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  1. #1
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    total knee replacement

    I underwent this operation in mid October. Presently I am having physiotherapy 3 times a week. Progress is slow- or it seems to be to me, as I am only capable of 95 degrees of movement
    (I started at 75 degrees). My physio says I should be able to eventually achieve 110 degrees but this seems unrealistic to me at this time. I have my bike set up on a turbo but can't pedal any circles yet.
    Have any forum users had any experience with this operation and can they offer any suggestions?
    Maybe my age is working against me, I am 73 years old and hopefully have many years of cycling left yet. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Hip replacement - will I be able to ride then like I do now?

    Go to post #2 - Tightwad had a knee replacement.

    Click below for a search of the 50+ forum on "knee replacement"

    http://www.bikeforums.net/search.php?searchid=650531

    Scroll through the results
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  3. #3
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    Vetbike,

    I had ACL replacement 11 months ago. While I was in PT, there were several guys that just had knee replacement. One of them was on his second. All of them said they began using the cycle machine by rocking the pedals back and forth, but not completing full circles, then pedaling backwards for the first few days. For some reason, the knee worked better in reverse. After a day or so of that, they began making slow, but painful circles frontwards. I took their advice, and it worked for me also. My first revolutions were backwards before I could get it over the top frontwards.
    Oh, by the way, two of them had been there over 4 months at that point in the PT.

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I have dislocated my left kneecap twice, once at 17 and once at 42, and regaining full motion does take some time. Try raising your saddle, and, if desperate, temporarily installing shorter cranks, or at least a shorter crank on the affected side.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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    Thanks for the information, I appreciate it. Vetbike

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    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    Good luck with your knee. You seem to have a good attitude about it.

    Here's a picture of my mother-in-law about 2 years after her total knee replacement. She's 72 and this picture was from last Saturday...

    ...she's good, but she still got beat by a 7 year old.

  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Work slowly and gradually at expanding your range of motion. I have found standing on one leg while slowly pulling the other heel up toward (to, if possible) the buttocks to be a great way to regain lost motion. With any type of stretching, work slowly, gently, and regularly, and always take yourself to the point of discomfort, but never to the point of pain.

    Treat yourself to a copy of Dr. James Fox's "Save Your Knees,"

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...824934-6477749

    which was the best $10 I ever spent to address my evidently congenital kneecap instability.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
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  8. #8
    Topgun's Dad Batman2004's Avatar
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    I had both my knees replaced at the same time 2 years ago. I was 56 years old at the time. I had some difficulty getting range of motion to begin. I went to see the doctor 2 weeks after the operation and he said I had to go back in the hospital for an "adjustment". My range wasn't very good, maybe 80-90 degrees. So he immediately put me back in the hospital, gave me another epidural and forceably moved the knee the full range to insure there was no physical reason for lack of range. Of course, I was out and didn't feel a thing. When all was said and done, I was able to achieve a better range. In therapy I got to 120 degrees. But that was after extreme pain and stretching. It is normal to get alot of pain during therapy of a replaced knee. If you didn't have pain, you wouldn't get the results you and the doctor want. I probably can achieve 110 degrees now.

    Now I play tennis. The doctor said doubles only, but sometimes I cheat and play singles. And if I do say so myself, I get around the court quickly. And of course, I ride frequently with no pain and no range problems. I am using clipless pedals and have no problems. If you saw me walk you couldn't tell that I had anything replaced.

    The key here is to keep doing the therapy as often as they require and then do some more on your own. Stationary bike is great. Stretching is imperative. The muscles don't know they can strectch that far, so you have to re-educate them. At first, it felt as if something was in my knee besides my parts. Of course, that's true. But now, I feel as if it's part of me, just like before the operation. No pain, no swelling and all is well.

