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Told to get both knees replaced and no more skiing :(

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I am bummed. As an intermediate skiier, but one that has planned to do more when retired, I am now faced with the possibility of never skiing again. I just cannot think about it. Am 55, average health, but had a menicus tear in both knees about six years apart. Both were scoped and pain was greatly relieved. Somehow throughout all of this my IT bands, hams and quad are extremely tight. Been exercising 3-4 week, stretching daily to try to get them back. While I feel less pain after excercising, the next day it starts all over again. I have been told that I have advance stages  of osteoarthritis. It is like a 'switch' has been turned on to make it worsen over the last few months. I am trying to find a doctor that will look at the 'whole' picture. Do you know that not one of the drs I have been too, has even ask me to walk!

post #2 of 25

You need to track down a sports medicine physician, not sure what their specific title is in the US. It's a general doctor, but with extra training in musculo-skeletal issues.  A normal family doctor will always (well, mostly) default to "take ibuprofen and stop moving".

 

Most people your age have Osteo in their knees and most other joints. Keen sports people will have it even earlier, it's normal. Wear and tear. Plus if you've had injuries, that hastens Osteo developing.

 

A sports doctor will focus on what's causing the issues, then on fixing and controlling them, with the outcome being that you keep moving.

 

The tight IT stuff will probably need physical therapy, and sadly, will probably require deep tissue massage to get them to the stage where they'll respond to stretching etc. This hurts like hell.  And this will probably be worked in as part of the whole treatment... tight IT can pull your kneecaps off-track, to the outside of the knee, so the caps are rubbing on bone and that causes pain whenever you try to rise from a squat position (horrible for skiing!).

 

Find a good sports doctor, and you'll get some hope.

post #3 of 25

You could start by telling us where you are and then maybe someone will know where to refer you.

post #4 of 25

Specifically regarding your complaints about tight IT bands, quads and hamstrings, you might consider using self myofascial release techniques (SMRT)  on a bio-foam roller.  I use a foam roller daily, and find it to be most beneficial.  A ton of information can be obtained on this by means of an internet search.  Just to keep your spirit up, my father is in his sixties, has had bilateral knee replacement and still skis. 

post #5 of 25

Foam rolling is great and a must do.

But to really get those tissues( IT band) to change you'll need to up the ante.

Get a piece of pvc pipe 3' or 4" diameter. Also make sure that you spend time rolling laterally.

Think of your muscle fibers like a handful of pencils.You want to roll them back and forth so they slide and glide freely.

Also get a lacrosse ball. Roll around on that, find all your ills  .Use it on your hips,shoulders ,calfs quads,etc. .

Also think of stretching more as mobilizing.

most stretching that people do is ineffective. Especially IT band & hamstrings.,these are hugely strong tissues.

post #6 of 25

I can't speak for your conditions, but I'm getting back into skiing after serious knee and leg injuries.

 

I used to ski 50+ days / year - everything everywhere, and a lot of stupid stuff frequently. 

 

Fast forward almost a decade of no skiing due to two blown ACLs and a shattered - and plated - tib / fib and I'm aiming to get back in the game.

 

Left ACL has never been fixed, but that leg is fairly strong.  Right ACL was repaired, but is gone again and the leg is weak - i wear a brace on this leg.

 

Knee pain has been high, stability and strength are no where close to what they once were and while the skills came back fast, the confidence, power and endurance are severely lacking.  That being said, I'm having fun.

 

I would recommend the following (most of what has already been said):

 

Find yourself these good friends:

Sports Med doctor (forget GPs - they are useless here and defer to the lowest common denominator).

Sports oriented Physiotherapist (again, forget the general "car accident" and hospital occupational types - they are worthless for you)

Kick ass Massage therapist (could be your physio if they are "hands on").  You will NEED some nasty tissue work as another poster mentioned above.  This will suck the first time you get it done, but will get better with repeated sessions

 

Incorporate flexibility and strength training into your routine:

I do Pilates on a regular basis: this or Yoga will be very helpful, though the benefits won't be obviously for about 6-12 months

Free weights make a big difference for me here - getting a good program worked out would be probably be a good idea.

