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Biking after total knee replacement

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Biking after total knee replacement

Old 08-11-12, 10:21 AM
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anniezmoon
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Biking after total knee replacement

Hi. 50+ Newbie here. I had total knee replacement 3 years ago and haven't been able to get back to bike riding on my old 10 speed. I've been looking at the Day 6 Journey as my feet are on the ground while sitting on the seat (also would take strain off my wrists.)

Before I invest nearly $1000 (yikes!!!) I'd like to hear about experiences with riding after TKR and input on the Day 6. I'm fairly active with kayaking, working out at the Y and walking but I haven't felt comfortable when attempting to get back on my old bike-- the mounting, starting and stopping are my hang-ups as well as an irrational fear of falling and busting up my bionic knee! I'm able to ride a stationary bike--regular and recumbenant. I also don' feel agile or limber when stepping through the frame of a regular bike.

Thanks for any advice or insight you can provide.

Annie
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Old 08-11-12, 10:40 AM
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I don't know anything about the bike, but my wife had double knee replacement surgery a few years back. She's currently up to 100+ miles a week on her road bike. And getting to the point where I have to expend a little effort to stay with her. I'm still faster and stronger, but she's progressing very quickly.

I think cycling is a fine exercise for people who underwent that joint replacement. Start slow and get comfortable. She started riding her old Specialized Expedition before she bought her road bike. I think it's just a matter of feeling comfortable and gaining confidence.

My wife is a member here on BF, and posts in the Clyde/Athena forum as chaapa. Feel free to PM her.
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Old 08-11-12, 11:11 AM
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My wife (74yo) had two knees replaced in the last 5 years or so.

She rides just fine on her hybrid - no restrictions whatsoever.

What seems to be causing your problem?
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Old 08-11-12, 12:57 PM
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TKR two years ago - started riding again after two months. Bought a Trek Madone CF bike and Ride 100 miles or so a week - 72 years YOUNG. No issues with the knee. If I fall, I figure to have bigger problems than just the knee - life is too short to worry about what MIGHT happen.
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Old 08-11-12, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lookinUp View Post
TKR two years ago - started riding again after two months. Bought a Trek Madone CF bike and Ride 100 miles or so a week - 72 years YOUNG. No issues with the knee. If I fall, I figure to have bigger problems than just the knee - life is too short to worry about what MIGHT happen.
Wow, LookinUp, you are my new hero!!! i am scheduled for a TKR in October and will mark 'December' on my calendar for a post-op ride!! It's getting pretty painful to ride now, but i plan to continue until the day before surgery.
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Old 08-11-12, 10:45 PM
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Blue... good luck with the TKR. Just work really HARD with the PT and you'll be on your bike again in no time. I went to the gym and started trying to make a complete revolution with the new knee on the pedal of a Schwin Aerodyne at six weeks. It took less than a week to make the full circle and I started to ride - albeit slowly - on my 'little old lady' bike. Didn't take very long to graduate back to a real road bike. Keep us posted on your progress after the surgery!
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Old 08-14-12, 09:16 PM
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Thanks for all your words of encouragement. I'm doing more research on the Day 6 bikes and have located a place where I can try one out. Hoping to get there by the end of the week
Thank you all for taking the time to reply and for the encouragement.

annie
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Old 08-18-12, 01:21 PM
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Anyone with long term (say more than 7 years) experience cycling after a TKR? Looking for experiences of those who ride 100-200 miles a week and have had a TKR. Thanks
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Old 08-18-12, 06:21 PM
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After seven knee surgeries, including an ACL reconstruction at age 50, I gave in and had the right knee replaced 13 months ago tomorrow. Tomorrow will be my fifth triathlon this year (3 sprints, 2 Olympic), but I walk rather than run.

I did extensive strengthening BEFORE the TKR, and really, really worked the knee afterwards in therapy.

Therapy, strengthening, balance/core work are key to doing pretty much anything except running, singles tennis, skiing and other high impacts.
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Old 08-18-12, 07:05 PM
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Wife finally got over the fear about a month ago, and got on her bike. She is up to a little over 5 miles. Total knee replacements on both legs Valentine's day last year. She is 68
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Old 08-18-12, 10:21 PM
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Comments from active folks in the 2-4 year time frame seem to be positive about the level of activity post TKR. Since my doc is reluctant to do a tKR based on my desired level of activity post TKR, I am just wondering how folks are doing that are active, that is ride more than 150 miles a week, and more than five or so years post TKR .....
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Old 08-19-12, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by anniezmoon View Post
Hi. 50+ Newbie here. I had total knee replacement 3 years ago and haven't been able to get back to bike riding on my old 10 speed. I've been looking at the Day 6 Journey as my feet are on the ground while sitting on the seat (also would take strain off my wrists.)

