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Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by RunA42K, Feb 2, 2011.

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  1. RunA42K

    RunA42K Forum Advisor

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    I am a 58 year old female long distance runner. I the past 7 months I've had Supartz injections, then scope surgery on my right knee. My meniscus was torn in half and could not be repaired so most of it was removed. I have too much cartridge loss in the anterior portion of my knee and arthritis that no repair can be done with that either. I am totally unable to run anymore and cannot even walk around the grocery store without pain. I've been in PT three days a week since November 30, 2010. Now I've been sent to a pain management doctor who gave me a TENs unit and set me up with an acupuncturist . My ortho said that if all this did not help to come back and talk about partial knee replacement or knee realignment surgery. I sure don't want to do surgery but I can't stay the way I am now either. More than anything I want to be able to run again. It does no good to tell me I can do other sports, I am seriously mourning for the loss of my running. I have 24 full marathons to my credit (26.2 miles), and if I could only run one marathon per year I'd be happy and would happily do daily runs on soft dirt and grass if need be and cross train on a bike. If I have surgery I sure would like to know if any running would still be in my future. Partial replacement...full replacement?? Does anyone have any info that can help me?
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  2. Max Wallace

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    I can run but I choose not to I have never been active in running sports. I have had occasion since my surgery where I needed to to run for short burst and have had no problems. I have read on this site about others returning to all kinds of sports after surgery football coach, basketball ref, tennis and many other activities. I am sure you will soon get plenty of responses from runners.

    Best wishes!
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  3. RunA42K

    RunA42K Forum Advisor

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Thank you Max! I hope that I will hear from some runners too.
  4. RestAssured

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Hello RunA42K, and Welcome to BoneSmart!:snk:

    The purpose of a TKR is to give you your life back! Yes, it also relieves the pain, but when
    you have your knees replaced it opens up a world of possibilities! If you want to go back to running, you will be able to do it!:snk: We have people who are back to skiing, horse back riding, running, walking, biking, swimming, pretty much whatever they want to do!
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  5. Tykey

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    I'm sure you will run again, I remember mention was made on here about a particular marathon runner who does it with a new knee. Running ongrass etc should be no problem.

    I'd try the search function, you'll probably find it.

    From what I hear of on here, I think you would be far better to have a full, rather than a partial replacement, many surgeons won't now do partials because they very often used to need to replace the partials within a couple of years.
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  6. Joy1

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    I myself was a runner not as extensive as marthons but half ones and 3 or 4 road races a year. I beleive this caused me to get arthris at an early age in both knees. I used to to LOVE to run and completely understand how you mourn it, nothing clears the mind, works up a sweat and allows you get fresh air better. I still miss it and have not been able to run for years because of my knees.

    Running is the probably one of the only sports DOCTORS state will put more wear and tear on a knee joint than any other sport. If you know this up front and run on your new knee, (which you can) you are limiting the life span of it.

    I am fortuntely a good swimmer so I join a local gym that has a great pool. I am also considering getting into biking. I would like to hear from others to see what has worked from them to stay active.
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  7. ruppbike

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    RunA42K -

    I feel your pain. Really, I do. I was told 8 years ago I had to stop running due to bone-on-bone OS in both knees and it was a serious blow to my mental well being. I took up other sports (swimming and mountain biking) and along with road cycling kept active, but I still craved what a 10-mile run in the morning could give me. As time progressed I could not walk much without pain. This fall I said enough and decided to get the TKRs. The surgeons I talked to all said I could and would be able to run on my new knees, however, they did not reccomend it because of the high impact nature of running causing "pre-mature" wear out of the implants. What is pre-mature if the life of these implants is 30-40 years, 25 years? No one could tell me. The surgeon I did use told me he has a patient that does a marathon every year. I was also told I could do basketball, racket sports, etc., which to me are just as hard on the knees as running. I don't have a definitive answer or experience to give you since I am only 37 days post BTKR surgery. However, even at this early stage of rehab and recovery I feel like I could run as the tissues start loosening up. Yesterday I jogged on a trampoline at PT and it felt great.

    Good luck with your quest and you have come to the right place to get some experiences and advice to help with your decisions.

