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knee replacements and hill walking

knee replacements and hill walking


Postby mrssanta » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:39 am

here is a question of professional interest really (and also my >50 year old knees creak a bit).
Is there anyone out there who has had a knee replacement and how did it affect your hillwalking career?
I know that people have done the full round of Munros with new hips but I haven't heard much about people who have had new knees.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby Border Reiver » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:19 pm

We are in our mid 60's and my wife has had knee problems for quite a few years now. Various xrays and scans have shown there is bone death and the cartilage is torn. She has talked to a couple of specialists (through the NHS) and last December she had the area under the kneecap flushed out and cleaned. That is all they are prepared to do. The surgeon warned her in advance that whatever he could do probably wouldn't result in any improvement. She did see a top sports physio and he thought that a knee replacement might be beneficial.
I went with her on her last visit to see the surgeon and he said that things would have to get a lot worse before he would consider a knee replacement. He did also say that her knee would probably give her problems in the future. I've got osteo arthritis in my knees and they twinge a bit at times, but we both can still manage walks of well over 10 miles. In the space of a month last year we climbed the three peaks in west Yorkshire without too many problems.
As regards the bone death (due to lack of blood supply I believe), the second scan on her knee showed some improvement over the first scan (9 months previously), which her surgeon put down to her keeping up the hill walking.
We do know someone nearby who had knee replacements and she says she hasn't got the mobility that she had before - she cannot flex her knees as well as before the op.
Your best bet is to start with your G.P. and see where it goes from there. My wife has noticed a small improvement since her minor operation, but not much and she's prepared to put up with the occasional pain when hill walking.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby Giant Stoneater » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:01 pm

My mother who is 80 had problems with her knee for the last couple of years,seen her GP,sent to hospital for scan,could not do anything as it was not bad enough to do anything,end of story.
Mother went to private physiotherapy where they had a look at the scan and confirmed what the hospital had said,but they did look at her posture as she was compensating for the bad knee.They corrected her posture and got her walking more naturally so much so that she is back to going short walks that she was really missing and the pain she was in has massively reduced.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby Sgurr » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:53 pm

Try halfmanhalftinanium as he gave me a very good report on his new knees when husband was still thinking of going ahead. He isn't now as he has decided he would rather walk albeit painfully than not be able to. We had a rather unfortunate encounter with a guy who had to have an amputation after his replacement went wrong.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby prog99 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:57 pm

Hi there, check out Alan Kimber's blog (well known retired guide) He's had his done and blogged extensively about it and is still very active.

http://alankimber-mountaineering.co.uk/blog/

(Scroll down to the knee bits)
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby mrssanta » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:11 pm

thats a really interesting blog thank you prog99.

Border Reiver, I am a GP, I was looking for information to inform my practice. My knees do creak a bit but not badly enough to need anything doing. Not many people are "serious" hillwalkers, most think going up Roseberry Topping (200m ascent, 4k round trip) is seriously gnarly. I don't know anyone who has had a knee replacement and done lots of hillwalking afterwards.

I think what I have learned from reading this is what I already thought. Physio, physio, physio, 1st 2nd and 3rd,. Knee replacements have their drawbacks, for instance 50% of people can't kneel afterwards or so I'm told, so it might ruin a wild camping lifestyle too. I think I am going to start doing knee exercises now!

Sgurr that's a really scary and serious complication. Risks from surgery may be low, but they are still there!
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby fireman » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:22 pm

I had a left knee replacement 4 year ago ( I was 59) and was back on the hills after 5 month, albeit sub 2,000ft. Eventually I started to go a bit higher, but, then the right knee started to play up this curtailed the hills big style again. I've just had my right knee replaced and hopefully in the near future I'll be back on the hills.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby Yoke » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:36 pm

My wife had a partial Knee replacement a couple or three years ago and has since completed several long distance walks including for example the TGO (100 + miles ) the year after the op , Kentmere Horseshoe (9 miles 3,000ft + ascent) regularly knocks out 30 - 40 mile weeks, in fact she completed a 23 mile walk with 3000ft of ascent just a couple of weeks ago.

She never walks with poles and says that yes there is sometimes discomfort but it is always manageable, interestingly she suffers more if she does not get the miles in regularly so not surprisingly the more exercise she gets the better.
The surgeon that operated on her knee has recently done a 3rd year examination on her knee and was well chuffed with it and said to carry on doing what she does.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby golfpunk » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:31 pm

interested in the replies in here because I am in the osteoarthritis in my right knee camp but I am only 34 years old :( :( :(

I seen a orthopedic specialist at the end of january 2017 and that's when I got the bad news. it's bascially a result of me rupturing my ACL when I was 21 playing football and apparently having any sort of major surgery in your knee like that can lead to this 10-15 years down the line.

with me only being 34 i've been told that i'm nowhere near the age of a knee replacement unless my quality of life drastically decreases. since august last year my knee has been extremely troublesome with locking and days of serious discomfort. i'm currently seeing a physio but she has advised I go back and see a specialist to see if there is anything else resulting in the number of bad days I am having. she thinks an MRI could flag up something as all I received in my diagnosis last year was just an x-ray to confirm that there is basically no meniscus on the medial side of my right knee.

i've not managed up a hill since june last year (sgor gaoith) which is fairly depressing as the way my knee is these days it's not looking good for the future.

would love a knee replacement if it gives me 20 years free of pain.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby Solar Cycles » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:34 pm

Late to the party I know.

