PDA

View Full Version : What are my chances of thru hiking again with a total knee replacement?



Slow n' Steady
01-05-2015, 22:52
Hi Trail Friends,
I began a thru hike in 2013 but had to get off, due to multiple illnesses that just would not let me complete the remaining 600 miles. I had hiked those miles previously as sections, so I declared my hike complete when I summited Katahdin...with giardia. But you all know what it's like to be obsessed, so I went back on the trail last April and completed the remaining miles, just because. I can't let go of wanting to do a thru hike in one season. But, now I'm faced with yet another obstacle. I just had a total knee replacement. Has anyone out there done a thru hike with a knee replacement? I'm hoping someone has...

Frye
01-05-2015, 22:57
I know someone who did it with a completely robocopped ACL.

I'm not sure if that's better or worse though, but why not try? Just make sure to complete your rehab first and consult the physician who completed the procedure.

swamp dawg
01-05-2015, 23:32
I hiked with " Boomer " last year who had both of his knees replaced before last season. He did great and moved along with a good amount of dexterity. He took it slow at first but in time was moving right along.
I think you will do just fine as long as you take it easy and pace yourself. Life is good on the trail...swamp dawg

Slow n' Steady
01-05-2015, 23:35
Thank you, Frye. With this new knee, I have no ACL, so at least I can't injure it...but I'm doing my PT now and feeling more and more discouraged. Your advice is good, and I will speak with the doctor. But he's not a hiker...

Slow n' Steady
01-05-2015, 23:37
Thank you for your encouraging information, Swamp Dawg! I'd love to talk to Boomer.

gsingjane
01-06-2015, 10:08
I know there has been discussion of this topic in the past - I did a quick search and came up with way too many references to "knees" to find it for you but - someone better at this than I am could probably find it. What I recall of the posts is that there definitely are folks who have done a thru with a TKR, what they have done to maximize their chances of success was to go as light as humanly possible (both in terms of pack and body weight) and to take it slow and easy. I really, really feel for you - I think I may be joining the New Knee Club one of these years myself - and I wish you all continued success with your rehab program. It is so terribly frustrating to want to do all these great things and you could except for those darn knees!

Jane

Frye
01-06-2015, 10:17
Don't be discouraged by PT, it's not meant to be fun. I've been on that ship twice now and both times sucked. It can be a long process, and at 63 may take a bit longer then a young (and good looking) fellow such as myself. It would be a shame to get all that work done and not put those babies to the test.

Don't be a wuss, stay tough and keep a positive attitude. =D

Busky2
01-06-2015, 12:01
I met a woman last summer near Boiling Springs PA whose name escapes me but she had both knees done in the same year and was hiking the trail in nine months, kind of inspiring.

Jake2c
01-06-2015, 16:43
I have had knee work, not a replacement, and as long as they do a good job in the repair/replacement and you make sure to strengthen the muscles around the knee I would give it a shot. Actually, in some of my hikes, maybe because I exercised that knee, it actually felt better than the knee that has not required any work. Go figure. If you do it, you will inspire others.

Jeff
01-06-2015, 17:35
I believe Cimarron who hiked 1000+ miles in 2011 had a hip replaced...and he was 88 years old at the time.

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=337584

royalusa
01-06-2015, 20:16
Might want to check out this journal and/or contact him, as he had a knee replacement in 1999 and hip replacement in 2006 and thru-hiked in 2010.

http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=264210

Kerosene
01-06-2015, 22:16
I've heard of at least half a dozen long-distance backpackers who have had TKRs on one or both knees. One of the double TKRs ended up getting off the trail after several hundred miles because of stability issues, but was back out the following year. Orthopedists won't encourage backpacking, if for no other reason than the extended stress will shorten the useful life of the replacement, and at this point they really don't like doing a second replacement.

lemon b
01-07-2015, 07:09
I know a few people who have had total knee replacement. What they tell me is that recovery is slow, but that recovery is complete. 9-12 months and one is totally recovered. Of course, these are just regular folk who have no interest in thru hiking. But they do everything else just like they did before years of massive knee problems. The Doctors really do have this surgery down.

Teacher & Snacktime
01-07-2015, 12:50
What are my chances of thru hiking again with a total knee replacement?