    Kurt
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  8. RunA42K

    RunA42K Forum Advisor

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    Last night I found this forum just by accident when I was searching around the Internet to try to find some answers about my knee problems. I am so thankful to all of you who have responded so far! You are like a family or friends who understands just what I am going through. I am still trying to figure out the site and manoeuvre around the forum, I would just like to say how glad I am to have found you. Others may listen with a sympathetic ear but they just don't understand! Thank you everyone ;-)
  9. referee54

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    My ortho said for me to only run if need to "run for my life." I used to run a lot, and that is what helped burn out my knees. I reffed college hoops for 17 seasons and I ran to stay in shape.

    I still miss it a great deal, but now I cycle a great deal and use an elliptical machine, too.

    Some surgeons will tell you that it is OK to run; others will warn you abut what it could do. There is a thread on this site that indicates that most TKR's are not damaged by resuming athletic endeavors.

    Talk frankly about it with perhaps several orthos who specialize in TKR's---see what they have to say about it.

    Tim C.
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  10. referee54

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Here is my story:

    I reffed HS and college basketball, football and baseball ---baseball since 1974, the others since the '80's. I more or less burnt out my knees. I used to run a great deal; a college game is 4-5 miles of running a night sometimes, and football requires some serious running, too. To stay in shape, I used to run. In the latter seasons of reffing hoops, I was driving or flying home with ice packs on my knees.

    As I stated previously in my first response, my surgeon told me that the only time I was to run was "for my life." I had a BTKR at the age of 53, so I want these little boogers to last me as long as possible. What concerns me most about running is what the repeated impact of running does not only to the surfaces of the implant, but also to the glue.

    I did read the thread that states that most sports do not harm the prosthesis, but as for me, I am not going to take that chance. L

    Like I said, talk to three or four several orthos who do a great deal of TKR's and hear what they have to say. In the end, it is up to you---you need to be informed as to what may or may not happen and the risks involved.

    While I miss running, I do not miss the nights awake in pain and the horrible twinges in my knee when I stepped in a rut on a FB field, or trying to slowly decelerate on the basketball court instead of just planting the brakes! That trade is one that I am more than willing to make.

    Tim C.
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  11. Josephine

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Hey, Run, and welcome to BoneSmart! There is a lot of valuable information in the Library (link up top in the grey Nav bar) about general and knee-specific items which I urge you to read. Plus this article which somebody found recently - you might find it encouraging! Knee Replacements Not Harmed by Most Sports
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  12. DavidOKC

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    My OS was like ref's. He said I would be able to run but that I should never do it unless my life depends on it.
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  13. themess

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Runner welcome to "BoneSmart" it is one of the best web sites you could ever find by accident (which is how I found it). I don't think anyone has come up with a good answer for that but it was only a few years ago that they were saying don't do anything physical and be grateful that you can now walk. It is completely different now go out and do what ever you want but be smart about how you do things now. Giving a bit more thought to how you'll recover from that activity.

    I'm having great success recovering from my LTKR 1/13/2011. Walking over a mile at a time walking up stairs without using the handrail. I definitely feel that I am unlimited in what I can do and will continue to add more activities as soon as I feel like I can do them. One thing I want to do is get back into Motocross. I feel right now(less than 3 weeks out) that I could do anything I want, ski, snowboard, play tennis and even Motocross. But I will probably wait a bit longer (like I said be smart). Cycling is great and when done properly puts very little strain on the knees. I used to run everywhere, I never walked I was always a hyper person growing up and didn't have time to walk to where I was going. I look forward to at least jogging now and then instead of walking to my destination.

    Good luck and I'm sure you'll be out there running again with no problem and enjoying every minute of it.

    Good luck and be positive.

    themess
    LTKR 1/13/2011
    RTKR scheduled 3/31/2011
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  14. RunA42K

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    You people are making me feel good and positive!! I have the names of 4 doctors and I will start calling tomorrow for a second opinion. I feel like I am just delaying the inevitable. If I need the knee replacement I just want to get on with it, I don't want to continue the way I am right now. Last week, wearing my unloader brace, I walked out of Macy's after dark into the parking lot to walk to my car. I realized then how very vulnerable I was. I could not run away from my own shadow let alone someone trying to steal my purse! Yesterday morning I got caught in a big downpour/thunder storm on my way into work. I had no choice but to walk my slow turtle pace and got completely soaked from head toe. That is my life now and I don't like it!

