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bigbearfng

total knee replacement

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As I'm sitting around on the wait list for surgery going crazy I'd like to ask who out there has had total knees done and what if any precautions you took when you returned to jumping. My ortho surgeon just covered his ears and shook his head when I told him I skydive and intended to continue after surgery. Did you wear knee braces? Anything else? I've already upsized my canopy as I couldn't run too fast as the knees have gotten worse.

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I've got junk knees due to years of consistent athletic abuse. I wear knees braces and jump a large canopy which, touch wood, works nicely. In what I consider fast landing situations I slide in on my butt. Keep my knees working by doing loads of cycling - running is the big knee killer imho. The problem with knee surgery, which I have been offered but declined once I got a (better) second opinion, is that it sometimes just doesn't 'work'.  So, no magic answer I'm afraid, just my own situation.  

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Good friend of mine, who doesn't skydive had both knees replaced several years ago.  Prior to the surgery he was told to loose weight.  He didn't loose any weight, had the surgery and there have been some complications.  It's been several years and his weight has increased.  He had to have the surgery but is not satisfied with the results.  Bottom line is that everyone is different and if you are over weight, loose the difference before your surgery and keep it off and don't run on the new knee.   

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I had knee surgery 6 years ago. My knee started dis-locating 5 years afteer an airplane crash. Doctors diagnosed me with three torn ligaments in my left knee. Since they could not repair my posterior cruxiate ligament, they re-aligned the top of my tibia.

In the months leading up to surgery, I did plenty of half-hour hikes to build up my leg muscles and stamina. Unfortunately, I could not afford physio-therapy, so my healing process was considerably delayed.

Since knee surgery, I did another 300 tandem jumps, then retired from skydiving.

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On 9/10/2020 at 10:34 PM, bigbearfng said:

As I'm sitting around on the wait list for surgery going crazy I'd like to ask who out there has had total knees done and what if any precautions you took when you returned to jumping. My ortho surgeon just covered his ears and shook his head when I told him I skydive and intended to continue after surgery. Did you wear knee braces? Anything else? I've already upsized my canopy as I couldn't run too fast as the knees have gotten worse.

I’ve done 3500 jumps, mostly tandem since having a knee replaced. It has never been a factor, and my birthday coincides with the cooling of the earth’s crust. 

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7 hours ago, raff said:

I’ve done 3500 jumps, mostly tandem since having a knee replaced. It has never been a factor, and my birthday coincides with the cooling of the earth’s crust. 

Now that's encouraging to hear! How long did you wait after the surgery?

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I replaced my Left Knee in April 2016 - I was jumping by June and doing tandems by July - It was sore, and originally hard to bend fully, but I rehabbed that mother like no tomorrow. I replaced my Right Knee in December and didn't jump until March or April. It stayed stiff until this month. I rehabbed it hard this time too, but I'm older 65+ so the time to heal was a lot slower.

My surgeon brags to his patients I have 1600 jumps on my new left knee.

 

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(edited)

I'm following this because I had a TPF (tibial plateau fracture) about 20 years ago and was told I'd need an artificial knee in about 5 years.  I'm long over due but not in any discomfort and don't take any medications.  Turning 70 in January with about 3600 jumps.  Maybe 1500 jumps on the fracture and no sign,  in the future of a new knee,  yet.  I was told by one of my doctors, after the last of 5 operations, that if I didn't gain any weight, didn't run or smoked and drank moderately, his handiwork might last  20+ years.  3 out of 4 ain't bad.....

 

Edited by danornan

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I finally got a surgery date after 4 months on the wait list -Oct 27, YEA! They originally said it could be 6 to 9 months wait list so I'm not complaining. And yup gonna rehab the hell out of it. I've been able to keep mountain biking 5 to 6 miles a few days a week up until the last 2 months when it started hurting too damn much.  They wouldn't do them both at once so I have to wait at least 3 months before they'll do the second one.  I can't wait to get back in the air! Thanks for all the responses here!

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On 9/17/2020 at 11:39 AM, GeorgiaDon said:

If you can start doing the physiotherapy exercises before the surgery and get the muscles in good shape, it can cut down on the recovery time quite a bit. 

This is hands down the best advice you will receive, that's assuming you are aware enough to get your weight normalized before any elective surgery. I call it pre-hab. Even if it hurts it'll save you from a lot of more painful rehab. 

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22 hours ago, JoeWeber said:

This is hands down the best advice you will receive, that's assuming you are aware enough to get your weight normalized before any elective surgery. I call it pre-hab. Even if it hurts it'll save you from a lot of more painful rehab. 

I do a lot of swimming with fins and that really works the larger muscles in your upper leg.  According to previous PT therapists, that has made a big difference in my not needing any pain medication or a TKR.

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On 10/23/2020 at 8:21 PM, bigbearfng said:

I finally got a surgery date after 4 months on the wait list -Oct 27, YEA!

I logged back in today just to catch up after a couple of months, saw this and it looks like today's the day for you. Had a right TKR Last week, They're doing things a bit different than just a couple of years ago. The "new & improved' TKR's are built more like a skid plate (see attachments). Had to go to a class about two weeks before the surgery to learn what to expect and what I needed to do to make it successful. 

