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Knee Replacement

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It seems my right knee has had it. I'm 53 and in good shape, but too many mx and basketball injuries over the years have taken their toll and the resultant arthritis has progressed beyond all non surgical means. My orthopedic surgeon says there's about a 60% chance of an arthroscopic procedure (remove torn cartilage, etc.) helping, or it might make things worse. In any case, a total knee replacement is inevitable, just a question of when.

Has anyone ever ridden a dirt bike after knee replacement? Mind you I go pretty slow these days, don't do big jumps and avoid any sort of hard landing. My surgeon said there'll be no running or jumping, but I don't think he meant jumping a dirt bike. I'm also an avid cyclist, and was a competitive mountain biker until my knee got so bad this year. I've known a lot of people who have had knee replacements with good results but they are all considerably older and fatter than I am and don't participate in any sort of athletic activity.

Will I be able to ride at all after knee replacement?

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The chances that a "clean out" would help are straight up zero.

Intelligent conservative folks can ride off road after a knee replacement.

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Thank you Dr. Mark. Really appreciate the time you spend on this forum. Most doc's don't seem to know what dirt biking is. Is very helpful to have someone who understands the activity.

Edited by FourthYZ

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I too am a avid mt biker,that being said...i had surgery to clean up bad cartiage or the patella in 1-09 and have been in pain riding still to this day. I started the synviscs (greese) shots three weeks ago and i feel 10 years younger!!!!!No more pain!!at all!!

Yours might be in worse shape,,but mine worked out well.

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It will be good. I just had mt left knee replaced last November. I'm closer to 60 yo than 50 but am fit and participate in mountain biking, cyclocross, tele skiing, water skiing, etc. I started riding my dirt bike again this spring and to tell you the truth, I'm a stronger rider now than before because pain was getting in the way. I had to lay off skiing this winter but my surgeon says go next.

Here's the deal the way it was explained to me. The knee replacement will be just about as sturdy as the knee you were born with before it went bad. There are two primary things to consider for the long term after knee replacement.

Things like running (many small impacts) will wear the metal and plastic bits faster than they would otherwise. You can do it but you'll be back in the shop for a rebuild sooner than if you don't. Bicycling is very good for knee replacement rehab and causes no harm. I was back (carefully) riding my 12 mile commute two months after surgery. Another patient rode across the US with his son 6 months post op. Just don't fall early on (see below).

Large impacts are a bad thing. Bone has a little flexibility while the metal parts of an implant do not. The interface between bone and metal creates stress points that can lead to ugly fractures that are difficult or impossible to repair. The mesage here is that you can do any activity you want but if you take a big hit to the knee the risk of irrepairable damage is increased over a normal knee. The surgeon may not be able to put it back together if you break it or it may not heal right. The bone/metal interface strengthens significantly over time but it will forever be a potential weak point for blunt force trauma.

So I ride my dirt bike with the understanding it's a higher risk. I am a little more careful not to injure my knee and wear a beefy Ossur CTI brace all the time I ride any motorcycle and will do the same skiing. The brace isn't needed for stability. I wear it like a helmet or roost protector to take some of the energy in case of impact. These braces are as expensive as a top of the line helmet but way cheaper than a stay in the hospital.

I love my new knee! I'm back climbing mountains which I couldn't do before because of the pain of walking downhill. If you decide to go for it, do exactly what the doc and PT tells you for the first two months. Take it on like a job. Work at it but don't overdo it. The results are well worth the extra effort.

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Thanks all, for sharing your experience.

It's an interesting situation because 3 years ago I had an MRI and the surgeon who ordered it was going to remove the torn cartilage and use the synvisc injection. That guy was all the way across the cities though (I'd moved since I first started seeing that doc), so I switched to a a doctor near my house.

He refused to even look at the MRI and gave me cortisone, which I must admit worked at the time. It was getting a little worse last fall, then early this summer I was exiting a left corner on my MX bike, weighting the outside peg and something in my knee went 'snap'. That in itself is so unusual, but this time it would not recover. The surgeon tried synvisc, which did very little, then cortisone six weeks later, which, along with some time has made it livable. With nothing more than x-rays he's saying basically the next step is to replace the knee. I'm going to put that off as long as possible, and I think get another opinion before I go that far.

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I have known several people who have had knee replacements. And the general concensus from all of them.. "I should have had this done years ago".

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Thanks all, for sharing your experience.

It's an interesting situation because 3 years ago I had an MRI and the surgeon who ordered it was going to remove the torn cartilage and use the synvisc injection. That guy was all the way across the cities though (I'd moved since I first started seeing that doc), so I switched to a a doctor near my house.

He refused to even look at the MRI and gave me cortisone, which I must admit worked at the time. It was getting a little worse last fall, then early this summer I was exiting a left corner on my MX bike, weighting the outside peg and something in my knee went 'snap'. That in itself is so unusual, but this time it would not recover. The surgeon tried synvisc, which did very little, then cortisone six weeks later, which, along with some time has made it livable. With nothing more than x-rays he's saying basically the next step is to replace the knee. I'm going to put that off as long as possible, and I think get another opinion before I go that far.

Ligament?

Edited by OTHG_DAVE_925

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