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  1. #1
    Senior Member americanrecluse's Avatar
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    Anyone had knee replacement? How long before you could ride?

    I went out on a New Year's Eve adventure, fell off my bike and wrenched my bad knee. Now that I've hobbled and lurched my way into a few doctor's offices, it seems a knee replacement is inevitable. I'm terrified! Also I'm kind of annoyed that I haven't been able to ride my bike at all this year. I only put about 7 miles on it in the week I had it!

    Can anyone talk me through what to expect?

  2. #2
    Senior Member bassjones's Avatar
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    Best advice, and I'm not intending to be curt, is to talk to your doctor. He/she will likely okay cycling before most other physical activities but probably only on a stationary bike at first. I know Neil Brennan, who used to post here quite a bit, had bi-lateral knee replacement a couple of years ago and was riding fairly soon (3-6 months IIRC). Again though, your doctor is your best bet on this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bikejrff's Avatar
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    I am 10 days post op from surgery to reattach quadricep muscle to my knee. Injury occured Jan 1, my doc says I can ride outside by May 1 and some possible light spinning on the trainer sometime in April. Hoping for sooner but better safe than sorry.

    I wish you a speedy recovery.
    Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

  4. #4
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I'm waiting until I have to have a knee replacement - no sense rushing into it! I can't run but who cares, I can still cycle plenty.

    Anyway, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Don't just go with somebody because she's close. You want a great doctor at a terrific hospital. You're pretty close, so if your insurance covers it, this guy is awesome and works out of St John's in Santa Monica, which is also awesome: Dr. Andrew Yun, MD - Santa Monica, CA - Orthopedic Surgery | Healthgrades.com

    He did my wife's total hip replacement last year and the outcome has been splendid. There are obviously plenty of good doctors out there, just make sure you find one. She chose the clinic of Dr Joel Matta because he's a pioneer in the anterior hip replacement approach and Dr Yun works in his clinic. Dr. Yun is right in the sweet spot of age / experience for a surgeon.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
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    I had one friend who had total knee replacement last year. Another surgery to correct the appliance. And another full replacement on the same knee a year later to replace the appliance and get a better human/hardware interface. She was told 12 weeks before getting on a bike. We set her up with a trainer indoors and a lower than usual seat height. She is riding fine, now, 20 weeks later.

    Another cyclist friend got a full hip replacement at 56, just four months ago. He was 12-15 weeks. He got on the trainer a bit sooner than that to get range of motion. But, it seems like 12 weeks is the beginning part.
    note that this is just anecdotal and I might be a clueless psycho, so don't base any decisions on this or any other Internet chat room. YMMV.

  6. #6
    Senior Member americanrecluse's Avatar
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    Oh gosh you guys, of course I'm going to talk to the doctor and not base decisions on things posted on an internet forum. I'm not that sort of idiot! Ha! I'm in the "waiting two months to see the hi-fallootin' surgeon" stage and just wondering about others' experiences.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by americanrecluse View Post
    Oh gosh you guys, of course I'm going to talk to the doctor and not base decisions on things posted on an internet forum. I'm not that sort of idiot! Ha!
    No offense intended. We meet all sorts of idiots on the internet. I've been most of them.

  8. #8
    Senior Member americanrecluse's Avatar
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    Oh, no offense taken! I was just hoping to find some fellow travelers.

  9. #9
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    I can't speak about knee replacements from experience but I did have my left hip replaced on December 1, 2009. Because of odd physiological issues, I was not a candidate for the anterior approach stuff so mine was the older style. Shortly after, my sister, living in Iowa at the time, suggested we do the 2010 RAGBRAI Iowa crossing in July. I asked the surgeon and he laughed and said I could do what I wanted but that there is a risk associated with overuse. I was back riding a bike by middle January doing as much as 40 mile rides. That was six weeks. In July, I rode across Iowa averaging about 65 miles per day. No issues with the bike riding at all.

    I'm very glad that I had the surgery when I did and the only thing that I would change if I had it to do over would be to get it done sooner. Modern orthopedic surgery is just a darned miracle. They only thing you do by putting it off, assuming that it will be done eventually, is extend your pain and impaired mobility. My experience with the six to eight weeks recovery that I had with the hip replacement is that I would rather go through that period over and over, like groundhog day, than deal with the pain and lifestyle degradation that goes along with a bad joint (no pun).

    I've been told that knees are trickier and may have longer recovery than hips, but they turn out well, too. Even if you have to go through a bunch of rehab and other stuff, if it were my knee, I'd do it as soon as possible.

  10. #10
    Senior Member americanrecluse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post

    I'm very glad that I had the surgery when I did and the only thing that I would change if I had it to do over would be to get it done sooner. Modern orthopedic surgery is just a darned miracle. They only thing you do by putting it off, assuming that it will be done eventually, is extend your pain and impaired mobility. My experience with the six to eight weeks recovery that I had with the hip replacement is that I would rather go through that period over and over, like groundhog day, than deal with the pain and lifestyle degradation that goes along with a bad joint (no pun).
    I keep hearing this or something like it. I'm officially "too young" to get my knee replaced, although the doctor who referred me to the fancy pants surgeon said that my knee is beyond questions of "too young." Although everything about it is very scary to me, I've spent the last five years in so much pain, with so many limitations, I'm also looking forward to being on the other side. The bike is especially frustrating because I just bought the durn thing! I haven't even re-learned how to ride with anything resembling confidence yet! I just want to get back out to the church parking lot across the street and ride in circles!

