of those procedures where everyone is different and has a different recovery too.

 

A pretty straight forward replacement and being in good shape otherwise and a good recovery and you should be able to get out there and get the fresh air, don't be planning on being "eat rocks for breakfast" aggressive, leave that to the younger, healthier crowd. Enjoy the fresh air, scenery and some exercise.

 

Ski safe and don't over do it.

post #11 of 37
Thank you for the note, wow bit of you have bilateral TKR! I am 4 days post op and admire you both!
Have a great season!
post #12 of 37

I got on the lift late this afternoon at Breckenridge and started chatting with my chair mate. Said he'd just about had enough and was going to call it a day after the next run. Had a bad knee that was bothering him; was going to have it replaced this spring. His other knee had been replaced previously, was rock solid, not bothering him at all.

 

BTW, that last run would be his 16th! He'd been skiing all over the peaks all day!

 

And, he'd was 74, and had been skiing for 47 years!  ( We're all 18 inside, regardless of what the calendar says! ;-)

 

I asked if he was a Bear - sadly no - but a great inspiration nonetheless!

 

Plainsman, I hope your operation goes well and you will be able to ski for decades to come!

post #13 of 37

It is great to read all of the posts about people skiing after a knee replacement.

 

I have skied all of my life and taught all of my children to ski about the time they could walk.  Now I have to have a knee replacement. I have been fighting with this knee since I was 17 and I am finally faced with either getting a knee replacement or not being able to walk at age 54.  

 

I really want to ski after the replacement. I asked my doctor and he said that it was more dangerous to ski with a knee replacement but there were a lot of dangerous things. If I was careful I should be able to ski on the easier slopes.  I have not skied the double black diamonds or even black diamonds for years so I am happy with the blue squares if I can ski.

 

I have been really worried about this so was glad to find this forum.

 

Thank you all.

post #14 of 37

Thanks to everyone who was brave enough to ski after TKR  i was looking around on the internetand found your comments i am facing this and would like to think i will be able to continue to ski for a while longer blue is fine with me, runs, and blue skies can't give  up skiing just yet. Got to get the grandkids going!     Thanks

post #15 of 37

I went to a memorial for a ski patroller recently in Aspen.  The number of attendees that have had some type of replacement was quite extraordinary.

Many of these people were patrollers or instructors and still ski at a very high level.

post #16 of 37

Doctors tend to be cautious but it could be a function of the age at which you need replacements. They unfortunately don't last forever, and probably less so with the amount of activity. I believe they cannot be done more than a couple of times - at least this is what I have heard for full hips. If you look at the repsonses and the age of the those who have had the procedure, they appear to be at least 15-20 years older than you are. It may be that if you ski now and wear them out "prematurely" that come later on 20-25 years from now and you have already had them replaced, that you might not be able to get them done again. Worth asking the question(s).

post #17 of 37

Let me know how it goes. I'm in the same boat, I just had a MRI today and am researching to find out if I should have a bilateral or not. I'm your age and can't live without skiing.

post #18 of 37

Just to chime in on the encouraging side...

 

I've been around Jackson Hole for a lot of years.  That means I and a lot of the people I've skied with for decades are all getting on in years and we're all dealing with the cumulative results of TMB (Too Many Birthdays).

 

I honestly know probably 20 people who are skiing regularly on total knee replacements, many of them on both knees.  Most of them were aggressive skiers before the knee replacement(s) and continue to be aggressive skiers.  One is still guiding heli-skiing trips.  Another skis almost every day of the season all over the mountain - bumps, chutes, groomers, crud, etc.  It's definitely an activity that doesn't necessarily have to be abandoned after knee replacement.

 

One thing that I think is very important is overall conditioning.  The people I know who are skiing aggressively after knee replacements take their physical conditioning very seriously.  They work hard to get in shape before the surgery and then work really hard on physical therapy and conditioning afterward.  

 

Here's a couple of photos of a friend of mine this past winter.  At the time of these photos, he's approximately 15 months out from double total knee replacements and about 24 months out from a hip replacement:

 

 

 

He just turned 69, by the way.  cool.gif

 

 

post #19 of 37

I don't want to discourage anyone from skiing, but just want to give my 2 cents from a Biomechanics perspective on what I know about joint replacements.