I’ve had a knee replacement which failed within the first year, this was then revised only for my Extensor Mechanism to rupture ( this is far worse than than the knee replacements ) this was reconstructed but the rehab for this has been horrendous, six months fully immobilised only to find that a year down the line I had to have Manipulation Under Anaesthetic.

I’m now finally finding my feet ( pun intended ) and have just dropped to one crutch after being on crutches for the last 17 months. I’m now looking at the possibility of inching my way back to being in a position to some low level walking with my hiking poles, with the goal being able to at least do some moderate hillwalking down the line.

I’m not sure if you went ahead with this but if you did I hope you’fe making good progress.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby Moder-dye » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:32 am

I'm 9.5 weeks post a partial knee replacement at 48. Had an arthroscopy on the knee 10 years prior.

I'd not been able to walk much at all in the few years up to the op, but thankfully could cycle plenty.

The OA pain in my knee is no longer there, but at this early stage I've still got a lot of swelling and stiffness, but that's reducing. I've managed walks of a few miles on tarmac and some little off road excursions. Going down hill is still an issue as my quad and patellar tendons are still sore and swollen from the op, but I see no reason that it won't all settle eventually.

I've got an excellent range of motion, and can carefully squat right down, though crawling about camping is likely off the cards for a while.

A sports physio I've seen recently says its all looking very good especially for this stage, so I just need to keep doing my physio and being patient. Not that I am patient.

I'm also hoping to be back at work in 3 weeks when my sick note runs out (plus a phased return), but I'll be limited sometime as my job is as an outdoor access officer; a little challenging for a new knee!

Any questions feel free to ask.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby skiker » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:43 pm

For what it's worth I have two friends, one in his 70s, one almost 60, who've both had double knee replacements. They both continue to do challenging hikes and multi-day trips with full packs and the younger one is an avid cyclist who spent a month this spring in Peru hiking and crossing the continental divide on his bike multiple times.

I suppose knee replacements in the States differ from those in the UK but, given the shambles of health care here, I wouldn't venture that ours are better. :roll:
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby mrssanta » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:11 pm

skiker wrote:For what it's worth I have two friends, one in his 70s, one almost 60, who've both had double knee replacements. They both continue to do challenging hikes and multi-day trips with full packs and the younger one is an avid cyclist who spent a month this spring in Peru hiking and crossing the continental divide on his bike multiple times.

I suppose knee replacements in the States differ from those in the UK but, given the shambles of health care here, I wouldn't venture that ours are better. :roll:

I think the knee replacements are pretty much the same!
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:57 pm

Having done quite a few walks now over about 3 years since my knee replacement was done, here are my thoughts. My other knee is now painful, and it too will have to be replaced in a year or so.

    I do shorter routes. Eg 1 or 2 munro or corbett-sized hills in a walk rather than 3 or 4

    Where possible, I avoiding long steep slopes, especially downhill. E.g. I'm in Crianlarich in a couple of weeks' time and may do Ben More and Stob Binnean in two separate walks, (SB from Inverlochlarig) partly to make the routes more interesting, and partly to avoid a huge amount of uphill and downhill in a single day

    Longer routes over easy-angled terrain (eg Cairngorms) are no problem at all

    I plan routes very carefully to avoid anything challenging on the descent. For example, I did the Grey Corries ridge as a there-and-back, partly to enjoy the ridge in different light, but also to avoid the long complex descent described in the WH circular route. At the end of a long day, I managed the easy-angled descent from Stob Coire Claurigh without too much pain

    Having non-hill days when I do two or three shorter walks or explore a beach or woodland

    I've changed my pattern of walking when alone. With friends, it is the usual pattern of breakfast then start walking at 9am-ish. But when alone, I start at sunrise or soon after, walk for a couple of hours very slowly, then stop and eat. This gives my knees a rest, and then I am good to continue for the rest of the day.

    I've done very little scrambling in recent years, except easy stuff like Striding Edge. I'd like to have a go at Curved Ridge again sometime, a route I really loved, but I will probably wait until after my second knee is replaced. But, I avoid scrambly terrain going downhill.
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Re: knee replacements and hill walking

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:40 pm

skiker wrote:... given the shambles of health care here, I wouldn't venture that ours are better. :roll:


Hmm. We've unfortunately had quite a few visits to hospitals on a variety of fairly serious matters in the last few years (an inevitable concomitant of passing 3 score, sadly), some private (because I was insured through my job before I retired) and some on the NHS.

Our experience of the NHS is that it has been uniformly superb. I've just had a rotator cuff arthroscopy, on the left shoulder, which I had to wait no longer for and so far is going just as well as the one I had on the right shoulder a couple of years ago as a private patient.

My very brief and minor experience of health care in the USA was that most of the time was taken up with admin and checking that you had enough money to pay.
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