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Old 02-22-2015   #1
latenightjoneser's Avatar
steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 417
how long after knee surgery before easy whitewater?

I am getting mcl and pcl surgery Tuesday, both fully separated. How long before I can get in my kayak? How long before I can roll?

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Old 02-22-2015   #2
mcoper8901's Avatar
Salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 96
I had acl surgery with meniscus on march 19 of last year. I was able to kayak class 3/4 (Lochsa) by mid may. I think the scariest parts of it were walking around on shore, or if I would have swam. Once I was sitting down in my boat I felt great.

Good luck man!!

Keep it Steep
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Old 02-22-2015   #3
tango's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 689
I just had my PCL, ACL, and MCL reconstructed 6 weeks ago. Ended up with three different types of grafts and five titanium screws. This week I started bearing weight.

The PCL protocols for rehabilitation take precedent over everything else. I'm weaning off crutches for two weeks, and was hoping to get into a pool to try and roll very soon. My quad and calf are still significantly atrophied, with a little swelling still in the knee.

Doc said six months for sports, nine to twelve months to be 100%. I can give you lots of info/opinions if you want to chat. Your injury sounds similar to mine.

Are you going to the Steadman clinic in Vail?

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Old 02-24-2015   #4
basalt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 59
be patient, and obey doc/pt orders, will pay dividends in the long run.
I'll try to be short. I have had 3 knee ops, none of which were reconstructive like yours sounds, all more minor. 1 micro fracture right knee, results great, 1 micro fracture left knee, results shitty, subsequently 1 meniscus repair (stitches in meniscus so longer rehab) left knee, still recovering but optimistically good.
long and short, I probably jumped the gun on all of them when it comes to getting back in the yak, wish i woulda stayed in the gym longer before the boat.
to paddle easy whitewater and roll? do what doc says, you'll feel ready to sit in a kayak and paddle well before you feel ready to ski, hike, even bike, but don't necessarily do so.
to paddle tough whitewater? you'll still feel ready but the numerous other aspects of running harder stuff are not good for knees at all. i.e.: hike ins/out while shouldering boat, scouting, being prepared to play a safety roll whenever and wherever, aside from safety;r escuing on and off river, self or others, not to mention the inevitable swim.
I had all my ops in winter, kissed away ski season with no qualms, rehabbed religiously, then spring came, knee feeling better, and felt fine in boat. The actual act of sitting and paddling/rolling in boat was probably fine, so i figured, lets get after it and knee will heal better by school of hard knocks. Not sure my knees or knees took any steps back, however i feel in hindsight my time would have been better spent in the gym doing the boring rehab drills and waiting till knee was sufficiently strong to deal with the many obsticals whitewater rivers can throw at you.
I said i'll be short, was not at all, but you do the same with your rehab. hit it hard and listen to the geeks with the doctor degrees. PT will do much more for you post op than any doc will, and don't be too anxious to fire up big drops. even if the flows are high and your itching to get out, hit the gym instead until you're def. ready. I talk like an old grizzled vet, I'm not, still young, but wise enough to be kicking myself in the ass for trying to hike around with a creek boat and run the shit before my joints were properly strong.
Strong is the main word, strong is much different than healed. I think structurally i was healed but not strong, and a weak knee is not a healed knee. do your time and come back to the rio rather than the docs office.
got way long here, back to OP, to run easy ww, you'll prob feel fine before doc says ok, so not the worst thing to get in a pool and roll, but gym will do you much kinder than the river will, till your ready.
My whole ramble in one sentence: listen to your doctors and PT before any idiots (self included) on a boater forum
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Old 02-24-2015   #5
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 90
I tore my ACL on April 21 skiing, I was taking my raft out 3 weeks later, I had my surgery on June 6th and I was back on the river 2 weeks later. I didnt really slow down on any activities, I used crutches for 3 days and then just fought through the pain. The only time I need my knee while on the river is loading/unloading my boat.
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Old 03-12-2015   #6
yourrealdad's Avatar
185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
Paddling Since: 1864
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 917
Listen to T-Boss. I have had surgery on both knees and while it was before I was kayaking, I was very active. Football, wrestling, track, MTB, etc. Make sure your knees are ready to go before you get back into anything. My first knee surgery I spent more time trying to "do stuff" than PT and it took almost 6 months longer to recover from vs. my second surgery where all I did was PT and was cautious about getting back into the swing of things.

You might fell like you are ready and kayaking might feel fine, but what if you slip at the takeout or swim. I know you said easy whitewater but shit happens. I pitoned twice last year in easy water (once in my playboat) and both times it jammed my legs pretty good and I was sore for a while with somewhat healthy knees.

Take your time so that in the future you can go full steam.

P.S. T-Boss I am in Gwood, lets boat some time (unless you are Trevor, cause then I don't want to boat with you j/k)
970-217-21 six six
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Old 04-07-2015   #7
latenightjoneser's Avatar
steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 417
Well, I got on Cross Sunday. 6 weeks.

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