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After suffering a bad knee injury in Nov/12 and having (unsuccessful) surgery in March/13, I seem to be very hesitant to paddle anything harder than class III.
I have healed enough to get into my boat but am told I will not improve much more than this until I decide to do a knee replacement...so they say. I am hoping to prove them wrong.
I am not sure if these feelings are because I am afraid to swim (and bash my knee - not much of a patella left) or just make a total ass of myself.
I am nowhere near the fitness level I was last summer but am having a hard time figuring out if my fears are rational or just phantom fears.
Feeling pretty bummed right now!
 

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The Old Troll
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I've had both hips replaced and from my point of view you need to get that knee replaced so that you can get back in the game. Good luck to you.
 

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Boating is about... having fun - among other things. Boat at a level that is comfortable and fun for you. These levels change for a variety of reasons. When the time comes to step it up further you will know.
 

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Sounds bad enough that it might be affecting other area of your life. Get your knee fixed!

And if III is sufficient challenge for you this season, by all means, boat class III!! Winter is long (and good surgery recovery time)..bank some memories this season to get you through it!
 

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The Old Troll
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God bless you. I've been where you are. The longer you wait the longer it will take to rehabilitate. Bite the bullet find a good surgeon and do it. I have friends who are skiing now who have had their knees fixed. My hips are great.
 

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I am not sure if these feelings are because I am afraid to swim (and bash my knee - not much of a patella left) or just make a total ass of myself.
Sadly, I feel you. After my swim down lower clear creek (mainly due to making a total ass of myself), I banged up my lower half pretty bad; knees, shins, thighs, tailbone, you name it. No where near the level of knee-hurt you had, but still. Couldn't quite walk right for a few days.

I hit up Black Rock and Bailey after a couple of weeks break, but it was stressful as hell for me and I still made an ass of myself more or less, on both trips. No one was hurt, no equipment lost; I didn't swim, but still. Didn't come away thinking 'that was awesome/fun/let's do it again' like I normally would, but more or less 'glad that's over/we made it/no one was hurt/why did I have my worst lines ever?'.

I'm dialing it back a bit now and plan to have at least knee and shin pads before I paddle through blast-rock-hell again. I'm not one to swim normally anyway, but still. Also need to be SWR certified before I'm at least partially-responsible for anybody on Class IV+ again.
 

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First, if you are afraid of making an ass of yourself then A) Don't swim, B) get with a different crew that doesn't make you feel like an ass, C) Quit worrying about you ego like you are 16 yrs old.

Second, If going above class III makes you nervous about swimming it should, thats how you get hurt. The solution is A) again. You shouldn't be going above III if you plan on swimming anyways.

Third, Get you knee fixed. I have had both done and need to go back for more, who cares if you don't have a patella left if you are replacing anyways, Do it now while you have met deductible.

Fourth, Your fears are irrational. All fear is irrational. Do you fear driving your car? Or walking down a sidewalk? Far more likely to get hurt doing those. Once again injuries will be less likely if you refer to A)

If you truly love boating do whatever you can to get out there. This is coming from a guy who is typing one handed because I have literally lost my nerve to kayak (in my hand) and wants nothing more to be able to be on the river.
 

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To the OP. If feels like you are making the classic mistake of relating your injury experiences to the likelihood of getting injured. The "fear" should be that every time you swim or go kayaking, you could get injured. That fact remains for all of us despite any past injuries. Many people never return to a sport like kayaking after the first injury. The realization that they are susceptible to injury comes crashing home. As far as making an ass of yourself, that's all in YOUR head. If that's something you're worried about then you're not focusing on your skills, you're focusing on what other's think of you. That's your own stigma.

You identified the things you need to do. Get in shape, work on your fundamentals, and paddle what's in your range of comfort for now. Many never get beyond class III so while it might suck for you, so be it. May it be a motivator to get in shape! As far as your knee goes, I have no idea what you need to do. I do know knee injuries suck and I hope you get it fixed so you can get back into the game!
 

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One practical suggestion: you might consider wearing some sort of knee pad/armor. I've seen people wear some motocross-type gear below the waist when creekboating to protect themselves in case of a swim. That might help psychologically and physically.

I'd take medical suggestions over the internet with a grain of salt. I know enough to know that there are significant limitations and frequent complications involved in knee replacement, so work carefully with your health care professionals and align that with your own expectations and goals before deciding what to do. Once they cut your knee out of your leg, there's definitely no going back.

Good luck.
 

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I figured it looked like the extra normal
Body creature from total recall the original and had its own hands...

If you are wearing Motocross gear you need to start from the beginning again! False security are not safe
 

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I'm with KSC on this. I wouldn't rush into surgery without being really sure that you can't do all right without it. I'd be working with a good physical therapist and give it some time to see if it's getting better or not before making the call. Besides, the longer you wait, the better they get at these procedures. Good luck!
 

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Paddling with a knee injury can be tough. The natural sitting position in a kayak puts a fair amount of strain on the inside of the knee. When you're rolling or playing the torque can tweek your knee pretty good. I've had issues the last couple of years since having a meniscus clean -up which turned into osteoarthitis. The Doc told me I had to have a major surgery or else I 'd have to have a full knee replacement within three years. I got a second opinion and that Doc recommended a partial knee replacement. I've managed to strengthen it and wear a soft brace when I do outdoor stuff like skiing, biking and boating. It fits in a kayak fine and gives me a little more confidence. It feels pretty good at this point, but I also realize that I have to approach things a little differently nowadays so as not to really jack it up. It comes with the territory. You play hard, you get hurt. You don't get hurt, you're not playing hard enough. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks KSC. I plan on waiting as long as I can before getting surgery. Cartilage does re-grow VERY SLOWLY. I am seeing another specialist in August and will make my decision then. In the meantime I am biking and doing everything physio tells me. As far as phantom fears...I did paddle yesterday and chose the river according. Big water...no swims. I think it takes losing something to really appreciate the little things.
 

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If you are wearing Motocross gear you need to start from the beginning again! False security are not safe.
To each their own. I found I never needed full-face or elbow pads, but when it came to actually swimming, it could have helped keep my my legs and stuff a bit more functional if I had more leg protection. I never seem to hit my elbows or face on anything, regardless of where I'm upside down though. Swims through blast-rock hell are so rare for me that I'm not really as methodical and skilled at it as I could be; so I do kind of need the protective gear to compensate (not just because I don't swim, but admittedly, because I don't get nearly enough miles on Clear Creek or anywhere). If I do need to jump in their and swim, or happen to be the guy swimming when he shouldn't be (which I never plan to be again, ever), I don't want to have to worry about protecting my knees shins, when they're busy protecting the rest of me. I don't want to worry about my knees and shins when I'm kicking either.

Chances are, I won't have a swim like that again once I get the knee/shin guards, but I'd like to keep myself as competent as possible, when the time comes. Kind of like how all you really only need is a dry-top in cold water, provided you don't swim or have to get in the water and rescue a pinned boater.
 

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If you are worried about swimming you need to run easier whitewater simple as that... None of the gear we wear is any good if we can't stick a line. I'm telling you if you showed up wearing all that I get the idea!
 
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