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Return to ski/snowboard racing following Total Knee Replacement?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if any of you could shed light on this.  I have not had knee replacement yet but I've been told it's the next step.  I tore my ACL in 1969 at a sky diving competition and had it repaired in 1997.  I've had two successive "tune ups" to correct torn meniscus.  My right knee is inclined inward 5.5 degrees and my Lange plug boot has been planed so much it won't stand up by itself.  Despite this I've had some success racing.

Yesterday I reinjured the knee in a volleyball game.  It's very stiff, sore, and swollen this morning but I'm optimistic things will be back to "normal" in a few weeks.  I have to face reality and I'm afraid that means knee replacement at some point in the next couple of years.  I know several folks who have had the procedure done and returned to active skiing with no problems but none of them are racers.  Do you know of any active racers who have maintained their level of ability after the procedure?
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
Followup to my own question.  I did a little more research on TKR (Total Knee Replacement) and I learned that patients can't participate in any impact activity following the procedure..  I've never been much of a runner but the idea of not being able to jog or play volleyball is disturbing.  Again, anyone have any experience with this?
post #3 of 23
http://www.concretedisciples.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=19&topic=2079&page=0#msg67336


Not skiing, but analogous. You're assuming a lot about the current knee though.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

http://www.concretedisciples.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=19&topic=2079&page=0#msg67336


Not skiing, but analogous. You're assuming a lot about the current knee though.
Thanks for the feedback.  I'm meeting with the Ortho next Wednesday.  Trying to remain optimistic....
post #5 of 23
Did I read on here that Weems Westfeldt returned from knee replacement to rip bumps mightily? Do you think the leg injury Hermann Maier overcame from mid-career motorcycle crash was equivalent to knee replacement? I have an age 60+ female cousin who returned to ski after knee replacement, but she is & was an intermediate. Best wishes on whatever course you take. You're an inspiration.
post #6 of 23
I think the only one who can tell him is his doctor.  My former boss had both knees replaced and it has NOT been that successful.  She is younger than I am and has since been to other doctors about it, they find nothing wrong with the operations, etc., but she is still in pain and hobbling, years later. 
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
They did an X Ray (an MRI would have been useless with the screw from the ACL in there) and told me normally they'd go in an clean up the cartilage..... except that I don't have any left.  I got a shot of cortisone and when the swelling goes down I'll get a shot of a lubricant that works like WD40 - it's good for about six months.  At some point I will need a knee replacement.  The good news is that the technology is getting better all the time. 
post #8 of 23
Don't despair, Pat.

I'd been unable to ski without pain, effectively ending my skiing, since my first knee surgery in 1981 for torn medial meniscus, a leftover from my rugby days.

Four years ago this January I had a bilateral (both at once) TKR. Next month I'll begin my third year patrolling (skiing 3-4 x wk) at a small hill outside Detroit.

What you can/can't, should/shouldn't do with TKR depends on several things:  your doctor, the type/brand device you receive and your fitness prior to the surgery.

Conventional wisdom for TKR patients is you can't do this or that and most doctors are very conservative. But my doctor, a true "sports medicine" specialist, said the only thing he wouldn't want me to do is run on hard surfaces.  Post-op, I found that I actually could run -- something I'd been unable to do since that first surgery left me unable to fully extend on knee, which effectively made that leg a tad shorter than the other one. This eventually began to limit my ability to walk and was starting to give me back/hip problems on that side.

Through the 80s and 90s, while my son and daughter were still at home, I couldn't ski w/o pain, so I rarely did more than once or twice a winter.  Unable to run, I'd turned to cycling to stay in shape, initially on a local trail on a mountain bike, then more avidly as a roadie since 2001, with total mileage some years between 4 and 5 thousand.

I'd know for many years I'd eventually need knee replacement but felt I couldn't jeopardize my job with a long rehab.
I was involuntarily retired in July 05, turned 60 that November and had the surgery the following January.  My doctor is the orthopedic consultant for Detroit pro teams and insists on patients doing all they can pre-op to get legs in shape and has you out of bed, back on your feet the same day as surgery.  The doc has a very rigorous rehab program, which I did 3 days a week with therapist, plus more at home, through April, when I was able to get back on my road bike.

He does the MIS (minimally invasive surgery) TKR.  That's where the knee replacement and all the surgical equipment are designed for installation through a four-inch incision over the patella.   This hastens re-hab significantly, compared to the old manner of TKR surgery, which a 12-14 inch incision through the quadricep.

Everyone's different, of course, and I've heard of TKR horror stories, including my much younger sister (her surgeon was the one I'd seen for years until finding the other guy 2-3 months before my surgery). I have brother-in-law a couple years older who flew back from Scottsdale for a double TKR from my surgeon 6 weeks after my TKRs.