  11. #11
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    I just completed a 20 mile ride with a friend of mine who had a total knee replacement about 7 months ago. He has some swelling issues and some scar tissue issues but claims that the issues he has are insignificant compared to the way his knee was. I don't know how long it was after the surgery that he started riding a bit, but he says that he goes to the gym regularly and rides the exercise bike. He's in pretty good shape overall so the 20 miles wasn't really a strain at all. I think he's about 60. I had my hip done at 58. I don't understand the age discrimination thing. If someone needs a new knee, they need a new knee. Why prolong the "so much pain, with so many limitations" thing.

    I know it's scary -- it was for me with my hip, too. Essentially, they go in there and cut your leg apart and put it back together. But, they're good, they're well trained, they've done this before, in the case of the guy who cut me, many times. Pain is no fun at all and when it's constant and has a serious effect on your life and you have the option -- for me, it's not a choice I'd spend a lot of time on.

    So, I'll get off my high horse and just wish you the best with whatever choice you have available and whatever decision you make.

  12. #12
    Senior Member metalheart44's Avatar
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    HI, just came across your post looking for other TKR information. I had a right TKR on January 7th. It took me a few years to made the decision based on concerns I might not be able to cycle as much as I wanted. Anyway, after a couple of weeks I was on my bike using an indoor trainer. I just rocked back and forth between about 1 and 7. At three weeks I made a full backward revolution and with some encouragement made a full forward revolution. I now use the bike 2x a day for about 30 minutes each and it is some of the most useful rehab and pain-relief I do. My doc does not want me to ride on the road until I see him in a couple of week, but that may be when I have the full range of motion I need anyway.

    I have corresponded with a female cyclist who had a TKR a couple weeks before me. She was able to start riding 20 miles a couple times a week 9 weeks after surgery. Now, she engaged in a very aggressive prehab and post surgery rehab program and it worked to get her back on the bike very quickly.

    It can happen, but all knees are different and the important thing is find an experienced surgeon you can communicate with and a good physical therapist who knows your goals and will work on a program with you.

  13. #13
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    I had my left knee replaced Nov 2010. I got away with aggressive therapy. But my therapist did slow me down at times and stop me... I was back on a bike on my trainer about 9 weeks. Bad winter that year. I jumped off an ATV 7 months just to see how it felt. But. 9 months after surgery I crashed bad on my bicycle, breaking my back and neck... Been back on a bike in limited fashion since August...

  14. #14
    Senior Member plumberroy's Avatar
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    Here is all I know I worked in a auto factory doing maintenance from 99 till 2008 we rode workmans choice trikes with tool boxes on the back. 2 of my co-workers that had knee replacements said once they got back to work riding the trikes around the factory helped them as much a any physical therapy they took .
    Roy
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  15. #15
    Member Rogue Trader's Avatar
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    had mine done last August, had the bike set up on a turbo trainer and used it to help get the flex required to turn over the cranks (generally about 110 degrees required) I was on the trainer in the 7th week post op and back on the black top in the 9th week.

    Best advice I can give is when you do get a trainer set up and you begin trying to turn the cranks PEDAL BACKWARDS for a while first.... its easier. Good luck mate

  16. #16
    Junior Member ProfessorT's Avatar
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    I had two total knee replacements last year, and now I'm riding pain-free for the first time in years and years. If a doctor tells you you're "too young" for knee replacement, ditch that old-fashioned doctor. A modern doctor will tell you it's about quality of life, not about age (I had mine done at age 49). Today's technology should last for 30+ years, so age isn't the big issue it was 10-20 years ago when they didn't last as long.

    I was able to ride 5 miles (outside, on a real bike!) 5 weeks after surgery, 10 miles at 10 weeks, and 20 miles at 20 weeks. It's been 28 weeks now and I ride 25 miles several times a week. I ride kind of slow by most people's standards (12-14 mph), but at least I'm riding.

    The first couple weeks will be the hardest thing you've ever gone through and you'll wonder if you did the right thing, but hang in there and do everything your physical therapist tells you to do. Do all the exercises and don't skimp on the pain pills (without good pain management you won't recover as quickly). Before you know it you'll have your life back! :-)

    Look for a surgeon that uses a minimally-invasive technique (often called "quad-sparing"). It's a bit of a misnomer (it's still quite invasive!!) but it's way better than the old way.

  17. #17
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    I'm an advisor at BoneSmart: Knee Replacement & Hip Replacement Community & Patient Help. GREAT info, support.... Knees and hips... For those already having had surgery, what is your Range of Motion now? I left therapy at 141*With some stretching, I can push to 143 even now. Knee is designed for 150. I kneel on it and everything. It is not a problem.

    Jumped off this ATV 7 months after left TKR...

  18. #18
    Retired dabbler hobkirk's Avatar
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    My knee was replaced January. I started 10-minute, easy spins on the trainer after 3 weeks. Recovery was sidelined by infection at day 28, but I think I will ride outside at about ten weeks, if the snow on the road shoulders ever melts (10' this year). My recovery is slowed by age - everything takes longer to heal at 69 than it did 30 years ago when I was just a child...

    Good luck!

    I found recovery much easier for my knee than for my hip replacement, but the exercises for the knee are more painful, IMO.
    2008 Specialized Roubaix, CF, Ultegra Triple Started 6/2010 at 64 (impelled by lethargy, bad knees, 247#), 4,700 mi in 1st 7 mo! But 4-5K/year since.

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