Knee replacement - How long out of boat - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-29-2008
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Knee replacement - How long out of boat

I am scheduled for a knee replacement in late Jan. Moderately good shape, but lots of pain. But can still sail. Has anyone else done this, and how long before you were able to get up and down the companionway, on one knee to trim sails, etc.
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Old 11-30-2008
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Depends a lot on the surgeon...
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Old 11-30-2008
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First thank you for the reply. I am pretty concerned that everyone has something that it depends upon, including my doctor. And the severity, and the amount of rehab... I am just trying to find someone else who was active as a sailor before the surgery, that can say whether they are still able to go up and down bend to grind winches, stability on foredeck, etc. We gave up racing in the 80s, and just cruise, but I would suffer with the pain forever rather than lose the ability to actively sail. EG, someone said that it is almost impossible to bend down on the replaced knee after the operation. Right now, i always go to a knee on the bad knee, because only the good knee has the strength to get me back up.

Just looking for someone else that has been through it. Thanks for the start.

Last edited by mgraham49; 11-30-2008 at 10:08 AM. Reason: adding to the text
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Old 11-30-2008
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My SO just had a partial knee replacement on September 15. Within a month she was doing well enough to get up and down a companion way. She had a minor set back a couple of weeks ago when she pulled a ligament or something (they still haven't figured it all out). She will likely be able to do just about anything by February. In March, we are heading off to Belize for a month of caving.

Her doctor assures her that she will be playing football within 6 months of the surgery. (Interesting because they told her the same thing after her ACL surgery last year.) She didn't play football before but for some reason she will now. Her doctor is the knee doctor for the San Antonio Spurs and the clinic specializes in treating high-dollar sports stars. She sees Tony Parker sometimes when she goes to physical therapy. One of the other doctors in the clinic did a shoulder replacement on my mom earlier this month.

The best advice I can give is find a really good doctor, do the surgery, do the therapy, and you will do well. Before the surgery, do lots of exercise to get as strong as you can before the surgery. This will help you immensely during rehab.
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Old 11-30-2008
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A fellow member at our club had double knee replacement surgery sometime last fall/winter. He was back racing this past season. I saw him yesterday and you would have no idea he went through all of this. Of course, he was in good condition as AllanBC suggests.
Good luck and stay fit.
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Last edited by CalebD; 11-30-2008 at 02:28 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-30-2008
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Thanks very much to all, look forward to any more posts from others.
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Old 11-30-2008
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Allanbc has it right. Get a good doc, get it done, do the therapy and then some, and then some more. I can't emphasize enough how important the rehab exercises are.

I had a total hip done 3 years ago - so I can understand a bit of what you might be thinking. At this point I can't imagine NOT having it done- although at the time, it was pretty intimidating. In my case, it was perhaps 5 or 6 months before I felt confident enough to skipper and manage a cruising boat and the associated tasks, but everyone is different.

As to the knee replacement, I have a good sailing friend who had both knees done a few years back - busted his tail on rehab and was back at sailing within months. He's in his 70s - and still does does solo deliveries on Lake Michigan. Getting the knees replaced sped him up - no more pain, no more limitations.

So...if you're ready, get it done and you won't regret it. You might come to hate your rehab technician, but they really do mean well...

Good luck.
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Old 11-30-2008
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My Wife had it done 4 years ago

It was in July and she was sailing again in late August. I actually think sailing helped her recovery as a good motivation factor. She still has "issues" and making that step on and off the boat can take a lot of time to make. She favors the replacement knee even though I think it is better than the "good" knee.
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One of my friends, is a double amputee...both legs, due to diabetes complications, and he gets around on his boat just fine. He doesn't swim very well anymore though. His wife has had a hip replaced, and she crews for him without much issue. Their boat is a Cal 27 IIRC.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 11-30-2008
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I had a secretary who had both hips replaced. She was playing tennis again within 4 months. She said over and over "why did I wait so long?"

The surgeon, medical team, and rehab seem to make a big difference. Get the best you can.
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