In the mid-60s, he was one of our local ski bums, went to college summer school so he could spend winter semester in Colorado.  So he was a big-time skier back in the day, but hadn't skiied for probably 10-12 years prior to his TKR, tho my sister (different one) still does. They've also got a place in Breck, but BIL won't ski because he doesn't want to risk anything, tho he's got a road bike and cycles regularly.

Last quick point, I'd ridden with a club several years and done some limited racing. Everyone who rides eventually has a fall and cycling shoes/pedals are clipped in (like ski bindings).  So I asked my doc, what happens if I were to take a fall on my bike and not "clip out" in time, landing on my knee.  So, he says, you land on your knee. It's not going to break.

I've also taken some falls skiing, since my on-hill SP training requires that I learn to ski all over again, unlearning my old knees and boots together style from the 60s and 70s.

Bottom line: TKR doesn't mean your skiing/riding days are done. Dunno about racing but that probably depends on how good a shape you're in prior to the surgery.  If your surgeon says you can't ski after a TKR, find another surgeon.  Mine is an ex-jock, looks 10 years younger than his actual age (late 30s) and understands that a lot of his patients don't want to get rid of an active lifestyle, just the pain.

When I called his office a year post-op to ask if the doc had any qualms about me skiing and joining the ski patrol, they said, "Nope. But be sure to send us a picture for our archives."

Good luck, Pat.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CycleBob View Post


 


Bob, Thanks for taking the time for that great post.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
CycleBob - Thanks!  That gives me a lot of encouragement. 

I still need to get though this season and it looks like Cortisone isn't going to get the job done.  I've asked for the injectable lubricant.  The procedure needs prior approval from my insurance company so I hope they don't give me any grief.  There is a series of three injections and I can't wait to get 'em.  Climbing stairs now results in a very audible popping sound with each step.
post #11 of 23
I had my left knee replaced in April 2007. I was skiing on it winter 2007/08. I had no pain in the knee, Early the following winter, I hit a hole in the manmade and my right knee was really painful, so much so that I had to quit skiing. That was not acceptable, so Jan 5, 2009, I had the right knee replaced. It was difficult not to ski that season, but I was told by my physical therapist that I should attempt skiing for at least 9 months, to let the bone heal completely.

I skied yesterday at Loveland!! I was totally pain free. I was able to carve turns like never before. My wife, who had both knees replaced in '07, said I was skiing better than she had ever seen. I skied Spillway and Richard's with no effort. I was getting more edge angle than ever before. The surgery and rehab were really worth the effort. And the 6 hours, plus, a week of cycling, really paid off.

Cheers....Rick H
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick H View Post

I had my left knee replaced in April 2007. I was skiing on it winter 2007/08. I had no pain in the knee, Early the following winter, I hit a hole in the manmade and my right knee was really painful, so much so that I had to quit skiing. That was not acceptable, so Jan 5, 2009, I had the right knee replaced. It was difficult not to ski that season, but I was told by my physical therapist that I should attempt skiing for at least 9 months, to let the bone heal completely.

I skied yesterday at Loveland!! I was totally pain free. I was able to carve turns like never before. My wife, who had both knees replaced in '07, said I was skiing better than she had ever seen. I skied Spillway and Richard's with no effort. I was getting more edge angle than ever before. The surgery and rehab were really worth the effort. And the 6 hours, plus, a week of cycling, really paid off.

Cheers....Rick H

What a great story!  I hope you'll post some ski video of the new you sometime. Would be inspiring for many of us who might have this procedure in our future.
post #13 of 23
RickH.....you Rock!  I'm glad that works for you! 

Hey, I have some very funny video of our group skiing a bump run at Brighton in 2003 at the first ESA.   PM me if you want a copy (if I can get it to copy, that is!)
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick H View Post

I had my left knee replaced in April 2007. I was skiing on it winter 2007/08. I had no pain in the knee, Early the following winter, I hit a hole in the manmade and my right knee was really painful, so much so that I had to quit skiing. That was not acceptable, so Jan 5, 2009, I had the right knee replaced. It was difficult not to ski that season, but I was told by my physical therapist that I should attempt skiing for at least 9 months, to let the bone heal completely.

I skied yesterday at Loveland!! I was totally pain free. I was able to carve turns like never before. My wife, who had both knees replaced in '07, said I was skiing better than she had ever seen. I skied Spillway and Richard's with no effort. I was getting more edge angle than ever before. The surgery and rehab were really worth the effort. And the 6 hours, plus, a week of cycling, really paid off.

Cheers....Rick H
Very encouraging!  Thanks for sharing. 

