View Full Version : Tell me your post-surgical thru-hiking story!

05-08-2015, 17:02
I had sustained a fracture of my right fibula in an ill-advised skiing experiment in January, and had surgery (ORIF with plate placement) on January 15th. In the preop appointment I told the surgeons my plans to start the CDT in April. The docs advised that I start hiking in June instead of April, which would maximize my likelihood of success.

I've been working out and doing all the little exercises--swelling is down now, flexibility isn't bad, and I'm up to about 10 miles with a fully-loaded pack now, including technical snow travel. I leave in 5-6 weeks for the CDT. I'm (I think, justifiably) a little nervous about how it will go hiking 20+ miles days back-to-back after Glacier, although I'm doing all I can to prepare.

I'm sure there are WB folks who have thru-hiked post-surgery on some essential limb....how did you do? What do you wish you'd done differently? Any advice?

AT 09
LT 11
PCT 12
CDT 15 SOBO in June!

05-08-2015, 17:31
You got it!!






05-09-2015, 09:11
Does a vasectomy count?[emoji23]

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05-09-2015, 20:21
I had foot surgery (from PCT-overuse) before I hiked the AT. I basically started the AT at the start of the window of when the doctor told me it would be okay to hike (right about 3 months after the surgery).

My surgery was to remove about an inch of damaged nerve in the vicinity of the ball of my foot. It worked out okay, but for much of the intervening three months I was in a wheelchair (briefly), then with one of those big honking frankenstein protective boots (for quite a while), then a while longer in a sort of weird oversized sandal, and then finally I could start to wear outdoor footwear.

The problem I had was that this left me with very little time to train and even then the suggested training mileage was pretty low. As I ended up starting the trail with a couple of friends (experienced hikers), it was a bit of a PITA to be as fat and slow as I was, but of course I eventually hiked myself fit.

If you're going NOBO on the CDT I would think things might work out similarly for you, except perhaps if water availability pushes you to do too many miles too soon. If your budget isn't tight, you could consider renting a car and setting up some water caches for yourself ahead of time, possibly share the cost with one to three other hikers to make that more reasonable. This might help you to start out with reasonably low mileage days as you build up your trail legs (and other parts) perhaps a bit more slowly than you might othewise choose to do.

Even in a low snow year, I wouldn't suggest a SOBO start on the CDT if you think you want/need a relatively slow/gentle start.