    So good luck, listen to your therapists and do what they tell you. I personally don't think our age difference is that significant.
    Batman2004

  9. #9
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vetbike
    I underwent this operation in mid October. Presently I am having physiotherapy 3 times a week. Progress is slow- or it seems to be to me, as I am only capable of 95 degrees of movement
    (I started at 75 degrees). My physio says I should be able to eventually achieve 110 degrees but this seems unrealistic to me at this time. I have my bike set up on a turbo but can't pedal any circles yet.
    Have any forum users had any experience with this operation and can they offer any suggestions?
    Maybe my age is working against me, I am 73 years old and hopefully have many years of cycling left yet. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
    After having both knees replaced I can tell you that your range of motion WILL get better provided that you do your therapy.

    It is very helpful to ride a stationary bike as much as you can each day. I know when my knees were
    first healing the stationry bike was a slow and easy affair for 20 min each day.......and it hurt like hell
    the first month. However, with determination I was able to reach the desired 110 deg. in no time at all.

    I bike ride everyday as weather permits with the Schwinn Airdyne stationary bike on bad days. You will
    find that if you don't ride you'll get stiff when you first try to move. There is one other point that you
    did not ask about........falls while biking or walking. Both are BAD news when you have a knee implant.
    So when you ride be VERY,VERY careful of where you ride and how aggressive you ride. FWIW....when
    you get a knee implant your bashing days are over. If , by chance, you do fall while riding try to land on
    your back or hip instead of your knees.

    There is a lot of cycling we can still enjoy, mate. If we are carful.

  10. #10
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    Thanks guys, your responses to my original post has been most gratifying. I picked up some good information and find that I'm not doing too badly after all, went for physio today and found that I had improved motion by 10 degrees. I don't feel depressed any more, again, many thanks for your input.
    This has been my first post on the forum and I'm impressed.

  11. #11
    Will Pedal for Pie!
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    Hi. Cheer Up. Good news is here!

    I under-went total knee replacement in January of this year, Both knees, simultanesouly. took a 1600 mile bicycle tour through Wisconsin, and Illinois in JUly and August (most days were 60-70 miles, some longer some shorter and hills, hills, hills, all through Wisconsin) and am pedaling the hills of Asheville, NC on a daily basis! I turned 55 thanksgiving!
    I had limited range at first and the left knee did not increase range till toward end of bike trip.Today I have probably 120-125 deg range of motion(device maximum is 133 deg, most people only get 120 max) due to continuos, relentless use.

    I used a stationary recumbent at bedside, once out of hospital, that I pedalled morn -noon -night and sometime midnight to 2 am. Get a book or tv or set up your laptop, write and pedal, even if speed is low and resistance is minimum (it with all increase with strength with use). If your setting or laying down and feel sore, get up and pedal instead of popping a pill. The muscles want the attention. Also get a bicycle intertube, say 26" and put around your mid section, lay down on mat with one leg on floor and other up in air. put other end of tube around foot with leg in air, press knee straight with one hand and bring leg back as far toward head and continue to keep leg/knee straight with hand, while keeping other leg as flat on floor as possible. maintain for as long a you can and then switch legs. Try to work up to holding for 2-3 minutes with a good straight stretch. I watch the tv and just forget I'm doing it, feels great afterward. (check with doc first)

    Hydro therapy is god send by the way!

    I did this in hosp, at home, on my bike trip and I do it now, several times a day. Thing is, once I decided on the surgery I refused to let this rest. I wanted my life back and I worked hard at it.

    Pain will eventualy go away but it takes long time. I endured a good bit on bike trip but not enough to keep me from doing it. The rewards far outweigh the sacrifice and are long term rewards, priceless.

    Most days now, I dont even think I have artificial knees (cept they do seem cold when temps drop). I also got away from the drugs fast, they will do more harm than good, they had me on the nasty stuff and I weaned myself off asap. On bike trip I took an occasional pain killer(maybe one time once a week), but mostly just rested and stretched to relieve pain.

    We are like sharks now, they have to move to breath (cept nurse sharks) and we have to move to be comfy, the bike's the best thing for that, continuous aerobics without full body weight. Hydro therapy, hit the pool is, did I mention, awesome, get dr or nursy for this, too much make you sore, it works fast!

