View Full Version : Anyone out there skiing with knee replacements?

03-18-2012, 10:42 PM
Help! Is anyone out there waterskiing with new knees? Due to arthritis/bad genes I'm looking at new knees in my future. One of my biggest fears is skiing afterwards. If I can't I will be crushed and ticked. When I'm skiing now it doesn't hurt. Not a course skiier by any means but not an amateur, either. I've skied since I was 7 so the muscles are trained. It hurts when I walk, stand, do hills or steps. I guess I just need some reassurance that I will be able to ski yet. I get up on 2 now and drop it right away d/t bad knees, etc., so no dropoff there. I'm to the point where I think I'll ski through the summer then have the surgery and rehab all winter, hopefully ready to go for summer next year. Any thoughts?? I posted this on another thread, the injury thread and got a couple responses but I thought I'd get it out there by itself. Another guy had a type of partial replacement in the UK, not what I'm looking at, tho. Any help or reassurance will be appreciated:)

03-18-2012, 10:59 PM
Check out this blog...


03-19-2012, 09:41 AM
Well, I'm in the same boat as you.....just waiting till I cant walk anymore. Left knee for me. Old basketball/volleyball injuries 25 years ago have taken a toll on my knees..... I am told by my doctors the new knees would he a huge improvement over what I have now and could play basketball again, so I'm guessing skiing would be better also.......

03-19-2012, 10:57 AM
mgorczak1, thanks for the link! I read through his whole blog re: his surgery and rehab. He didn't have a total knee replacement, but a modified osteotomy with hardware, he had cartilage left in the medial area of his knee and he did a trial in the UK (appliance now off the market). Interesting re: the rehab and meds he was given (I'm a nurse). When I got my steroid injections the first time it really hurt in the right knee, my orthoMD said I had a lot of fluid in that one, second time the left knee hurt like a ... And, the effects of the steroids aren't as good the second time. Sometimes it feels like I have shin splints, pain jutting down my shins when I walk. Getting time to pull the plug and it sounds selfish, my concern about skiing, but...I think this forum would understand:)

03-19-2012, 11:23 AM
wheelerlake, I have been battling with knee trouble since I was 22 when I had a patella realignment procedure. Got xrays 3 years ago and doc said my right knee is bone-on-bone so I may needs at least a partial knee. I get lots of swelling and some arthritic pain as well. I will be 50 this year so pretty soon it's time to bite the bullet. Still skiing and wakeboarding for now, but nothing too crazy. (the skyski has been a knee saver for me though!)

Nice to hear from a lady MC'er......care to say how old you are? I think in my case 50 is too soon for a new knee so I may have to go easy for a few more years yet.

03-19-2012, 01:52 PM
JerseyDave, I'm 55 next month. My health history has almost every joint in his body replaced and when I saw my X-rays his bowlegged legs popped in my mind:( I've been skiing since 7, got our '89 MC in '99 (bless my non-sking husband/driver/mechanic). He knows how much I love to ski, will drop everything he's doing to go "run one", whether it's 2 or 3 times a day when we're at the cottage. He felt bad when he realized just how much I love to ski and we didn't have a ski boat for the first few years we had the cottage. When my then-6 yr old granddaughter got up on skis on the boom at the end of last summer, it was one of the highlights of my life. I babysat for them last Friday, went to a zoo and then the wildlife sanctuary and saw the backs of them as they ran all over, I couldn't even try keeping up with them, my knees hurt so bad. I'm a nurse in an ICU and some nights I can hardly walk to the car in the morning. No way I could run to a code. I can, however, predict the weather. It's going to rain some time in the near future as I have an ache in my knees today that won't quit. Last summer even tho there was no rain on the map on the internet every bone in my body hurt, sure enough, an hour later it was raining. I'm on celebrex 200mg/ day, take a lot of glucosamine and have had 2 rounds of the steroid shots. I try so hard to just suck it up and keep going but it's getting rough. We have a lot of steps and hills at the cottage. I'm afraid of something going south and can't do anything any more:( Lots of incentive to work hard and make it rehab to the max. I know my hubby will push me, too, so I have a great cheerleader in him.