Before I invest nearly $1000 (yikes!!!) I'd like to hear about experiences with riding after TKR and input on the Day 6. I'm fairly active with kayaking, working out at the Y and walking but I haven't felt comfortable when attempting to get back on my old bike-- the mounting, starting and stopping are my hang-ups as well as an irrational fear of falling and busting up my bionic knee! I'm able to ride a stationary bike--regular and recumbenant. I also don' feel agile or limber when stepping through the frame of a regular bike.

Thanks for any advice or insight you can provide.

Annie
Your fear is not irrational at all!! In fact, it is based on the fact that falling on your "bionic" knee will cause real problems for some.

That said, if you can't seem to get by this worry then consider a trike.

I, too, get all worried about my knee implants when I ride since at over 300#'s If I go down it will really tear my knees up!! So I ride a trike most of the time just to stay on a bike. I've got a really good bike but I feel more comfortable on the trike so the bike gets a very little use anymore.

Since we are all different each person has to decide what makes them comfortable to ride since there really is something for everyone in cycling!!!!!
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Old 08-19-12, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Your fear is not irrational at all!! In fact, it is based on the fact that falling on your "bionic" knee will cause real problems for some.

That said, if you can't seem to get by this worry then consider a trike
. ........

Since we are all different each person has to decide what makes them comfortable to ride since there really is something for everyone in cycling!!!!!

^^^ This!

I don't have any knee issues but my wife (65 yo) has had bilateral hip replacements and has a deadly fear of falling off of a DF bike (she's had two). She now rides a tadpole style, recumbent trike on a daily basis and enjoys each ride as much as I enjoy riding my road bike. I've never heard of a Day 6, but if you feel comfortable with riding it, by all means, do so. However, I would not rule out a recumbent trike if you can not overcome the fear of falling.
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Old 08-20-12, 01:20 PM
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Hi there. Don't give advice, just report my experience.

Had TKR in late 2005 in NYC on right knee. Recovered well as did lot of inside recumbent bike months before the surgery. Did gym bikes with no issues through 2006, 2007 to July 2008

July 2008 moved to Miami. Was going for another home gym bike when realized how flat it is here and how much better to ride outside. Bought clunker hybrid and rode an hour on alternate days for three years. Advice to preserve knee was avoid running and skiing. Biking wasn't on the avoid list. Didn't think twice although inevitably fell few times, broke ribs a few times and never hurt my knee.

October 2011 bought Scott CR1 road bike and began going for longer rides. Fell after two months and got bursitis on right hip. Very painful, no knee problem. YTD have done over 2000 miles (we travel a lot). Usual ride over 30 miles, so about 120 per week--sometimes more, sometimes less. Did half dozen 50+ mile rides before big trip. Point is never had knee problem or concern.

Everyone is different. Talk with your doctor. At this point I would do anything to not redo TKR surgery. Also hoping to avoid doing left knee which is in moderate to severe condition. Biking may have helped left knee and causes no problems. don't know what I would do without riding and all the benefits it has provided.

Life is full of risks. Biking with Miami car drivers is one. Life is also short (as I know too well).

Hope this helps
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Old 08-24-12, 12:19 PM
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I can't offer much except, "Welcome to the club" Had both knees replaced on 7-23. Been able to get full revolutions on the Schwinn Airdyne in therapy(with seat up high and right heel on the pedal as the right leg is about 20 degrees behind in range of motion) I can't wait to get back on thee bike, it's been driving me crazy!!!
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Old 05-24-13, 09:21 PM
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I had a total knee replacement Feb 28, 2013 and am now 3 months out. Got off to a rough start, because I developed a deep-vein thrombosis in my calf soon after surgery. So I spent a week and a half flat on my back with my leg elevated. I began using a stationary bike immediately after that. At first, I couldn't make a complete revolution of the pedals. Nonetheless, I used the bike to stretch the knee, increasing flexion. That worked wonders. I began riding outdoors by about week 6. By about week 8, I was riding to work and back, 3 miles each way. The knee feels solid, and I'm not worried about hurting it. Trouble is, there is still a lot of swelling. I suspect I may be riding *too* much, so I plan to cut back.
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Old 05-25-13, 01:05 AM
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All of these posts are helpful to me because I'm facing replacement of both knees...someday.