    The recumbent is good for keeping upper body weight off your knees while your getting back your muscle tone and then the muscles can do their part, until then the little muslces around the knee is straining to to do the moves. The bike will get the ham strings and all your leg muscles back into shape faster than anything; also the hydro therapy in the pool in conjuntion with the cycle helped me tremendously.

    Disclaimer here friend: I am not MD or Physcial therapist, I am a recovering, happy camper and am telling you what worked for me and, with both knees having to be replaced, and having gone through the process, having doctors(not my surgeon-he was glad to have me go for it) and especially rehab nurses telling me how limited I was and depressed the hell out of me (They dont want the liability of telling anyone to actually use the replacements for what they were intended).

    My touring bike is a recumbent and painfree riding is heaven but I also work out in the hills here on a trek wedgy hybrid. You use more muscle groups on a recumbent but the hybrid makes you lift your legs higher and has assisted in increasing my range of motion, also stretches my back muscles out quicker than recumbent but that is only advantage I can see. After 4 coast to coast trips on wedgies and the recumbent, I could not go back to the pain of wedgy bike touring. The recumbent keeps most of the body weight off the knees and I can mount and dismount the recumbent(under seat steering) much easier, especially when range of motion was an issue. Also my recumbent sets lower than my hybrid, so If I take a fall, it wont be as far and the only times I have talken a fall on my recumbent I have basically rolled off the bike, onto my side and butt, cause there is no handlebar in the way.

    I get long winded on this subject, only because I have been depressed for years over my situation and finally resolved it but had no encouragment from anyone, and we live in a society that scorns poor health and tends to think you a lesser person when you hobble like a primate instead of walking upright.

    I hope this is encouragement. It takes YOU to make the difference though and you have to do it today, tomorrow is too late, the bones in your legs are healing around the device and your muscles are trying to reshape to how you are using them now, so it will limit your range if you dont go beyond the envelope and take charge.

    Tips for fatihful exercise. Have daughter with-hold cookies, have grandchildren stand over you and help you count, look at national geograhic and plan next bike trip, have dog set at side during exercise and look at you with pitiful eyes; drink red wine or a beer instead of taking nasty drugs, buy a new bike and set a goal, put visa bill of newly purchased touring bike on handlebar of stationary bike, watch slides of old bike trips, better yet, plan a summer tour right now and burn rubber on that stationary bike tonight!

    Some more encouragement, just incase you need another boost and to let you know there are folks out here maybe with more problems than you and me.
    I rode with a guy a few years ago that was anything but a yuppy cyclists, in fact he was basically a bum off the street that hooked up for a couple of weeks on a small tour from Calif to Florida. He smoked heavily, drank beer constanly and anything he could find with alcohol, was probably 50-60 pounds overweight, had a steel mountain bike from monkey wards, with big nobbies (we were on highways), a BoB trailer with all his possessions, sneakers with no straps on pedals and rode in blue jeans. He would come up the hills, (the steep long ones, up by Superior Az, the southern tier) with a cigarette in one hand and a 12 pack of bud in the Bob, pass by all of us struggling on our fancy touring bikes, and he did it with an artificial leg (right) that was a prosthesis from knee down(Harley's and drugs)! Go figure. His motivation was to get to Florida and be warm for the winter!

    Falling with new knees. If you are worried about it, may I suggest a recumbent trike, like a cattrike or greenspeed, they are fast, comfy and no balancing, cost some bucks but have advantages especially with the gear set -ups available and a slumpf gear. I was impressed with their corner abilities.

    Cheers and Happy New Year,

    Michael (Chieftwonuneez- Retired Chief USCG, 2-new-knees (chieftwonuneez)!!!

    Mantra: "We will not set on coach, eat bon-bons and read TV guide for rest of life"
    Last edited by chieftwonuneez; 12-31-04 at 06:04 PM.