03-19-2012, 02:24 PM
rooting for ya wheeler....

03-19-2012, 08:11 PM
Ok wheeler. I am a Nurse Anesthetist, and have done anesthesia for many partial/total knee replacements.

From surgery to rehab, it's all about the individual. First off, any surgery will set you back six weeks of swelling. It won't matter if it's a total knee or a partial knee. Does this mean you're laid up for six weeks? No. However, your body can only do so much after surgery.

From what I've seen......the younger you are, the better muscle tone you have, the longer the recovery. The best opinion is that of your surgeon. The abilities of your new knee will be with few limits........given the right rehab course and PATIENCE.

It's hard to tell how each patient of mine will do. Alas, it will be hard to tell how you will do. Your surgeon, followed closely by your physical therapist, are your best advisers. Someone somewhere knows somebody that has done it quicker, better, etc. Don't believe all the hype.

If you need a knee replacement, you'll know when to have it done.

03-19-2012, 08:28 PM
Wheeler lake...the one outside of Mountain in WI....nice lake!!

Talk with your surgeon, get several opinions, check out activejoints.com, post the question on a knee replacement board and study up on all the available prosthesis...there will be pros and cons to each.

Had a hip resurface in Dec of 2006 and was footing the following may.

Best of luck!

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03-19-2012, 10:06 PM
JohnnyB, yes, our cottage is on Wheeler Lake out of Lakewood, north of Mountain. We live in Green Bay, I work at Aurora BayCare Hospital.

Thanks to all for the great advice and web site to visit and research. I know everyone's different, I guess I was looking for "it's possible" to shoot for that at least, don't care about the "quicker, faster, etc" part of it-that's for cowboys:) My patients and families always try to compare their loved ones' strokes with the neighbor's stroke. Everyone's different, their health histories are different going into it, different areas of the brain affected....you get it. I get it. My surgeon knows I ski, I discussed that with him already. It's just a matter of pulling the pin. My husband had his done a few years ago with an infection 4 months later-clostridium perfringes-with 2 surgeries to I&D & replace parts, then an approx. 4 month course of penicillin with a port and a "murse" he had 24 hrs/day to infuse the PCN. Since then he has done awesome, nothing holding him back anymore. He's my template for this. Too bad he doesn't ski. His cardiologist would probably frown on it.

So far I haven't heard, "hell yeah, I've had knees replaced and I can rip up the lake just like my old knees did"!! That's what I'm looking for:) Anyone?

03-20-2012, 05:51 AM
Part of it is personal choice.....you have to look at the risks and only you can judge.

The other aspect is how strong can you make your legs to prevent injury? Work hard on maintaining your strength and flexibility.

Also, for slalom is it your front or rear leg?

All that being said, I know one of the Footstock competitors barefoots on knee replacements.

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03-20-2012, 08:29 AM
A good friend of mine is 54 and has now had both knees replaced. He is a very good wakeboarder and still rides as much as his schedule will allow, which is usually multiple times a week.

07-01-2012, 11:04 PM
AAAhhhh....BUMP! BUT, I'm really having a difficult time this year. Every bump, wave, even the wake KILLS my knees when I hit it. OUCH! Wish I would have done my knees last year. Shooting for this Sept or Oct. Doesn't help I lost my ski and have to start over getting my new Siege to respond. Move bindings back, up, middle. Trying to find that sweet spot I had with my old one. ARRRggghhh. Nothing going right:(

07-02-2012, 12:00 AM
This could be the year (winter) for me also. My knee is strong, but has consatant pain all the time........