Each day my knee feels a little better but it still locks up occasionally.  I really would like that lubricant injection but the insurance company is holding me up (along with five other patients) and patience is wearing a little thin.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by patmoore View Post



Very encouraging!  Thanks for sharing. 

Each day my knee feels a little better but it still locks up occasionally.  I really would like that lubricant injection but the insurance company is holding me up (along with five other patients) and patience is wearing a little thin.

 

Pat,

I do not wish to minimize treatments, but I did not get that much out of HA, the lubricant. I just bit the bullet and had the damned thing replaced. A much better alternative.

Cheers...Rick H
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
It's now two months later and I managed to twist my left knee (the good one!) while pacesetting the NASTAR course at Okemo a week ago Sunday.  I had an MRI late Wednesday night and awaited the results.  When I didn't hear anything I raced at the NASTAR Open at WIndham in NY this past weekend.  It went pretty well - I won my age group on both boarding and skiing.  

On Monday I realized my cell phone wasn't showing voicemails so I called ATT.  After resetting my iPhone I was able to retrieve the message from the ortho telling me not to ski or even walk on the leg.  MRI revealed torn meniscus, ACL, and a bone fracture.   Oh well.....
post #17 of 23

Ha - Good one on him! 
Bad one on you though.  Sorry to hear that.  Get well soon (again?)  


 

post #18 of 23

Please please tell me who your surgeon is! I need a TKR and want to be sure I can stay active (snowboarding, running, cycling).

 

THank you,

 

Vickie

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkyboo View Post

 I need a TKR and want to be sure I can stay active (snowboarding, running, cycling).

 

 

Most discourage running, but the other two shouldn't be too much of a problem.  Were are you?

post #20 of 23

In January of 2007 I had my left kne totally replaced

In January of 2008 I had my right knee fully replaced

I was 43 and 44 yrs old when the surgerys took place

In 2010, after 2 great years with my new knees, I took up skiing again after 20 years of no skiing due to knee pain.

4 years later, Im skiiing 8-10 full days per season, taking lessons, skiing fast and more aggressive slopes and loving it

Only pain I have is from a lower back issue

I have never discussed this with my surgeon, mostly because my rehab went so well that I no longer have follow up appointments

Big key is being in fairly good shape going in to surgery and rehabbing HARD especially for the first 6 weeks after surgery

Hope this helps some of you make that decision.

DD

post #21 of 23

Wow! That is encouraging. Congrats on returning to skiing - gives me hope :) I'm going to try a brace for a while that will shift the weight to the outside of the knee where I still have some cartilage. It will be fitted today. I hope to stall the TKR as long as possible. We'll see. Thanks for the reply!
 

post #22 of 23

I had a TKR of the right knee in early May, 2012. At the end of June I had my right rotator cuff and bicep repaired.  In late August I had my hammertoes repaired on the right foot; in early October, I had the hammertoes repaired on my left foot.  The 3 middle toes were done on each foot.  My ski boots fit marvelously now, no pain.

 

I had very little pain from the actual operation.  I used a walker for about a week indoors and about 2 weeks outdoors, then graduated to a cane.  By the third week I was walking around the house unaided, and by the fourth week I was able to drive and I pretty much abandoned the cane.

 

You will have some pain, however, if you rehab aggressively.  I recommend it if you want to get back to full function.

 

Based on the TKR, I could have started skiing in early November.  However, the second hammertoe repair had not adequately healed until early December.

 

I have skied about 16 days so far this season.  My hubby says I'm skiing better than I have in years.

 

If you can do some skiing this season, I recommend you do so, then have the TKR in the spring.  Allow yourself about 6 months of rehab before the new ski season.  Make sure the surgeon understands your goals for your new knee.  Do your rehab and you won't miss the pain next season.

 

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about my "summer of surgery".

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by patmoore View Post

I was wondering if any of you could shed light on this.  I have not had knee replacement yet but I've been told it's the next step.  I tore my ACL in 1969 at a sky diving competition and had it repaired in 1997.  I've had two successive "tune ups" to correct torn meniscus.  My right knee is inclined inward 5.5 degrees and my Lange plug boot has been planed so much it won't stand up by itself.  Despite this I've had some success racing.

Yesterday I reinjured the knee in a volleyball game.  It's very stiff, sore, and swollen this morning but I'm optimistic things will be back to "normal" in a few weeks.  I have to face reality and I'm afraid that means knee replacement at some point in the next couple of years.  I know several folks who have had the procedure done and returned to active skiing with no problems but none of them are racers.  Do you know of any active racers who have maintained their level of ability after the procedure?


How did you go with the TKR ? Have you done it ? When did you try having your meniscus trim on your knee reconstructed knee ? I am going for knee reco in 2 days time with both meniscus to be repaired.

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