  12. #12
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chieftwonuneez
    ... artificial leg (right) that was a prosthesis from knee down ...
    This reminds me of "Plutonium" Pete Penseyres' younger brother, Jim, who rode the Race Across AMerica with a [left] below-the-knee prosthesis.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Dr. Duk's Avatar
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    Vetbike:
    I know what you and the others have been going through.I am 58 years of age and I have had two (2) total knee replacements. My first was in May 2001 and the last was in Jan 2004. This last one was a humdinger for rehab purposes. The first replacement was without any difficulty and I was back riding within three (3) months of the operation. Since the last replacement I am still having some difficulty but with each passing day the progress is positive. I have about 114 degrees of flexibility in my left knee and 120 degrees in right. The difference being a different appliance. I was only able to ride about 1500 miles this year but with a positive attitude and a willingness to progess I will be riding two to three times that total next year. In addition to riding my "Bents" and my recumbent stationary I purchased a machine called the "Gazelle". It has been featured on info commercials. Very low impact on the knee joints but it gives a very total body workout and helps with the development of the leg muscles and upper body along with the cardio system. My Orthopod is very happy with my progesss through the last year so keep you head up. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Try and not get despaired with you progess. With alot of hard work you will accomplish your goals. GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY YEAR TO ALL!!!

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    Last edited by Dr. Duk; 01-02-05 at 10:23 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Michael,great to hear your account as I am in line for two new knees myself soon. Now I know what to expect. I've already bought the new bike and hope to keep up my touring/camping following the op. I tour in France each year and this year hope to wander all over, (2000-3000 miles). I'm 65yrs and I'm going to follow your advice re rehabilitation to the letter. A HAPPY NEW YEAR from Scotland.
    George.

  15. #15
    Will Pedal for Pie!
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    Quote Originally Posted by onbike 1939
    Michael,great to hear your account as I am in line for two new knees myself soon. Now I know what to expect. I've already bought the new bike and hope to keep up my touring/camping following the op. I tour in France each year and this year hope to wander all over, (2000-3000 miles). I'm 65yrs and I'm going to follow your advice re rehabilitation to the letter. A HAPPY NEW YEAR from Scotland.
    George.
    Hi George, Are you having both replaced simultaenously? Some surgeons hesitate to do both at once; but given my age and the fact that I would go elsewhere, they gave in. I literaly didn't have a good leg to stand on and I couldn't see myself going back in six months for the next and go through the rehab process all over again.

    Couple reasons for NOt doing both. The surgery for two takes a lot more time and my surgeon had another colleague assist him. They (surgeons) tread on murky ground here because of insurance. My insurance company okayed the procedure way in advance but then refused to pay both surgeons for their work and is still in limbo.

    The other is, you have to be pretty healthy in other respects, the surgery is hard on the patient and many doctors will not risk a dual-replacement with older patients.

    Reasons FOR going for dual. You dont have to go back over the same thing twice in a year (both surgery and rehab/pt.

    I have a surgeon that is sports surgeon/young but very experienced and truly not a demi-God and I had to shop around alot, went thru six before this guy showed up! He was willing to actualy sit and talk to me even with a full patient load, but for our 30 minute visits he way THERE, without interruptions and we communicated MY needs and his abilities to make it happen, or not. (RARE)

    Most surgeons are gung-ho on your rehab and PT, none want you to over-do it(I tend to at times). I found it was when I was in Rehab hospital, after surgery(different hospital), that PT staff and their resident DR were totally useless for my needs. They were giving me exercises for people with other ailements and little to do with knee replacement PT, so i checked myself out and went home and found local PT outfit that tailored my PT to me(paid same pricel, less hassels). Problem is, when you're in a Rehab Hospital, people treat you, not only like you are sick, but just because you had a little surgery, apparently you lost the ability to think for yourself, as though it also decreased your mental faculties. They were making money off my insurance is their NR1 concern! What I'm saying here is the rehab/PT people you have are just as important as having a good surgeon, so shop wisely.

    Oh, scar tissue. MY surgeons cut me straight and opened me up just enough to fit the implants and sewed back up like a good seamtress. Comparing scars from other patients of my surgeons and patients of other surgeons, it was amazing the butcher jobs going on out there. Excess cutting requires LONGER rehab, so ask to look at their past work!

