who has/had knee problems? | High Sierra Topix  

who has/had knee problems?

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:06 pm

I have dealt with multiple knee injuries and operations over the years (operations in 1978, 1998), as a member of KP, and have managed to stay very mobile in the backcountry and elsewhere. I heartily agree with statements regarding seeking second opinions as a KP member. Another observation I have is that KP's general orientation is that so as long as one is walking you're OK, whereas a truly sporting or athletic lifestyle is beyond their general scope. However, I have repeatedly made it clear that it was important to me to lead such a lifestyle, so my 2nd knee operation in 1998 took place (at my request) even though I could probably run faster and jump higher than the vast majority of adults my age (39 at the time of the operation).

One thing to think about and consider before you go under the knife is whether various strengthening and flexibility exercises can postpone or obviate the need for surgery. My 1998 surgery was originally scheduled for 1994(? maybe earlier, the problems leading to this began in 1992) but was postponed two years because of changes and upgrades in my rehab/strengthening/flexibility regimen that a KP orthopedic surgeon had suggested to me (the one who would have operated on me in 1994 or so but did not). When I told him (ca. 1994?) that the exercises helped so much I wished to cancel the surgery date he remarked to me that in his experience, such exercises were indeed very effective, but very few people diligently did them even when told of their benefits. There have been many moderate knee injuries that I have worked through with my strength and flexibility exercises (quadriceps and hamstring strengthening, flexibility of quads, hamstrings), since my first knee operation in 1978.

I can honestly say that my "bad" knee (right one, on which I've had two operations) is way better than it was in the years 1977-1980 or so. I remember going backpacking with friends during that period of time and they would say it was spooky to hike behind me and watch my knee unpredictably buckle every now and then. I can't recall the last time that happened in the high country. I have since sustained injuries to my "good" knee while backpacking, most notably hyperextending it missing an off trail landing (jumping a small stream) in 1987 and it is beginning to feel about the way my "bad" one did before my 1998 operation. I've tweaked my bad one a couple of times in the last few years, but have rebounded reasonably quickly, probably because of my extensive strength training routine: in 2008 I got a bit carried away why scree skiing on descent of Finger Peak. The right knee sort of caved after a jump and bothered me for the rest of the "Tunechuck" trip, but didn't significantly impede what was the best backpack trip I've had since the mid 90's. I think it was three months of rehab before the knee was back to "baseline". Similarly, I took a fall off of slippery boulder while teaching a field geology class in 2011 and tweaked the right knee on landing. That one also took about 3 months to get back to baseline. In both cases, I suspect the severity of the injury and the recovery times were much shorter than would have been the case without my strengthening regimen.

I believe that the older we get, the more time we need to devote to rehabilitative/preventative maintenance sort of exercise and training. This is somewhat along the lines of what the great pitcher Nolan Ryan once said (I believe it was when he was still playing in his mid 40's) "Sports after the late 30's is one continuous rehab." To me, the extra training time necessary to stay mobile over rough ground is well worth it.

Best wishes getting your knee back in hiking shape. The same wishes go out to MK's wife.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html



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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby maverick » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:07 pm

Read these LC they may help in your recovery:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7390
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4067&start=12
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby lostcoyote » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:53 pm

that's everyone.
all information is very helpful.

at this point, i'd like to get them to give me an MRI and if i need to get a 2'cd opinion, that is what i will do.
i wish for the MRI because i simply would like to know whether this is really a tear in progress or cartilage damage - all from years of abuse starting with the ski injury, rock hopping, carrying a 100 pound pack full of 4x5 camera gear over "harrison passes", and being overweight.

given that, i can see what sort of physical thereapy exercises i can start doing - and taking off 50 pounds of excess weight wouldn't hurt either. but first, i just really need to see exactly what it is that is making it hurt to step up and down steps and the pain is coming the back of the leg right behind the knee joint.
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:20 pm

Any updates LC in regards to getting a second opinion and the physical therapy?
Has your knee pain gotten any better?
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby SSSdave » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:42 am

Good luck on healing up that knee issue. Knee injuries are often the final blow to some of we aging outdoor enthusiast adventure days.

My own old knees are rather healthy at the moment. For exercise last Saturday I did a 5 mile 1500 foot stay in shape dayhike carrying 39 pounds. Have been an enthusiastic skier over 3 decades and backpacker over 4 decades often carrying ugly loads. This year in my olding age am launching down bumps as much as ever though the drought since early January has crimped my skiing days. About 15 years ago I gradually developed some loose miniscus cartilage in one knee so eventually underwent orthoscopic surgery. My loose meniscus cartilage symptoms before surgery tended to come and go intermittently. Also every few years I seem to manage a minor collateral ligament strain that usually requires several weeks to few months laying low.
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby sekihiker » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:25 am

My left knee was injured during football practice more than 50 years ago. After numerous dislocations during subsequent athletic activities, I had surgery in 1963. The surgery was scheduled to last 45 minutes. Three and a half hours later, the orthopedic surgeon emerged from the operating room and told my father that there was a good chance I would never walk again. My ACL was gone and he had to remove my medial meniscus and much of the cartilage between my kneecap and knee among other things.