Much better than they'd be if you leave it behind! :D

Rolls Kanardly
01-07-2015, 17:07
My left knee is cobalt chromium, my right knee is arthritic. I have much more issues with the right knee when hiking.
They told me my knee replacement would last 10 years. I am going on 7 years since going robotic. Looks like I need to do the hike before the warranty runs out. I do not know if I could make the whole hike but I hope I get to try and my knee is not going to stop me from trying. I hope you give it a try Slow n' Steady. Rolls

PennyPincher
01-08-2015, 00:07
Thank you, Frye. With this new knee, I have no ACL, so at least I can't injure it...but I'm doing my PT now and feeling more and more discouraged. Your advice is good, and I will speak with the doctor. But he's not a hiker...

Follow your PT instructions to the letter. Including ice and rest. I am a personal trainer and I work with people who have had knee replacement and double knee replacements. The best person I ever saw was about 12 weeks post op and had a slight 'hitch in his giddy up.' 99% of people would not have noticed. I asked him if he had hurt himself. He then told me he had double knee replacement 12 weeks prior. I was amazed! I asked him what he did and he said he followed his PT instructions "to the letter."

So, it can be done. Good luck!

Slow n' Steady
01-08-2015, 12:30
Thank you, all, for your encouragement! I am doing everything that PT has asked and more. I treat each day like I did on the trail--I knew the miles might be tough, but I was not going to give up. Same with PT. We will see what the future holds, but I am much more hopeful because of your responses. Many thanks!

Sirsnappy09
01-10-2015, 22:12
I have had an acl reconstruction and two ortho surgeries ( one on each knee to remove cartilage) and I have no issues . I wear an ortho band on both legs and get a little swelling but have completed the trail twice with no issues I couldn't tolerate.

Connie
01-11-2015, 02:25
Partially torn left lateral miniscus, a painful injury, here: six months acupuncture helped.

I found using hiking poles, not weight-bearing, only walking, something changes in the way of walking.

It greatly relieves the knees.

danil411
01-11-2015, 12:02
I will be rooting for you, SlowNSteady!
I cannot add to the good tips you have received herein, but I will say that I had to celebrate my rehab from the terrible trio in small increments ..movement, strength, time. Patience and celebration of small victories.
Dimples

4Bears
01-11-2015, 21:38
I walked a mile 9 days after my TKR and have not had any problems, with my knee. The key, IMHO, after several knee rehabs before my TKR is to do the therapy exercises one is given to do at home. I day hike up to 15 miles and ride bicycle up to 70 miles in a day with no joint pain. Your results may be different but I have had zero problems.

takethisbread
01-21-2015, 05:37
I walked a mile 9 days after my TKR and have not had any problems, with my knee. The key, IMHO, after several knee rehabs before my TKR is to do the therapy exercises one is given to do at home. I day hike up to 15 miles and ride bicycle up to 70 miles in a day with no joint pain. Your results may be different but I have had zero problems.

Everyone is different. I have serious knee issues and had a severe tear happen during my thruhike in Virginia , that I fought through to the end, with a bevy of medicinals. I held off on tkr till after I finish thruhiking. I can easily ride a bike up to 120 miles a day and hike whatever (just had surgery to repair the tear), but New Hampshire and Maine descents (jump downs) is a totally different deal. I can't imagine doing that until you were years past TKR. I saw a few people with TKR in Georgia. I didn't see them a month later. It's another obstacle is what I'm saying. A huge one. I would think, thanks!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

boomer2014
03-23-2015, 16:20
Slow and Steady this is Boomer (age 63) who hiked in 2014 with Swamp Dawg who wrote above.

I had both left and right total knee replacements in 2013. Nine months after the second one I started the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. My doctor did not object to my plans at all. I had absolutely no trouble with my new knees on the trail. I did baby them a little at first until I became more confident in them. I was also careful not to jump off of rocks but to climb down. To this day I still have no problems with my knees.
The key is to do your physical therapy as ordered. As painful as the exersizes can be do not give up. I got on a bicycle as soon as I could and hiked too. During the painful parts of the therapy I just focused on the AT and worked through the pain.
Sadly, I only made 400 miles and had to get off in Tennessee because I developed stress fractures in both my feet. It's been about one year since I started my hike and I was hoping to go back this spring but my feet still hurt. Hopefully they will eventually get better and I can return. It broke my heart to leave that trail.
Boomer