So I'm sat here, post surgery after being told I should quit climbing/mountaineering etc as I don't have much cartlidge left in my knee. What the hell am I supposed to do now? What am I supposed to replace it with? Any ideas?
In reply to nightmonkeyuk: Take a deep breath. Read everything you can on the subject... then carry on.
I had my third op in 2012 on my right knee and even more cartilidge taken away, The camera showed shocking arthritis too and I've been told the next op will be a knee replacement, probably in the next 5 years. I'm 47. The guy sent a letter to the Doc, outlining no running, no impact sport, no kneeling down (I'm a decorator) and nothing that may risk a heavy landing.
A year later, after changing my running style, I managed to finish a 69 mile ultra despite never having ran more than 10 miles before that last op. No knee pain after too but other parts of me hurt enough to make up for it. I also managed two weeks in the Atlas that culminated in a new 800m route and two weeks in the Alps. I finished last year stronger legged than I've ever been I think.
There's many things I can't/won't do as I know it'll aggravate the knee too much. I have to be careful with drop knees and I wear a brace on the other leg due to the medial ligament being rather stretched due to two separate Grade 1 tears. It's a matter of being sensible, which for me means making sure the muscles around the knee are as strong as possible - hopefully this will mean that they can take more of the strain and I can keep going for longer.
Your surgeon, Doc or consultant will be comparing you to the average member of society who does no exercise and is unwilling to educate themselves well enough to explore different avenues to the goals/lifestyle they want.
Best of luck. IME it's not normally as bad as it seems.
In reply to nightmonkeyuk:
Either ignore the surgeon which is what most of us do or see whether cartilage can be replaced (depends on the damage). If all else fails I can do you a good deal on total knee replacement, one of my climbing partners runs a company making them in the USA.
In reply to nightmonkeyuk: are you joking? for a bad knee... wish all I had was a bad knee! are you wheel chair bound? I ask because if you can stagger a few yards you can climb, I still climb, people think I am drunk, (I am not) sounds like advice, no on ever died of a bad knee, take it as advice you know your own body, listen to it and be a bit sensible, not too much though!
Funny, i used to work for Sryker, one of the world's largest TKR - total knee replacement - manufacturers and you would be amazed at the deals the hospitals would get. They only sell to the NHS and private companies BOGOF is not unheard of.
I also think i have a few old ones (and some hips, shoulders and elbows) knocking around in the garage). They might be the wrong size for you and aren't very sterile now that they are out of their packaging but a quick spit and polish and they'd be as good as new.
> So I'm sat here, post surgery after being told I should quit climbing/mountaineering etc as I don't have much cartlidge left in my knee. What the hell am I supposed to do now? What am I supposed to replace it with? Any ideas?
Before you even think about "replacing" climbing, have another think about your injury. If your consultant is not a runner or climber, ask for a second opinion from someone who is. In any case, do all the reading you can - not just random internet sites, but go to a good bookshop and get some modern text-books on sports injury. Find out everything you can about your specific injury in relation to climbing, or more "mainstream" activities which place similar demands on your knees (e.g. gymnastics, weight training). Then you can have a sensible conversation with the specialists and begin to plan your rehabilitation. Custom made orthotics solved my knee problems, the chances are there will be a solution to yours. It may be hard work, but then so is mountaineering, and it is always worth it.
Look into lubricant injections: http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/treatment/a/synvisc.htm Mrs J has no cartilage left in her right knee - the result of a ligament injury while skiing thirty years ago. She has a series of three injections of Synvisc at one week intervals, twice a year - one for the winter season and one for the summer. I think this year will be her fourth year. She continues to climb at a respectable level and work as a trekking guide here in the alps, doing 65 - 75 days on snowshoes in the winter and the same amount on foot in the summer. She says her knee is far better now than it was four years ago - at that time she really felt like you do now. It's important to find a rheumatologist who you trust and who has a good positive attitude to the treatment.
> A year later, after changing my running style, I managed to finish a 69 mile ultra despite never having ran more than 10 miles before that last op. No knee pain after too but other parts of me hurt enough to make up for it.
Would you mind going into some details? I've got knee pain that pysio exercises haven't hurt and neither have the orthotics from the podiatrist.
In reply to nightmonkeyuk: I don't have much, if any Cartlidge left in my right knee. I've also had ACL and PCL reconstruction on the right knee too. Two Cartlidge tears on the left. I carried on playing Rugby and only finished when the after playing/training pain became to much. My kees never let me down whilst exercising. Lots of strengthening of the Quads and Hamstrings, plenty of 2" wide Oxide tape to strap up the knee, a good knee brace for after and away you go.
> (In reply to mrchewy)
> Would you mind going into some details? I've got knee pain that pysio exercises haven't hurt and neither have the orthotics from the podiatrist.
Torn ligaments in the same knee back in 96, knee was bad ever since and its had plenty of abuse.
Last Nov i ruptured the cartlidge doing a sit-start on a boring rainy day in Kendal. MRI scan confirmed the rupture but the op i had last week also found the entire cartlidge has pretty much worn out. The surgeon did some micro-fractures to try and encourage new growth but have been advised the new cartlidge is a lot weaker. As i came round on the ward he basically said it was the worst case scenario and that i would have to give up doing daft stuff otherwise it would deteriorate even more.
In reply to nightmonkeyuk: ignore the doctors and carry on. do what you can. 5 years ago i got a massive DVT and was told to lead a sedentary life etc etc. i was horrified at the thought. 3 months later i went treking in nepal; against doctors advice. im a bot slower than i was, but so what.just do what you feel you can do. good luck