A couple of weeks later the surgeon removed the stitches from the incision. He made it clear that my days as an athlete were over. As I listed all the sports I enjoyed, he said I would never be able to do any of them. Even hiking was out of the question.

The advice seemed so idiotic to me that I ignored it. I didn't play any more football, but I tried basketball, skiing, racket sports, swimming, running, and hiking. It didn't take long to figure out which of them I would have to drop.

I ran marathons until I was 47 when I injured a nerve in my lower leg (not while running but while moving a piece of furniture.) I have never given up hiking. I carry a knee brace just in case. Since I quit running 20 years ago, my fitness level has gradually declined even though I rode my bike to work for 20 to 30 minutes and regularly walked the dogs for a couple of miles a day.

Since retiring, I joined a gym and discovered that walking on an inclined treadmill, putting in time on the stationary bike, and using the stairclimber has restored some of my fitness. The nerve injury isn't completely healed, but I am considering taking up distance running again. Running has always been the most enjoyable way for me to maintain fitness, well, of course, except for hiking.

I've been asked by doctors and others if I'm in pain. After all, my knee has been bone on bone for almost 50 years. I admit that I have felt some. Thirty years ago, I read a Sports Illustrated article on knee injuries and my knee hurt off and on for the next six months.
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby MJF » Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:06 pm

I had my first reconstructive surgery on my left knee in 6th grade. I wiped out my right knee in the Army and had surgery on them both. Years of construction work have done them in. My trekking poles have saved the day along with carrying way less weight. I hike at a slow pace that is easy on the knees.
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby freestone » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:05 am

This last year my knees have become progressively more painful. last spring I switched from riding my bike to walking to work- 2miles one way, mostly level. After the switch the knees starting feeling much better and by September I was ready for my Sierra trip. During and after the trip they were still ok although, during the trip I knew I was pushing the envelope of comfort. Then 2 weeks post trip my right knee became painful, especially on the medial side. I made an appointment with the orthopedist who did my bilateral knee orthoscopies almost 10 years ago, thinking that another meniscal trim job was due. Not so. After x-rays,the diagnosis was medial compartment osteoarthritis with medial joint narrowing. No surgery or MRI indicted, and "Oh by the way, you may want to consider swimming over backpacking."... Ouch!!
Physical therapy was prescribed and after the first visit I knew that there was still hope. The game plan was to work on my hip and femoral muscle groups to strengthen and increase their flexibility. This will theoretically lead to better walking mechanics and put less stress and impact on the knees.
After 2 weeks on a foam roller and resistance band regimen, there seems to be some improvement, and I am now even considering yoga with my wife. I will never be the pretzel she is, but all the rusty springs will surely loosen up.
So the reality for me is backpacking in the Alpine Sierra is a high impact sport that will cause pain for me now, even with trekking poles. By January I think I will have healed, but the residual damage is done and there to stay.
So, if I follow doctor's orders, I will be swimming with the trout instead of fishing for them from now on!
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby oldranger » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:36 am

Freestone

That sucks! Somehow despite many 100 day skiing years a thousands and thousands of vertical ups and downs my knees are ok. But hips are another story but not bad enough to keep me off the trails or off of extensive cross country travel. Keeping my fingers crossed as I approach 70, though.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby ndwoods » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:48 pm

I used to. My knees were so bad I would lay in bed at night and almost cry they stung and ached so bad. I started Crossfit and the pain is completely gone in one knee and about 90% gone in the other....I must have had some kind of tendonitis or something. I thought for sure I was headed to knee replacements...whew...
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby sambieni » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:03 am

Knee problems are the worst!

5+ years ago, I basically blew out my "shock absorbers" in my knees years back w the constant down pounding on Mt Katahdin in Maine - 4,000 feet up and down in a day. For 1-2 weeks after hobbled. Took time off trail/exercise for a while and when resumed training/getting back into shape for following summer had to get into PT for a few weeks to rebuild the muscle and flexiblity. This year, once again, I landed hard on my knee cap slipping on winter ice up in Death Valley's peaks. Nearly fractured my knee cap. Serious bruising. Once again back in PT -setting me back big time during my training for summer backpacking.

One thing I learned - this time around is PT plus regular (Iyengar) Yoga is keeping me strong and flexible. But the stability and balance is the key. Need to work all muscle groups and give it variety. I had been overcompensated certain groups (quads) over others (glutes) to my detriment. Now need to re-build and work it all up from the ground. That and need the regular maintenance - not stop/starting on the training, exercise bit - to maintain the balance/flexibility.

Worse part - can hit you at any age... I'm not even 40.... :crybaby:
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Re: who has/had knee problems?

Postby rlown » Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:19 pm

folded the left knee a few years ago after a left ankle sprain (combined injury). Now the patella clicks. doctor told me to extend it with a 1lb sand weight on the ankle to build the outside muscle strength. appears to be working.

Update 4/25 after an actual x-ray of the ankle. Appears I actually broke that ankle in the early 90's 8 miles in..

FINDINGS:

BONES: Evidence of osseous remodeling distal fibular shaft
suggesting an old, healed fracture. No acute fracture identified.


Go figure. Patella still pops, but it could be worse. I'll just rub some dirt on it. :) And maybe get in shape before I go out and be more careful.
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