Miss Rita
07-02-2012, 12:05 AM
I have a friend, 54, who is an avid skier, used to teach at Vail, has been footing and slaloming forever. He had a partial knee replacement in April, was footing' within two months. He's pain free, is VERY happy he did it. Points in his favor: excellent skier, great technique, motivated, kept in shape riding his bike, etc.

The difference between a partial knee replacement and a total knee is that with a total knee surgery the ACL is sacrificed, it's preserved with a partial. I take some issues with the comment above about playing basketball with a total knee. Wile it's possible, I don't believe it's good advice. I think those folks should be active, but should avoid any activities with repetitive impacts.

07-02-2012, 07:35 AM
I have several ex pro skier friends who have had hip replacement and they are ripping it up. The only thing they can't do is jump. Not knee but might help you!

07-02-2012, 08:14 AM
AAAhhhh....BUMP! BUT, I'm really having a difficult time this year. Every bump, wave, even the wake KILLS my knees when I hit it. OUCH! Wish I would have done my knees last year. Shooting for this Sept or Oct. Doesn't help I lost my ski and have to start over getting my new Siege to respond. Move bindings back, up, middle. Trying to find that sweet spot I had with my old one. ARRRggghhh. Nothing going right:(

A few years back I hung up my slalom for barefooting, then wakeboard and now I'm riding the skyski more often. It's a pretty fun sport, easy on the knees but a little tougher on the back if I have some bad landings. You may want to try it to give your knees a break. There's a great forum www.foilforum.com and several videos out there that could help you get started. As long as you have water deeper than 8 feet you can foil behind any boat, and you'll save some gas since your speed will be under 20 mph! Just an option for you.


07-03-2012, 01:26 AM
From what I understand one of the biggest things you can do to reduce knee pain is to lose weight. That is if youre heavy to start with. Every pound gone has a tremendous effect on reducing pain, wear and tear and such. So If thats an issue for you, it would be worth considering. Just a thought.

I knew a 77 year old man with 2 total knees that skied. He also had a replaced shoulder. He didnt ski a lot but he was 77. His doc told him, "go have fun, you'll wear out the knee quicker, but at least you'll be enjoying life doing it"

I didnt read through all the posts, so sorry if this was covered.

Ski Bear
07-14-2012, 01:49 PM
Wheelerlake, I have been a Ski Patroller (think snow) for about 15 years and now have friends who are having their knees replaced. They usually time it for the spring so they are ready to go in November. Not a one has regretted it and they all rip the mountains like the professionals that they are. Unlike normal alpine skiers they really test their knees hauling toboggans and ripping the bumps. Be sure to get a surgeon that works on athletes and understands that you will be very active.

08-26-2012, 02:01 PM
Surgery scheduled for Sept. 12 for right total knee with Zimmer replacements. Happened to bump into my surgeon the other night at work so I asked him how he felt about me water skiing after surgery. He said he didn't want me water skiing after surgery:( He said, "can't you tube?". Response: "I own a Mastercraft Ski boat and that would be sacriligeous(sp)". At the end of the conversation and me explaining that I've been skiing since age 7, get up on one and drop it, etc. he said not to tell him. Just rehab, bike, etc. I'm to the point where I can barely walk and skiing is very difficult, hitting any wake hurts! I have to stretch out before I even get out of bed in order to walk! At this point I don't care if I get up skiing and go 100 yards, just getting up is helping to tone muscles and keep me active.

09-16-2012, 10:02 AM
Had surgery Wednesday, everything went great! Femoral nerve block helped tremendously. Up, walked 5 steps to window and back that day, twice to bathroom that night. Off and going since. My surgeon said my bones are as hard as a male's, which is good, I guess:) Made my way to the neighbor's pontoon boat for a great ride yesterday, so I'm back on the water already, one way or another:) Have to rehab this one, then get the other one done. I woke up from a nap yesterday and the "good" knee hurt worse than the op'd knee. Empathy pain..it knows it's next! Rehab, here I come....to be continued.