 

The body is a wonderfully adaptive machine and responds to stresses well. However, there is a bit of sad irony that happens after a joint replacement. First, you get a wonderful solid new implant that can withstand incredible forces. The pain is gone since the parts that could have felt pain are gone. However, the bones do not take as much of the forces so over a long period of time they can become less dense since these foreign materials are absorbing the impact. Any friction between the implant and the bone can slowly break it down. In time, this can cause minute loosening of implant that you may not even notice. My point is, that a lot of people I know feel great and never do the requested follow-up xrays. Please don't neglect these. If a doctor sees some loosening in the early stages, it is easier to fix than having to deal with another joint replacement. A revision TKR is a lot more complicated than the first.

post #20 of 37

Bilateral total knee arthroplasties performed July 2013, skied today (29 November 2013). Started on greens and finished on blues. Age 64. Totally pleased.

post #21 of 37

I had partial knee replacements (not total replacements yet) on both knees in May of 2012 at age 60. I became a tele skier 8 years ago due to knee pain. Tele skiing was easier on my knees after years of alpine ski racing. Being very bowlegged added to my problems. Due to recurring pain mainly from hiking and climbing, I had the partial knee replacements. Last year I continued on with tele skiing and still do it most every day with no problems. This includes steep chutes, moguls, powder and whatever. I even found that I can ski alpine again with no problem although I still prefer tele. Hiking and climbing also are no longer problems. I do have a friend that had a total knee replacement and he skis better now than before. So, find a good surgeon, get in shape, and get it done sooner than later if you're in a lot of discomfort.    

post #22 of 37

Dang this old posts.

post #23 of 37
I've just had my pre op assessment and should have the op on my right knee at the end of April! I ski with a group of friends and have had to be very careful for the last 6 or 7 years due to the problem I have with my right knee.
I am still able to play some 5 a side football, ride my bike for fitness and play cricket. I've given up running as it caused too much swelling and pain in the knee.
It's great to read so many accounts of people returning to skiing. I plan to do the same! I just want to get this op and rehab out of the way! As with many other posts here, the doctors all say no skiing! Well, one life, hey!!I've just had my pre op assessment and should have the op on my right knee at the end of April! I ski with a group of friends and have had to be very careful for the last 6 or 7 years due to the problem I have with my right knee.
I am still able to play some 5 a side football, ride my bike for fitness and play cricket. I've given up running as it caused too much swelling and pain in the knee.
It's great to read so many accounts of people returning to skiing. I plan to do the same! I just want to get this op and rehab out of the way! As with many other posts here, the doctors all say no skiing! Well, one life, hey!!


post #24 of 37

I just joined this wonderful site and look forward to participating.  This thread induced me to sign up. For the last several years, when I ski, I do have pain in one knee and am considering whether to pull the trigger to have it replaced.  I am 57, slim, and have been skiing since 13.  I have had two scrapings done to it over the years due to sports injuries and a recent x-ray shows that it is bone on bone on the outer side of the joint.  It rally doesn't bother me all that much otherwise (unless I use it alot, but I don't run or play tennis though), but it is definitely impacting my skiing which I dearly love. Before setting out for the ski day I wrap it in a brace and take a couple of Alleve.  Nonetheless, the pressure on it during nearly every turn causes pain to the point of having to ski mostly on blues, take a long lunch and quit early.  I ski pretty well, have greater ability and enjoy harder stuff, but I see the condition will only get worse as it has year by year.  Anyhow, I am glad to hear others have had success and wonder if I am ready for such a surgery and whether it is worth the risk.

post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knottyfisher View Post
 

I just joined this wonderful site and look forward to participating.  This thread induced me to sign up. For the last several years, when I ski, I do have pain in one knee and am considering whether to pull the trigger to have it replaced.  I am 57, slim, and have been skiing since 13.  I have had two scrapings done to it over the years due to sports injuries and a recent x-ray shows that it is bone on bone on the outer side of the joint.  It rally doesn't bother me all that much otherwise (unless I use it alot, but I don't run or play tennis though), but it is definitely impacting my skiing which I dearly love. Before setting out for the ski day I wrap it in a brace and take a couple of Alleve.  Nonetheless, the pressure on it during nearly every turn causes pain to the point of having to ski mostly on blues, take a long lunch and quit early.  I ski pretty well, have greater ability and enjoy harder stuff, but I see the condition will only get worse as it has year by year.  Anyhow, I am glad to hear others have had success and wonder if I am ready for such a surgery and whether it is worth the risk.

