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Bali Hai
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Discussion Starter #1
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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Telstar 28
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Depends a lot on the surgeon... :)
 

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Bali Hai
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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.
 

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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. :laugher 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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Tartan 27' owner
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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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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... :D :D

Good luck.
 

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Aeolus II
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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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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.
Good point, and very wise advice. :)
 

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Bali Hai
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Discussion Starter #12
Again, thanks to everyone. Will get as much work done on the boat as possible, then have scheduled for Jan 21. That should have me back on the water for spring.
 

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I had a partial replacement last March 15th with only a few minor complications. I was crawling up the ladder to get my boat ready for launching by May 1st. By late May I was comfortably racing the boat with crew. That's not to say the knee or leg was 100% but I was safely able to participate.
 

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TKA - Total Knee Replacement

Mcraham49,

I had a left total knee replacement on August 19th of this year. I actively single handed my 30' Catalina up untill I went into the hospital and I'm 55 yrs old in fairly good shape except for the bad knee. I took my boat out for a short sail for the first time yesterday, so that would be almost 15 weeks. I was medically cleared at 11 weeks to sail with someone else on the boat. However, I took this time to work on a number of projects on the boat. At 6 weeks I was able to move up and down the companion way and work on my projects. At 7-8 weeks I felt comfortable going forward while I was in the slip. Of course everyone recovers from this surgery at a different pace and alot depends on how aggressive you are with your physical therapy. Hope this helps. You will feel much better. I could tell the difference when I went out yesterday. Good luck
 

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Left TKA

I forgot to mention about kneeling on the the new knee. Some people have no problems, others do. At this point for me I do not feel comfortable doing that. If you decide to try and kneel on your knee try wearing a knee pad to protect the knee cap which has been surgically reshaped during the surgery. I also wear a knee pad to protect the joint from banging it when I move around. However, I can squat which is something I could not do before the operation.
 

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I haven't had a replacement, but when I had my ACL done, both my surgeon and PT talked with me about what my expectations were. At the time, besides actively racing on OPB's, crewing on a tall ship, and sailing dinghies , I also did theatrical rigging, so I spent a large amount of time walking on pipe 30 feet in the air. I told them I wanted to be able to do all that by May, when the spring racing series started, I wanted to be able to do all that. The racing was the main thing I wanted to do, but I couldn't really cut out early from work for a race when I wouldn't go up in the grid for rigging.

As a result of those conversations, my torture, I mean therapy was tailored to insure that could happen. I had my surgery in late January, and had no problems with meeting my expectations.
 

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Physical Therapy = Medically authorized torture. :)
 

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I had my right hip replaced three years ago and it was pretty simple and I was walking without crutches in three weeks. My room mate had his knee replaced. I would only make one recommendation. Get in as good physical shape as you can before the surgery and if you're overweight - lose weight. It seemed to be the general opinion in my ward of people who had knee and hip replacements that knee replacement was more debilitating initially and required longer rehab time.

I pushed myself pretty hard after surgery and refused a walker opting for crutches instead (of course they took away my pain meds), but I'm glad I did. I rehabbed fast.
 

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Telstar 28
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This is probably due to the knee being a bit more complex as joints go. The ball and socket construction of the hip makes it a relatively simple and robust joint, and fairly simple to replace. The knee isn't so straight forward. :)

The advice to lose weight and to get in as good a shape as possible is very good. Getting active on the joint at a reasonable pace is going to improve your chances of a full recovery far more than coddling the joint.

I learned to downhill ski while going through PT to learn how to walk again many years ago. My PT was less than happy with me... :)

I had my right hip replaced three years ago and it was pretty simple and I was walking without crutches in three weeks. My room mate had his knee replaced. I would only make one recommendation. Get in as good physical shape as you can before the surgery and if you're overweight - lose weight. It seemed to be the general opinion in my ward of people who had knee and hip replacements that knee replacement was more debilitating initially and required longer rehab time.

I pushed myself pretty hard after surgery and refused a walker opting for crutches instead (of course they took away my pain meds), but I'm glad I did. I rehabbed fast.
 
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