    I know how to train smart and once I have this surgery and recover, I will be happy to walk before I can jog, and jog before I can run, etc. I will be happy to run on dirt and grass and alternate running with the GREAT bicycle that my husband bought me a couple of weeks ago. How about I train only on soft surfaces and the bike and then do one marathon a year in the street? I am 58 years old, in March 59. How long do these new knees last? Thirty years? Maybe 25 if I run on it...I would be in my 80's! I would rather enjoy life and the things I love and save being old when I reach my 80's!

    Thanks everyone, Bonnie
    P. S. I'll let you know when I see the next doc!


  15. Jamie

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Hi, Bonnie....welcome to BoneSmart!!! I'm glad you found us and you're right....you're now a member of a great big caring family who truly understands what you're going through.

    I think you are very wise to get multiple opinions. Here are some questions you can ask the surgeons you talk with. Good luck and let us know how things go!
  16. Joy1

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Below are a couple of points mentioned in the article that high impact sports are okay for patients with implants.

    The first which concerns me is the first sentence they "could be wrong" which indicates this was not a controled study and it does not mention how many people were included in the study or their age groups.

    The second is "after more than seven years". I would hope even if you abused your knee implant the technology would hold up for longer than 7 years.

    I would need more conclusive medical studies done before I risked high impact sports.

    Quote:
    But a new study suggests that those long-held assumptions could be wrong. The study compared two groups of people with knee implants – those who ignored advice to take it easy on their new joints (called the sport group) and model patients who followed doctors' orders to avoid high-impact activities (the control group).

    Researchers found that after more than seven years there were no significant differences in wear or mechanical failure between the two groups.

    Quote:
  17. Tykey

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    To run or not to run?

    That all depends on your own attitude to risk. Sure it "might" reduce the lifetime of your knee, but who knows if this can be measured in days, weeks, months or years.

    From your own posts, running is extremely important to you, and unless you have a new knee you won't be running at all.

    So you have to balance the benefits of quality of life against the potential risks.

    I know what I would do:wink:

    PS, if you only have a partial, the chances of needing another new knee in the future are pretty certain.
  18. davrunner

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Bonnie,
    Welcome to the family. Like you I was an avid runner. My last marathon was in 2003, Marine Corps in DC. I had an MRI due to neck and back pain in early 2004 and my Dr told me my running days were over. Due to degenerative discs I risked becoming paralyzed due to the high impact. Of course I still road mountain bikes for a couple of years but had to give that up as well. It took me a long time to get over no more running.
    If I didn't have the back problems I would definately try running on my new knee. I just had a partial a couple weeks ago and so far am very happy with it. If you're going to try running I would discuss that with your OS and see if that would make a difference on patrial vs full. Good luck on your decision. Everyone here is very supportive and ready to help, you found a great group.
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  19. RunA42K

    RunA42K Forum Advisor

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Running is indeed very important to me and I am not ready to give up yet. You are right...without a new knee I can't run at all and with a new knee maybe some running is in my future. This past Sunday was the Houston Marathon here where I live. I was registered for it since last July. I had a streak going of 13 consecutive years running it since 1998. Here in Houston at the marathon you can earn Veteran status after 10 marathons and you can just keep racking them up with really cool award shirts that have hash marks down the sleeve for marathons run. Mine has 13 and I wanted at least 15. I trained my daughter for the marathon while riding my bike along side of her. She ran it on Sunday, I was there at the start line with her. We sang along to the National Anthem, the gun went off, and I stepped to the side of the road after telling my daughter goodbye. I walked away from the start line wearing that big unloader brace and needless to say I had tears of sadness to deal with. I drove around the course to cheer her and others on at Mile 9, Mile 17, Mile 22 and the Finish. It was a very hard day for me on January 30! Today I made an appointment with another OS who specializes in knee replacement. I see him on Tuesday afternoon February 8...stay tuned

    Bonnie ;-)
  20. davrunner

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    Re: Can I run again if I have surgery either partial or full knee replacement?I am a almost 59 year

    Best of luck with your appointment. I know what you mean seeing a marathon and having to cheer. The St Jude marathon runs about 3 blocks from my house and I see it every year. I am now to the point I am going to volunteer for a aid station next year.
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