 

Hi, Knotty.

 

I agree with you that this thread has been very helpful.

 

I'm pretty much in the same boat, except that I have both knees going on.  Bone-on-bone on both knees, each one more on the outside of the joint like you.  I alpine ski a lot - today was my 115th day of skiing either all or part of the day this season here at Jackson Hole.  I'm also very active during the summer with biking, hiking, and hike/wade fishing.  For the last six weeks or so, I've been having a great deal of pain in both knees, particularly on the outside.  It's definitely affected the WAY I ski and HOW LONG I ski, so I feel it's time to do something.

 

Up until yesterday, I had made up my mind to get total knee replacement on each knee, probably in May or June (my surgeon is already fully scheduled for April).  Yesterday, I had a cortisone shot in each knee and it's made a world of difference in just 24 hours.  I can actually walk up and down steps without flinching on every step now and I didn't feel nearly as much pain while skiing today.

 

I really DON'T want to replace the knees right now and I may see if the cortisone (and perhaps hyalgan) can help me postpone it for one more year.  The counter to that is that every strong skier I know here in Jackson who has had knee replacements tells me they're deliriously happy with the result and wish they had done it sooner.   

 

I'm really on the fence and don't know exactly what I'll do.  I definitely feel that if I postpone it, I'm just postponing the inevitable, but I am not sure I've made the full emotional commitment to have my "natural" knees go away yet.

 

If I DO decide to go ahead with tkr, I'm going to post a thread about my experiences much the way I did in this thread about fusion of the big toe joint.  Unfortunately for me, I have osteoarthritis in a bunch of different joints and the knees are just part of the story.

 

Anyway, I hope you'll keep us posted on your journey.

post #26 of 37

Knee joint is the most vulnerable part of body for sustaining injury while skiing.I think your Doctor is correct.After knee replacement it takes few months or even years for your knee to gain complete sensation and you will face severe pain for long time.

post #27 of 37

Hi Knotty,

 

Another confused and indecisive skier in that same boat! I have no cartilage on the medial side of my left knee from severe arthritis. I ski about 60 days per season, I am 66 and now have the luxury to be a real ski bum. This season I have skied successfully using a medial unloading brace prescribed by a sports medicine doc. But, I have cut my slope time back considerably. I totally relate to the "long lunch" scenario. The pain is tolerable while skiing but the rest of the day it's elevation, ice packs, lots of stiffness and pain. I am also concerned that my high activity level is causing the joint to deform - bone spurs and maybe more bow-legged. This can be more problematic for the surgeon and me when I do opt for the total knee.

 

I have been working out like crazy trying to keep the leg muscles strong. I recently had a cortisone injection and it has helped considerably. And, I am scheduled for a hyalgan injection  in a couple weeks. Hoping it works well although in severe arthritis it is less effective generally, still individual results vary. If I opt for the surgery this year, late May is the first available time frame, a little late for my liking. Think 9 months of healing time before skiing is preferred - that new implant is more protected. I am thinking that I will try to hack it through another ski season - see how things go, if things seem to be going downhill - I 'll schedule the big surgery for April, 2015. I am actually still "surgeon shopping" , looking for the best orthopedic facility. Supportive services - anesthesia, aggressive PT, a dedicated joint replacement staff mean a lot. Feel I need to be in the right place for an athletic gal.

 

It's heartening to hear that other skiers are overwhelmingly  happy with "new knees". I still have trouble imagining the sensation of turning that ski with a joint made of metal and plastic........shutter, shutter. And, I am concerned that my high activity level will result in mechanical breakdown - artificial just ain't like Mother Nature's model.

