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Old 04-20-2013   #1
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 316
advice on protecting a knee when paddling

I had knee surgery 4 weeks ago and would like to start paddling again. (before I get told it is too soon and I should wait for recovery, let me explain) The surgery was not successful. I had medial femoral condoyle damage that was not able to be repaired. The only option is a knee replacement which I have opted not to do right now. The problem is the knee is really sore and probably going to be this way for a long while if not always. Do you think wearing a knee pad under my drysuit would be dangerous for wet exit if needed?

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Old 04-20-2013   #2
gypsy, Colorado
Paddling Since: 02
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 176
There are some rather snug neoprene knee pads out there that might work, and no it shouldn't impair exiting. And all the poeople telling people to wait after knee surgery is BS, the actual healing is usually 6 weeks everything after that is in your head. Stay strong paddle hard and get the knee replacement, I hear they are pretty good now, I know I'm going to need both of mine done sooner then later.

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Old 04-20-2013   #3
Duckins's Avatar
Montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 173
I'd suggest listening to your surgeon, who has a vested interest in your recovery. There are a number of knee conditions that take longer than six weeks to heal. If it is just the medial femoral condyle that is damaged you may be able to get a partial knee replacement, which has some advantages over a total knee. Again, ask your surgeon and take the post-operative therapy seriously.
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Old 04-20-2013   #4
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Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
Would you rathe use a brace over a pad?

I have a few friends that all wear neoprene knee supports when boating, all without issues. I do agree to follow the post op therapy that is prescribed for you, but I believe in starting as soon as you feel you are ready vs. waiting a full 6-8 weeks or what have you. You know your body better than the physician
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Old 04-20-2013   #5
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 43
Go into PT and do a couple sessions with them and ask them for a knee brace. It works well as a pad and it will give you support, however it is still gonna hurt... A lot if you hit your feet and such. Learned that the hard way. Best to wait a few weeks and talk to surgeon/ physical therapist and still be able to walk to the river.
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Old 04-20-2013   #6
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 316
Thanks everyone. I am having a custom brace made and it should be here in about a week. I am not sure I would want to wear it inside my boat for safety reasons tho . Would it make it harder to get out if need be?
But you are all so right...I see the surgeon for re-evaluation next Thurs. and have been doing physio and post op exercises faithfully since surgery.
I guess I am just a little impatient because I have never had an injury that has stopped me from doing everything before like this time. I went to the lake today and practised rolling and it hurt A LOT!!!
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Old 04-20-2013   #7
BCxp's Avatar
Staghorn Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 147
If a rebuild or TKR (total knee) is in the works someday, ask your surgeon about a technique known as Mako Assist Arthroscopy. It has been used successfully on athletes with a range of knee issues for some time now. It is a robotic-assist technique. No, the robot does not do surgery, rather it works with the surgeon to assist generating a more accurate surgical map This can result in an easier recovery experience with impressive long-term performance. Remember, everyone is different so your mileage may vary.

You can find information, including OR videos of Mako-Assist knee and hip surgeries by Googling Mako Assist. Consider asking your surgeon about this, but also consider first getting testimonials from people who've benefitted from Mako vs, other techniques.

Not sure where you're living, but if in Colorado feel free to PM me and I'll tell you what I've learned about Mako and athletics from my experience deciding how and where to get a Total Hip Replacement in Colorado.

My hip is totally history and basically looks like something out of Pirates of teh Carribean. Every doc I consulted said I'd never be able to get in a kayak again without high risk of dislocation...and significant pain from lower body position required by kayaking...except Mako docs who work with US Kayak, Ski, and Mt Bike teams and deal frequently with some ugly knees. Maybe there's a Mako doc near you you can check out.

Yes, THR can be less daunting than a knee, yet Mako has an encourqging track record with knees.


(No, I'm not a doctor, just a PT waiting to paddle again. Didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but did do a lot of research on joint replacement/repair.)
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Old 04-20-2013   #8
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bc, CA
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Wow BCxp, that sounds really interesting. I will look into that for sure. Oh by the way...I live in BC, Canada.
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Old 04-20-2013   #9
BCxp's Avatar
Staghorn Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 147
hmmm...not sure they're in Canada yet, given all the governmental hoops required for surgical tools, some or more of which I would think exit in Canada. Google Mako and when you get to their home site, there's a list of clinics authorized & trained for Mako. The company has been developing and growing conservatively because of the potential of the technique.

An extended "vacation" to the states??!? (If coverage permits) It sounds like that knee is not going to go away, and may very well get worse as you grow older. (I won't pussyfoot...stuff like this rarely improves with age. The sooner you act, probably the better the potential for a favorable outcome)

{No, I do not work or have any affiliation with Mako, other than as a patient.}

Best wishes, good luck, think positive, be proactive. You're gutsy! I can't imagine trying a roll with a knee like that.
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Old 04-21-2013   #10
Commercial Paleontology
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 182
Knee issue

Just want to say............Thru my personal & the experience of friends & family...I know it can be expensive....but when it comes to major surgery....I am a FIRM believer in getting a second opinion if possible......Talk to your Doc & PT about how using your pain threshhold as a guide plays into the potential of upping your activity level or whether you could be doing further damage...Pain can be a great tool when used properly..Good Luck with the whole process..

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