My orthopedic doc says I'll be able to ride a bike well after surgery, without restrictions. I'm putting the surgery off because I can still ride without pain; in fact, I can still get a good workout on an elliptical trainer without major discomfort.

I don't know about the bike mentioned in the OP, but I'd advise you to ride what you feel safe on. My wife isn't comfortable on skinny road bike tires these days, so she rides a mountain bike with the biggest non-knobby tires her wheels will accommodate; her big tires with plain tread provide a smooth, stable ride that works great on pavement, in grass, on bike paths, etc.. The low, sloping top tube makes it easy to get on and off. Her aluminum frame is lightweight, so its a pretty efficient ride. Give that approach some thought.

I firmly believe cycling is great exercise for our knees, before and after surgery. Good luck with your return to riding a bike, and let us know how you're doing.
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Old 07-30-14, 04:50 PM
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I'm probably having TKR surgery next week. I'll report back here. I haven't ridden less than 7,000 miles in a year in 10 years or so, that's less than when I was going 10-14K miles annually, but still a lot compared to most cyclists, even enthusiasts and some racers. I will be a good guinea pig for how successful somebody can be returning to the road bike after this procedure. I'm older (56, I turn 57 in November) but not really quite elderly, still middle aged, and in better than average condition, even with the 20+ lbs I've gained since I stopped riding as much. I'd like to just get thinner and ride 200 or so miles weekly. We'll see how it goes. Hope to be on a real road bike by October if I do have that surgery in early August. From what I've read from other experiences that doesn't seem too unrealistic.
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Old 07-30-14, 05:10 PM
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Good luck with the surgery and recovery.
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Old 07-30-14, 08:38 PM
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Update two years later. Now 69 and have ridden 3,500 miles this year. Average 2014 ride 48 miles and 16.6 MPH but over 17.5 since new bike in April.

No problems with knee at all--TKR and original left one. Everyone is different however now 9 years since surgery, 6 years biking over 17,000 miles with 8,500 in past 18 months. Still getting stronger. Go for it if you will.
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Old 07-30-14, 10:20 PM
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I have made some attempts to read the medical literature about "cycling" higher mileage after TKR. My interpretation is that the jury is out: there is evidence that cycling as distinguished from "riding a bike" after TKR can be sustained at a high level, but there is also evidence that as the wear and load increases so do the chances of wear and problems with infection and joint failure. There are also cadaver studies of those who have engaged in high intensity activities post TKR and they show no significant difference in wear. So, what to think?

I have been to a plethora of knee specialists, focusing on those who are also cyclists or at least bike riders and the opinions are akin to a random scatter-gram. If you have a TKR and you plan to cycle intensively, your individual biology, and other unknown factors are likely to be the best predictors of outcome, assuming you have a good surgeon who understands your post-surgery activity goals.

I have put it off as long as I am willing to do. I can still ride intensively for reasonable distances pain free, but tomorrow can be a different story when walking is painful and cycling has more pain than not. So, I am willing to make the bet that post-surgery I can ride as much as I can now. I may be wrong, the physicians and the science do not have firm answers at this point.

Good luck in your surgery. Ride the hell out of that knee and let us know what happens.
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Old 07-31-14, 09:22 AM
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Patentcad good luck with surgery. You should do well as most do.

metalheart thanks for your post. You are probably right about individual biology. Having lost a spouse 13 years ago, marrying a wonderful talented lady, moving to Florida and starting biking at a late age, my attitude is to go for it and not live in fear. Learned the hard way tomorrow may never come and better to take and enjoy each day at a time. YMMV
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Old 07-31-14, 09:44 AM
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62 YO. TKR on right knee set for 8/19/14, left knee TKR on 11/18/14. Been pre-habbing a lot riding and lifting + losing some weight - about 30 lbs. so far. Doc says riding won't be an issue and is a great form of exercise post TKR.
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Old 07-31-14, 10:20 PM
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Depends if the new knees are aluminum or carbon fiber...

I never cease to be amazed by the stories I read in this site! You are such an inspiration to us beginners!
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Old 07-31-14, 11:04 PM
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i had my knee done Feb 20 2014. one month to the day I was walking down stairs and "pop" i feel and was in more pain than ever. I completely tore my quadracept muscle, back into surgery the next day. I have been working hard in PT and 2 weeks ago bought a Specialized Crosstrail Disk. I am averaging 6 miles a day. some swelling but I am staying with it. I love it. As a kid I lived on my bike and now I am back after quite a few decades.
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