 

Some cardio would probably be good as well...

 

Anyway, i guess what i'm saying is get your fitness up to as high a level as it can be.  This will probably allow you to ski.  Also, there are a LOT of skiers out there without ACLs (I'm one of them) who either use braces or are just strong enough to make do without that annoying ligament  :)

 

Oh ya - for me ICING is super important.  In fact, to ski day after day, I pretty much have to do the hot tub / bury my knees in snow program after skiing to keep the swelling down.  Hopefully this will improve as I get stronger...

 

Of course - this is all just my opinion.  Get the right specialists involved to help you get back on track and to set realistic goals.

 

Good luck!!!

 

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kblank View Post

I am bummed. As an intermediate skiier, but one that has planned to do more when retired, I am now faced with the possibility of never skiing again. I just cannot think about it. Am 55, average health, but had a menicus tear in both knees about six years apart. Both were scoped and pain was greatly relieved. Somehow throughout all of this my IT bands, hams and quad are extremely tight. Been exercising 3-4 week, stretching daily to try to get them back. While I feel less pain after excercising, the next day it starts all over again. I have been told that I have advance stages  of osteoarthritis. It is like a 'switch' has been turned on to make it worsen over the last few months. I am trying to find a doctor that will look at the 'whole' picture. Do you know that not one of the drs I have been too, has even ask me to walk!


You need to talk to Weems.  He's had a knee replacement and rips!

 

post #8 of 25

Wasn't that two knees he had replaced? All I know is that at Big Sky the year before with the bad knees his only stipulation was "no hiking". Not a problem at Big Sky.

Then the next year he was back with new knees and skiing amazingly smoothly.

 

I once had a tight IT band and a friend recommended an Osteopath. Went to her once and she pretty much fixed it along with her recommendations. She was actually too effective for her own good since I never went back. Yours sounds much tighter though. 

post #9 of 25

I agree with the roller, and especially Ant's suggestion to find the doc that gets it that you're heading back to the slopes.

 

My history:  only one knee replaced.  It was amazing.  Last season was really full on, and very comfortable.  Some minor limitations, but bumps weren't one of those.

 

However, I've had a long history of back issues.  Last month, I got three verts fused and a spinal cord decompression in two of those and another.  (The doc said my spinal cord constriction was "impressive"!)  

 

Now I'm waiting for the bone grafts to heal so that I can replace my left hip.  

 

After all that, if my other hip and knee don't need work, I'm good to go for about 30 years.  I'm 65 now.  So that should suffice!

 

My point is that people do back flips to avoid replacement surgery.  At the same time the quality of the work improves yearly if you get the right people.  They're even developing partials that work pretty good for younger folks (because so far a second total on the same joint apparently is not such a good thing...don't know why.)

 

Us folks in our sixties and maybe late fifties are perfect candidates because we're young enough to withstand the surgeries and do the rehab and get the painless mileage on the new joints, but old enough so that they should last until Palin's death panel chases me down.

 

So I went out to Factory and Army Surplus and bought all new joints.  And my friend Squatty has some back-up parts from an elk he shot this year.  He's got power tools too, so he's gonna put 'em in one by one!

 

GET IT FIXED.  The arthritis does not get better.

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by loboskis View Post

Foam rolling is great and a must do.

But to really get those tissues( IT band) to change you'll need to up the ante.

Get a piece of pvc pipe 3' or 4" diameter. Also make sure that you spend time rolling laterally.

Think of your muscle fibers like a handful of pencils.You want to roll them back and forth so they slide and glide freely.

Also get a lacrosse ball. Roll around on that, find all your ills  .Use it on your hips,shoulders ,calfs quads,etc. .

Also think of stretching more as mobilizing.

most stretching that people do is ineffective. Especially IT band & hamstrings.,these are hugely strong tissues.

 

 


Oh ya - I wanted to add that I totally agree with the body rolling comments too.  Not a lot of fun, but good for working out deep seated problems without a massage therapist...

post #11 of 25

I have two knee replacements and I can ski painlessly. Don't put it off. The only restrictions are jumping and running.

