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  1. #1

    Default Hiking after Bilateral Knee Replacement

    Hi, I'm scheduled for bilateral knee replacement in a month, and I'm wondering if anyone has done the AT on two artificial knees.

    Some exposition for my story.... I was born knock-kneed, and over the years the condition got worse. It wasn't helped by super-obesity. When I topped 400 pounds six years ago I said "Enough" and lost 160 pounds over the next 16 months. I rediscovered the outdoors, took up hiking, taught myself to ride a bicycle (I'd never learned as a child), and rode a century ten months after learning to balance.

    Life has been a continuous discovery after the weight loss, but my legs have been the weak link. My hiking was limited to six miles at a time, tops, and I felt like I'd been run over. My right leg is so knocked I've had people gasp when they see it. In this photo, I'm the guy on the left:



    One side benefit of knee replacement is that it should fix the valgus. So, once I'm through the months of rehab and relearning how to walk, I'll be able to hike longer than I have. Having a big goal to shoot for is important to me, hence my question about anyone with a bilateral knee replacement hiking the AT. While I can't say that would be my goal, I will say that if it came down to choosing between cycling and hiking, the bikes would be on Craigslist in a minute.

    Sorry to go on like this. I thank you in advance for any help or advice you can give.

  2. #2
    Registered User Grizhicks's Avatar
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    I waiting to see what answers you get; I've had both knees (9/'09 & 9/'10) and both hips (5/'02 & 5/'07) replaced, and the AT is still on my dream sheet. Good luck with the surgery..... Greg/Grizhicks

  3. #3
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    I don't know why you couldn't keep hiking. But I do know finishing a century is pretty awesome.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

  4. #4
    LT '79; AT from Springer-Rangeley in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    I met a guy in North Carolina this past May who was thru-hiking with two knee replacements. He had started SOBO the year before but realized atop Baldpate that he didn't have the lateral stability to keep going. It took him multiple years of physical therapy to get him to the point where he had the confidence to undertake a thru-hike again, but he looked like he was doing just fine 10 days into his trip. You should be able to hike again, but recognize that substantial hiking will also reduce the lifespan of your replacement knees.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2015?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerosene View Post
    I met a guy in North Carolina this past May who was thru-hiking with two knee replacements. He had started SOBO the year before but realized atop Baldpate that he didn't have the lateral stability to keep going. It took him multiple years of physical therapy to get him to the point where he had the confidence to undertake a thru-hike again, but he looked like he was doing just fine 10 days into his trip. You should be able to hike again, but recognize that substantial hiking will also reduce the lifespan of your replacement knees.
    Understood. But I'd rather wear them out in 20 years than have them last the rest of a sedentary life. Also, who knows how advanced the technology technology will be by the time I need to undergo revision surgery?

  6. #6
    Garlic
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    My friend Saunter is a devoted section hiker. He hiked half the AT last year and will finish the other half this year on two replacement knees. He's an extremely experienced hiker. He estimates his lifetime miles at 25,000, and will finish the Triple Crown if he's successful on the AT. I suppose what you do depends as much on motivation as much as the knees. Best of luck to you.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by skinewmexico View Post
    I don't know why you couldn't keep hiking. But I do know finishing a century is pretty awesome.
    Thanks. I was very slow, but I got it done.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    My friend Saunter is a devoted section hiker. He hiked half the AT last year and will finish the other half this year on two replacement knees. He's an extremely experienced hiker. He estimates his lifetime miles at 25,000, and will finish the Triple Crown if he's successful on the AT. I suppose what you do depends as much on motivation as much as the knees. Best of luck to you.
    Thanks. The recovery time is very long for knee replacement - I should be out of work for at least two months, and possibly more. And it could be a year before I'm 'normal', whatever normal is. I live no more than two hours from any point of the AT in PA, and three hours for Maryland. I've done some short stretches as day hikes in both states. I could continue to add to my miles as I work on recovery.

  9. #9

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    One of the local hikers up in the whites, Silverfox had his knees replaced. I think he celebrated by hiking the 48 4000 footers in the year after the operation. Most folks I have encountered with new knees wonder why they didnt have it done earlier but did admit the physical therapy after the operation was difficult. Silverfox's knees have replacable wear points so if he wears out parts they can be replaced athroscopically.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    One of the local hikers up in the whites, Silverfox had his knees replaced. I think he celebrated by hiking the 48 4000 footers in the year after the operation. Most folks I have encountered with new knees wonder why they didnt have it done earlier but did admit the physical therapy after the operation was difficult. Silverfox's knees have replacable wear points so if he wears out parts they can be replaced athroscopically.
    Now that's something I'd like to do. My last 'difficult' hike was in 2010 - I went up Mount Tom in PA's Pine Creek Gorge. Five miles in about four hours. Not much for most of you folks, but I felt like I'd climbed Everest.


  11. #11
    http://bamahiker.blog.com/ Freedom Walker's Avatar
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    You may find this journal incouraging. This man had a knee replaced in 1999 and a hip replaced in 2005. After retirement he and his wife hiked the AT in 2009.
    http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=264210
    Freedom Walker, I am free to Walk, I am free to Run, I m free to live for You Lord Jesus, I am FREE!

    He who the Son sets free, is free indeed.
    Visit my blog Free To Hike

  12. #12
    Registered User runt13's Avatar
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    on o slightly different note, i had 7 proceedures done on my lower / middle back this past summer. my goal was to be able to make deer season. last proceedure was august 21st......... well i did, hiked up to sunfish pond 3 times in 10 days, 2 times dragged a deer down the douglass trail. est almost 50 miles from turkey day till december 14th. and i felt great. went back to the gym as of feb. feel even better. lived with back pain for 25 years, why did i wait so long. and yes losing 30pounds was a big help.
    so go for it, do the rehab, keep up your spirits, and set a attainable goal.

    RUNT

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