UKC

/ Knee surgery -Out of the game or better climber?

Paddy_nolan - on 13 Jun 2018

Hi Folks, 

So in a couple weeks i'll be having my MCL, ACL and Meniscus repaired via scary surgery (which word of advice, if you're having this surgery for god sake, don't YouTube it!!), and, well to be perfectly honest i am scared that this will call an end to me very short mountaineering career. I am 22 this year and have a whole host of Trad and big Alpine routes that I want to achieve, but now because of this surgery and injury, i am super worried that these dreams won't become a reality. 

And before anyone says it yes i have watched Meru where Renon Ozturk pretty much dies and due to a superhuman effort is able to be fighting fit again. 

But what i am looking for is advice from some other Climbers and Mountaineers who have had similar surgery (through the NHS) and maybe answer the below:

  • Are you climbing better since your surgery?
  • Did you supplement your recovery with any other useful climbing/mountaineering based exercises that helped to restrengthen everything? 
  • How quickly were you back to climbing/mountaineering to what you felt was a strong standard?

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read/reply 

Patrick (paddy) Nolan

Post edited at 19:13
JIMBO on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Paddy_nolan:

I've had this surgery twice! I wouldn't say I'm climbing better but first time round I almost returned to climbing at my best. This time round it is taking longer.

Do the physio exercises and follow the advice but also listen to your body.

First time I think it took a year and a half to get to strong again, this time I think it'll be more than two...

Paddy_nolan - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to JIMBO:

Bloooomin heck! Good on you for having 2 rounds of surgery!

But yes, very sound advice thank you. I mildly hoped to be joining the "gang" for some winter suffering in Scotland but I am thinking that might not be an option now. 

Thank you though, its just reassuring to hear from other climbers in the same position 

c357 on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Paddy_nolan:

I've only had my meniscus done (twice) and it's torn a third time. I still climb rock, winter alpine and I'm fitter, stronger and climb better than ever. 

However a word of warning is that the most recent tear happened whilst climbing. I now know what sort of moves can damage it so avoid routes like that. As long as you take the recovery easy, follow adive and listen to your body you should be fine. A gradual build up is essential, but expect to take it reasonably easy for at least 6 months.

Post edited at 20:00
JIMBO on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Paddy_nolan:

It took a long time to get used to landing on one foot and especially on unpredictable ground like snow or bog. I also spent a long time bouldering with the rule that I couldn't fall or jump off, but gained quite a bit from having to down climb everything. Having lost half my hamstring to surgery round one I can't heel hook very well and surgery two took part of my quad so I can't mantle or stand up on one leg too good either... The strength for those two moves will take quite some focus to get back. Dyno moves are also out especially off the bad leg.

Kevster - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Paddy_nolan:

Meniscus got partially removed, after the knee locked bent.

Climbed back at a similar level after 6 months (including my hardest indoor sport grade). Took longer to get equal confidence on both legs for all moves (rock overs etc).

My knees have taken a beating through life. I now don't boulder at all, let the ropes take the punishment.

I find the walk in, especially down hill with a pack is what makes the knees complain most. Not the rock climbing itself.

A mate has had both his knees done, and still has a GB shirt for tiathlon. I think it all depends on what genie comes out the lamp each time it's rubbed.

good luck, k

teh_mark on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Paddy_nolan:

I can't give an detail, but my ice hockey coach (who has a couple of decades on you) had some major knee surgery about seven years ago and continues to play to a very high level. Different sport, different person - but might be encouraging for you.

nniff - on 10:23 Thu
In reply to Paddy_nolan:

Meniscus twice and the other knee's distinctly shonky.

Beware rock-overs, jumping off and speedy descents.  Take your time, use walking poles and beware hyper-extension of your knee.  You should be OK

Rob Oram - on 11:32 Thu
In reply to Paddy_nolan:

Had my ACL repaired and clean up of meniscus about 16 years ago after a rugby injury. Took some time to recover and do the rehab etc. But I'm still playing rugby (probably should have retired long ago) and climb occasionally. Certainly immediately after I'd recovered I was climbing as well as I ever had, which was never that well to be fair