 

Rick H

post #12 of 25

Weems, yes use the Elk Parts, high quality stuff BUT don't let Squatty do the implant - he's usually off a little.

 

 

Good advice here - follow it.  There are some great doctors in Tahoe and elsewhere that will make it very possible for you to ski again. Doctor Browning in tahoe scoped my R knee years ago and did a great job and he is a big time BC skier and since I blew the cart. up  while on my bike he told me to ski for rehab since he always told skiers with knee operations to bike and spin.

post #13 of 25

I'm thinking that Mt.Goat parts would be better than elk.

post #14 of 25

Wise choice loboskis!biggrin.gif

post #15 of 25

I just wanted to add that our ski school is populated in art by cyborgs. They may sound like Robocop when they walk, but they do get out and ski every day. So knee replacements are not the end of the world.

post #16 of 25

I rode up the chairlift a few years ago with someone who had both knees replaced and he was raving about great his knees felt as he was swinging his legs instead of using the foot rests and talking about how great it was to be back on skis.

post #17 of 25
I finally had my knee replaced 4 weeks ago after 40 years of skiing and racing, 4 back surgeries and 5 major knee surgeries. I just met online my hero! She is a ski instructor from Montana who is in her 60s and just came back from her 2nd knee replacement. She just finished 8 straight days of teaching! She skis everything now including bumps!
My doctor is very conservative, so he only wants me to ski blues when I recover....I don't think I'm going to follow that, after all my 73 year old mother had her knee replaced 2 years ago in April and was training at Copper mountain in November and won at the Masters Nationals in March.
Nothing is impossible, if someone says you can't do it...don't listen!cool.gif
post #18 of 25

A friend had both knees and a hip replaced the summer before last.  He's in his late 60's.  He just bought wide skis and is hitting all the off piste trees and is skiing better than ever.

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCskiracer View Post

I just met online my hero! She is a ski instructor from Montana who is in her 60s and just came back from her 2nd knee replacement.


Where does she teach?

post #20 of 25

Hi - where do you live? I'm 86 and had both knees replaced in 2000 at Sibley Hospital in D.C. by Dr. Bobrow , who is a noted orthopaedic surgeon in the area . I also ski with two hip replacements , and with no problems whatever . A key to my success was a lot of pre-surgery exercise to strengthen the appropriate muscle groups going into surgery , and lots of lengthy post surgery rehab . My Dr. is a nordic skier .

Based only on my experience , I see no reason why you should give up skiing after knee replacements . The only difference in my pre and post surgery skiing is that I ski somewhat more conservatively , and limit myself to groomed slopes and to powder skiing when I'm lucky enough to find any. I ski 35-40 days a season mostly on the East Coast with a couple weeks in Summit County , Co. I wish you well !

post #21 of 25
Hi,
I live in Reston, my surgeon was Dr. Klein, great surgeon!
I think the ski instructor I mentioned teaches at Big Mountain, MT.
Cheers!smile.gif
post #22 of 25

Sounds like maybe Kelly Bort?  I didn't realize she was quite that old, but I know she had some knee work done in the last year or two. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCskiracer View Post

Hi,
I live in Reston, my surgeon was Dr. Klein, great surgeon!
I think the ski instructor I mentioned teaches at Big Mountain, MT.
Cheers!smile.gif
post #23 of 25

A friend, Rusty Crook, had both knees replaced a few years a ago and was back skiing, everyday as his job, a year later.   It can be done!!

post #24 of 25
rusty? He coached me and of course Tamara when we were little, where is he teaching?! And yes, it is Kelly, maybe I got her age wrong??
post #25 of 25

I never ask people's ages and the older I get, the younger everyone else looks!  I spent some time doing some checking on her and found that in Aug 2009 she was 65!!!  Wow!  That would make her 66 or 67 now. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCskiracer View Post

rusty? He coached me and of course Tamara when we were little, where is he teaching?! And yes, it is Kelly, maybe I got her age wrong??
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