 

Keep us posted. Hope that you continue to do well with non-surgical interventions.

post #28 of 37

Thanks for your concern and sharing Skimaniac3.  I do have pain at times walking stairs.  It would be great if we could hear from more members on this board who have had a knee replaced and the results.  In the meantime, I do wonder about what might likely be required before such an operation. I have had two cartilage scraping surgeries but no cortisone or hyalgen treatments. What symptoms does a doctor need to recommend the replacement procedure? Might an insurance company require a period or more of cortisone therapy before approving a replacement?  Would welcome comments. 

post #29 of 37

Bob, Knotty, and maniac3 there is another option, stem cell therapy using your own fat.

 

Here is my story.

I started instructing at Afton Alps MN in December of 2012 to keep myself active in retirement as I had turned 65 in May 2012. In January 2013 I had Synvisc injections and they got me through ski season but by the end of June they had worn off and was thinking of doing them again for the next ski season. I started researching alternatives and found SVC stem cell therapy and after a great deal more research made the decision to try it since the option of TKR was always available in the future.

This is my starting point, the following is from the radiologist report of the pre-procedure MRI.
Right knee: Medial compartment chondromalacia with femoral condylar moderately large area of articular cartilage erosion and thinning. Mild to moderate tibial plateau involvement. Semilunar subcortical areas of T1 signal loss with minimal subcortical edema likely reflecting areas of bony sclerotic changes.
Left knee: Femoral condylar articular cartilage erosion medial compartment moderately severe. Joint space narrowing. No significant osteonecrosis. Horizontal oblique tear posterior horn medial meniscus. Lateral compartment preserved.

I had the SVC stem cell therapy done on August 16, 2013. Fat is liposuctioned from your mid section and your own stem cells are distilled from it. A blood draw is also done and centrifuged to get pallet rich plasma, PRP. The stem cells are mixed with the PRP; the stem cells are the seeds, the PRP is the fertilizer. I had additional PRP injections at 2 weeks and 4 weeks post procedure. My doctor is doing at least one knee therapy a week and has even done his own shoulder so he is a believer. 
By two weeks post procedure there was almost no pain at night in bed and a noticeable reduction in pain when walking stairs. I have almost a half acre of lawn to mow with a walk behind mower which takes over an hour, there was no swelling after I finished.
6 weeks post procedure, I drove 5 hours to a weekend car club event. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent walking around and working in the paddock. Sunday evening was a 5 hour drive home. There was no knee pain during the drive and I didn't have to pry myself out of the seat once I got home. Monday there was no pain or swelling. This is a vast improvement over the previous year.

 

Here is one slide from a follow-up MRI done November 13, 2013 with comments from the radiologist.

 

 

 

March 9 of this year, at the age of 66, I received my PISA level 1 certification.

Unfortunately, I have had a set back. I January while trying to help a student up I was pulled over, twisted my left knee and tore the meniscus again.

I am having another MRI in April and will consult with my doctor on further therapy. Maybe I'll have to have knee replacement in the future but I plan on fighting it as long as possible.

Stem cell therapy may be an alternative and maybe not but TKR is not reversible.

post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
 

 Yesterday, I had a cortisone shot in each knee and it's made a world of difference in just 24 hours.  I can actually walk up and down steps without flinching on every step now and I didn't feel nearly as much pain while skiing today.

 

 

 

Probably the effect of the Procaine they mix with the cortisone. How are your knee's today?  If you have TKR will you return to Steadman/Hawkins or have it done locally?

 

I'm in the same boat with OA in several joints.  I've had three series of Hyaluronate (Orthovisc) over the years and it helped, but has become less effective each subsequent time.

I had a cortisone shot in January and I don't think it's been as effective as the Orthovisc.

 

I would like to try the Stem Cells.   But insurance doesn't cover it, it's expensive and almost all of the Doctors that offer it aren't Orthopedist. Most seem to be cosmetic surgeons and that in itself kind of scares me off.

 

RCC55125: I do appreciate your post and please keep posting your results.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: