Knee replacement questions ?

A year or so ago there was some discussions on knee replacements and I know some of you have had one or both done.

I have a few questions for you who have had a replacement if you don’t mind:

1.Did it change your lifestyle for the worse?

2.Does it affect you getting in and out of your canoe or kayak?

3.Can you still swim as well as you could before it?

4. How long after you had it could you get back into and paddle your canoe or kayak?

5. If you peddled a bike did it affect that or can you still peddle the same?

6. Can you do back packing as well as or better than before it?

7. If you had to do it over again, would you?

Thanks in advance and cheers,


TKR alumni
Hi JackL…

I had a total knee replacement exactly two years ago. Prior to the TKR I was unable to stand long enough to build a kayak. I could not get in/out of a kayak…and had difficulty walking as well.

1.Did it change your lifestyle for the worse?

As ‘we speak’ I am carving out a seat and padded bulkheads for my new hybrid Night Heron. Plan to put her in the water in the next 2 weeks for the first time. I can with relative ease get in and out of a kayak. I can ride my bike (find a recumbent most comforable btw) again…and am building up my mileage to do a century next summer.

2.Does it affect you getting in and out of your canoe or kayak?

Getting in: nope.

Getting out: no problem with a wet exit.

Getting out: not as easy as 15 years ago…but is fine…need to take it slow.

3.Can you still swim as well as you could before it?

My swimming is MUCH improved as my deteriorated knee joint interfered with my ability to swim prior to surgery.

4. How long after you had it could you get back into and paddle your canoe or kayak?

A good question…no recall. I would guess that with active rehab. you would likely feel relatively comfortable getting in/out of your boat in about 4-5 months.

5. If you peddled a bike did it affect that or can you still peddle the same?

Pedaling is fine. I still have residual swelling at times…may always be like this. However, I don’t know what the norm is. FYI…I had nerve damage to my foot following the surgery. I have been told that is very rare…but it happens. So…the problem I have had has not been with my knee but with my foot. However, by working out on an indoor and outdoor recumbent and ‘pushing myself’…much of the neuropathic discomfort has remitted…kind of interesting.

6. Can you do back packing as well as or better than before it?

Cannot comment personally, but I am told that should be relatively fine.

7. If you had to do it over again, would you?

Absolutely…even with the nerve damage! I have nearly completed my Night Heron and can paddle again…walk again…ride again…all great stuff…AND…I get VERY personalized attention at the airport!

Not being a golfer…never thought I would end up purchasing a titanium shaft…who would’ve thunk it?

Great questions…best of luck!


Thank you
That all sounds good except that 4 or 5 months before getting in and out of the kayak.

I don’t like that.


Just do it…
My former spouse had hers done…(Both)…

before the operation, she could barely walk…she is now mobile enough to keep the landscaping in shape around my house…(SHE lives there, I don’t)!

I assisted with her care after each knee was done, and I was amazed at the difference in her quality of life…as was she…

go for it
Hey I’m an orthopaedic nurse and we did approx 500 joint replacements this year, should be up and able to get in your boat about when you are walking with a cain. Depends on the approach your surgon does how fast you can recover, we get about 25% out the 2nd day after surgery to go home. Usually fell great by 6 weeks

How About a Hip?
Anybody have experience with a hip replacement?

I too am slated for a partial knee replacement and have been putting it off because of the possible post surgery problems. I feel better about the outcome because of all of your replys. Thanks Frank

I am now walking so…
bowlegged that it looks like I have been on a horse all my life!



Had both done

– Last Updated: Nov-30-05 10:23 AM EST –

I basically agree with singalong2. Totally improved quality of life. Same Dr. same parts same hospital same therapy but the recovery on the right knee, happened to be the second one done, was much faster than the left one. This is not uncommon in the opinion of the therapists who see hunderds of these things a year. If you are sitting in the canoe I'd guess you could be back as soon as you are comfortable with your stability. 4-5 weeks max. Kneeling is a whole different issue. I can get on my knees to get something under the work bench but more than a minute is real unconfortable. That is 2 years later on the left and 20 months later on the right. As with singalong2 I still get a bit of swellling after a long day of walking or standing in the left knee but nowhere bad enough to be a problem. No comment on the biking cause I haven't ridden in almost 50 years. You will know when it is time. You can only take so much compromise in lifestyle.

A couple of additional thoughts. Look for a Dr. who is aggressive in post op therapy. It will make a big difference in recovery. Mine started me on a CPM leg exercizer the morning after surgery. Keeps the leg moving and prevents scar tissue from building up which has to be broken down later in therapy. Like the Fram as pay me now or pay me later. Believe me now is better. Secondly my 4-5 week to the canoe is based on you having to do the loading amd unloading. If you can get Nanci to do the bull work you can probably cut that time in half.

My father can do everything he did
before the knee replacement surgeries…but better.

I can’t answer your specific questions, but there is no doubt that he is better off having had the surgery, which was several years ago. Both knees were done, not at the same time, but a couple of years apart. He was an excellent patient,and did all of the exercises for range of motion, and made excellent progress. Friends who did not do the recommended excercises, either out of lack of discipline or because it didn’t feel good, don’t have the range of motion they should have.

He has no pain. He is, and always has been, very active and a hard worker. He was never a complainer, but he was in more and more pain. After the surgery…he has no limitations.

Bottom line…the surgery was a success,and he would definitely make the same decision to have it. Why affect the quality of your life when the problem can be fixed. Even if you had some minor limitations, to be able to do the majority of your activities without pain is worth it. Who knows, you may even be able to increase your participation in the things you love.

The only thing I can think of is that if you kneel to paddle your canoe, there might be some limitation there, but you can always adapt your style to fit what works.

The fact that you are very active, and physically fit will make the healing process much faster, and I believe give you even better results than the average person who isn’t very active. Without the surgery, you can only look forward to more and more limitation of what you are able to do, which would be worse than any adaptations you may have to make in the sports you enjoy now.


re: 4-5 months

Regarding the guestimate of 4-5 months, I am referring to the time you may need to comfortably be able to bend and then use your new knee joint to get out of a kayak with a cockpit.


go for it
as to hip surgery vs knee, a hip is way eaiser than a knee and less painful, We get you up full weight bearing the next day, some the day of surgery if you had it in the early am.

With a knee and CPM’s some start it in the recovery room, some the next day and some don’t use it. If you look at the outcomes in 6 weeks everyone is at the same place weither they used a CPM or not.

I don’t kneel in the canoe any more.

The last time I did that was in a race about ten years ago, and at the finish they just about had to pry me out of the canoe.

It took about ten minutes for me to be able to straighten out the bad knee.

I am still leaning on not getting it done yet after hearing the various answers.

Either that or maybe after we come back from our Florida trip in the spring.



Not voting against it …
Almost 10 years ago I peeled off a rock wall and wedged my lower leg between two trees while still rotating downward in the fall resulting in a crushed anterior and separated interior tibia plateau … yep, my leg bent sideways. At the time I was in the best racing shape of my life and slowly moving up the field … when asked if I could ride again Dr. said well, lets see if we can get you walking again … gulp.

The option was there and if someone at the time asked me if I really wanted to get the replacement kneee I would have jumped on it… now I am glad I did not. Yes I was alot younger then and still a bit younger than some of you guys but I just want to say that one day during rehab, I heard of these 200+ crooked stairs that folks train on and went out and did a couple s l o w walks up them and gingerly descended them … The next day I could not believe how much my muscles had gone down but even better was how reguvinated(sp?) my knee felt … I never went back to therapy and simply went up and down those steps a couple times a week … with astounding results …

I guess my .02 would be to try something like this Jack ( NOT a stairmaster) … just for the hell of it + it is a killer cardio work out. I think you might find some good time left in thos babies.

Another thing might be to set up your seat setback so your knee cap ( not that boney protruberence below your knee all the books say to use) is 1-1.5 CM behind the pedal spindle with the cranks @ 3 and 9 oclock and your foot level.

Knee Replacements
Jack: As someone who had the left knee replaced and as a member of a cycling club with 4 members who had knee replacement surgery over the past 3 years (age not overuse did the knee in)I can happily report all of us have no problems cycling…matter of fact, one gal had both knees done and last monday did a 63 mile club ride…

Two of the surgery recipients also ski (yes, downhill style).

Between the two (shoulder or knee) feel blessed it’s the knee.

I can bend and enter exit my tern with ease…No problems.