    Scar tissue can be almost illiminated by using lots of lotion and lots of massage, by yourself, spouse, nursey or whomever. I'm talking several times a day and massaging the skin on and around need is important. (it will itch anway so you should have not problem wanting to rub them once stitches are gone.

    I kept the scars covered with gauze or slathered in SPF30 sunblock while riding this summer and it worked pretty good, I only have a couple spots I didnt protect well, but the tisue healed nicely. You have to keep the scars away from sun until the pink disappears, otherwise you will have permanent scars. Of course, at my age it may not matter much. I have one, from stem to stern on my chest/abdomen, so what's one more!

    One last tip(Hah!) If you order pizza for evening and night shift nursing staff, it will go a long way in ensuring you have and endles supply of COZY pudding!

    From one Scot to another, good luck! Send me some posts of your trips. I would like to jump the pond soon and tour, I've been to UK and walked about in Scotland(dreding up old ones) but would like to bike just about anywhere UK, Euro.

    France each year, WOW! I may have to come join you!

    Michael

  16. #16
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Michael,I do intend to have both knees done at once as having done some research on this this seems the way to go. I aggree that if you are reasonably fit you tend to be underestimated by medical people re the time it should take to recover and the demands on yourself that you can deal with. I think that this is because they themselves are usually hopelesly unfit. After my last op to have both knees opened up and washed out, three weeks later I was cycle/camping in France (700miles with gear). Two years later they are becoming stiff again but before they give completely up, in July I intend to ferry from Rosyth in Scotland to Zeebourg in Belguim and then cycle down the West coast of France, looping around Brittany then down to above La Rochelle before heading directly East across to the top of Burgandy. I'll work down to Roanne before looping back West again and if I have the time I'll go further down the West coast to the Gironde river before heading up to the ferry and home. It should take about 2 months and about 2500-3000 miles I reckon.France is THE paradise for cyclists. The French love all cyclists and many the time I've been cycling up a hill only to be cheered on by some young French guys with their heads sticking out the roof of a car. There is this huge network of tiny roads winding through little villages and wonderful countryside---and the food! I lived there for 3 years and I do enjoy going back each year. I've missed around 20 years of bikepacking due to my dud knees, all stemming from an old injury when I was in the Paras in the early 60's. I intend to carry on as long as medical science will let me. George.

  17. #17
    Will Pedal for Pie!
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    Good luck with the surgery George! Let me/us know how it's going and we will cheer you on!

    It will take some healing time, so don't push too much, you'll be pretty tender for a bit! I know I was pleased just to sit on a recumbent trainer and actually move my legs, didnt matter that there was no load, and that is important, and that is what my surgeon was trying to get across when I told him I would be touring, he wanted me to have the continuous motion, but keep the gearing easy.

    Do you camp/hostel or motel your trip. I would be interested in the cost involved, especially with the Euro running away from the $ so fast! I can get military hops across the pond so that's a pluson the expenses, but I have this thing for good food!

  18. #18
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    I camp using lightweight equipment carrying everything on my bike and staying in cheaper sites with basic but good facilities. Eating out in France is cheaper than in the UK and of much better quality. You can eat well for not too much money and the French being French know where every good place to eat is situated and are only too pleased when you ask them. Most French would say that the area around Lyon is where the best food is found, and having lived there I have to agree. Burgandy is pretty good also and the countryside is great.I tend to buy at the markets and cook my own but as I spend every day pedalling with only night stops most of my diet consists of what the Newfoundland fishermen call "good work food". Oatmeal,bananas.bread,pasta,couscous,fruit and green veg.You do need lots of water especially cycling in July/August down below the Loire. Cemetries are good for this as they usually have a tap (faucet).The summer before last I was drinking a litre an hour. I do dine out when this becomes boring but I tend to cover a lot of ground and need to eat the right food to keep this up. France may not be big by US standards but is various in nature that you can never be bored and all kinds of country can be found there. If you do get around to coming over let me know. Regards, George.

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