They had a book of pre-op exercises - one should do those. Joe calls it "pre-hab." They're not hard and are more akin to stretching than exercise. We favor the knee, so our muscles atrophy a bit and we need to wake them back up,

You'll need to bring a list of meds, surgeries and adverse reactions/allergies to the class.

No Alcohol - you'll be on opioids for a few days, so duh.

We're going to have you up and walking around after the surgery, the same day [OK. it's good to have goals].

From start to finish; the surgery is 30-55 minutes from incision to closing (there's robotics involved). About the same amount of time as a colonoscopy. There's no staples or stiches to close. They use a medical type of zip-tie to close it and when you go back for the doctor's post-op; he just releases the zip-tie.   

When you wake up in recovery; you won't have that narcotic funk feeling, they'll hover over you for about an hour and then, "You ready to go for a walk?"  [OK. it's good to have goals]. "How far are we going?" "However far you think you can go." I did three laps around the ortho center.

Little something to eat. Little something to drink. "You ready to go for a walk?" "How far are we going?" "You need six laps total to leave." Done. Spend the night. Go to in-home rehab the next morning to learn the exercises you need to do before the formal PT. Then, they start the exiting process and you're out the door. [they haven't had a DVT in six years - it's the walking]

Doc calls a couple of days later to check on you. 'How long before I can ride the Harley again?" You can hear the facepalm thru the phone. 

Long story short: 1) Nothing this group of socially-disconnected competitive misfits hasn't gone thru or can't go thru, and 2) six days later - no pain. Just a dull ache and still swollen.    

 

     

Knee 1.jpg

Knee 2.jpg

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On 11/16/2020 at 12:12 PM, riggerrob said:

Glad they had you up on your feet in a few hours. Doubly glad that you had too small an incision to get infected. Triply glad that you did not experience deep vein thrombosis.

Morning, Rob. Hope you're doing well. I am a couple of days shy of a month and I will share this with you. For years, we've been told wait as long as you can. They only last five years, etc. This has changed in just the past year or two. My recommendation is: As soon as you hit bone-on-bone - get it done. I was bone-on-bone for almost a year trying to "wait as long as possible." Finally, I threw in the towel one day, when I just dreaded the thought of having pain any longer. I had reached the point where I was damaging nerves. 

These new fangled things will last 15-20 years and for the first time in a long-time I can go for a causal walk and enjoy it. I used to love walking and hiking and such, but the joy of it had left me. That joy is back. We're having great weather right now and taking the dogs for a walk, getting some fresh air does wonders for morale. Three of my favorite things to do is walk, sit around the firepit with friends and ride the pony around the country.  I can do all three without wincing all the time. Morale is good, looking forward to Spring, enjoying friends and walking through the woods with the pups. 

Be well.  

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(edited)
On 10/27/2020 at 6:19 AM, BIGUN said:

I logged back in today just to catch up after a couple of months, saw this and it looks like today's the day for you. Had a right TKR Last week, They're doing things a bit different than just a couple of years ago. The "new & improved' TKR's are built more like a skid plate (see attachments). Had to go to a class about two weeks before the surgery to learn what to expect and what I needed to do to make it successful. 

They had a book of pre-op exercises - one should do those. Joe calls it "pre-hab." They're not hard and are more akin to stretching than exercise. We favor the knee, so our muscles atrophy a bit and we need to wake them back up,

You'll need to bring a list of meds, surgeries and adverse reactions/allergies to the class.

No Alcohol - you'll be on opioids for a few days, so duh.

We're going to have you up and walking around after the surgery, the same day [OK. it's good to have goals].

From start to finish; the surgery is 30-55 minutes from incision to closing (there's robotics involved). About the same amount of time as a colonoscopy. There's no staples or stiches to close. They use a medical type of zip-tie to close it and when you go back for the doctor's post-op; he just releases the zip-tie.   

When you wake up in recovery; you won't have that narcotic funk feeling, they'll hover over you for about an hour and then, "You ready to go for a walk?"  [OK. it's good to have goals]. "How far are we going?" "However far you think you can go." I did three laps around the ortho center.

Little something to eat. Little something to drink. "You ready to go for a walk?" "How far are we going?" "You need six laps total to leave." Done. Spend the night. Go to in-home rehab the next morning to learn the exercises you need to do before the formal PT. Then, they start the exiting process and you're out the door. [they haven't had a DVT in six years - it's the walking]

Doc calls a couple of days later to check on you. 'How long before I can ride the Harley again?" You can hear the facepalm thru the phone. 

Long story short: 1) Nothing this group of socially-disconnected competitive misfits hasn't gone thru or can't go thru, and 2) six days later - no pain. Just a dull ache and still swollen.    

 

     

Knee 1.jpg

Knee 2.jpg

It's held together with a piece of break cord and a bungee? WTF, were they out of packing bands? They put a half knee in my starboard rudder 6-8 years back and it's been talking to me again. I was wondering what was next, now I know. I'd say your advice to not wait once you start getting slowed down is spot on. You gotta keep movin', 'cause if you don't the birds will get you. Glad you're back and well.

Edited by JoeWeber
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