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Old 12-27-2009, 02:45 AM   #1
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Unhappy Knee Replacement Challenge

I am wondering if there is anyone else out there who needs to have one or both knees replaced and how they have managed to do any exercise? My weight has gone up in the last 20 years because of my Fibromyalgia and the different medications. After an accident Jan 1st of '09, I had MRI's done on my knees and was told there is no cartilege there and I need double knee replacements. I have been putting the surgery off because of the expense, even with insurance, I have been out of work for 13 months now and it is just me. I would like to loose 25-30 pounds of the 100 I need to loose "before" I go in for surgery to make rehab easier. But I can barely get up and down from a chair let along exercise. Anyone else out there? I will be 60 next month so sympathies for my upcoming new decade celebration will also be greatly appreciated...
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:32 AM   #2
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I have not seen any replies - are there no fat chicks who have to have knee replacements?
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:22 AM   #3
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Hi, my uncle had this knee replacement surgery last year. He is in his early 60's as well. I noticed after this he was very strict in his exercise regimen as it is essential he said to the proper recovery of the knee replacement. He is also overweight. He would use a stationary bicycle everyday and take short, safe walks. His other leg still needs to get the surgery. I'm not sure what you can do before the surgery... maybe it would be beneficial to talk to a doctor about it or a physical therapist. and I wish you the best of luck and health!!

Last edited by Mikan; 01-04-2010 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:55 AM   #4
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Have you thought about swimming? Another option is chair aerobics or chair exercise routines. I did a quick google search and there are plenty sites out there, but this one looks promising: http://www.livewellagewell.info/stud...sUGA113006.pdf

I'm fairly young but I was faced with a bad knee injury early last year. Between having knee surgery and a previous ankle injury on my other leg, I wasn't able to do "normal" exercises. Hope this helps!
And I will stumble and fall. I'm learning to love. Just starting to crawl.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:00 PM   #5
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Hi, I'm 43 and scheduled for a partial knee replacement this month. Activities have been getting fewer & fewer, as it really hurts to walk. I'm trying to get into arm weights, just 5 & 10 lb dumbells.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:14 PM   #6
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I had both my knees replaced in August, 2008 and am very happy with the results. Both were bone-on-bone and one was bowed about an inch and a half due to severe arthritis. Now I'm completely pain-free when I walk!

You're very smart to be thinking about exercise now to get ready for the surgery because the better the shape you are going into the surgery, the easier the recovery will be for you. I was able to stand unassisted and play air hockey for 15 minutes with the physical therapist a few days after surgery and never used a walker once I got home (I didn't need it in the hospital either, but they yelled at me if I didn't use it ). I only needed a cane for the stairs for a few days. Everyone was pretty dazzled by my progress, so I felt like exercise really paid off.

My doctor and I had a goal of me being in the best possible shape going into surgery, so I did about 90 minutes of exercise every day in the months before leading up to the surgery date, divided between strengthening and cardio. I belong to a gym, so all the equipment I needed was there.

Cardio was important for calorie burning, but also helps with building a strong oxygen delivery system, which is important for healing. For cardio, I generally did about 30 minutes of high intensity intervals on an elliptical, which was the least painful for my knees, and about 30 minutes of recumbent bike. I found that moving the seat back on the recumbent bike helped my knees when they were painful.

I did both upper and lower body strengthening. My doctor encouraged me to focus on building up the muscles that surround the knee to create a kind of internal knee brace for post-surgery. Because one leg was weaker than the other, I did as many exercises one-legged as possible so not to let the stronger leg dominate. I did one-legged leg press, squats, leg extensions, and leg curls. I also did traditional squats, lunges and hack squats to the extent of my comfortable range of motion. My goal was to have Quads of Steel!

Upper body strength is also very important and your goal should be to be able to lift your body weight just with your arms. Sit in an chair with arms and pretend that you're in a wheel chair -- you want to be able to lift your butt completely off the chair by pushing up with your arms. You'll need this upper body strength to get in and out of a wheelchair in the hospital, get out of bed, use a toilet with grab bars, etc. You'll be surprised at how much you need to haul yourself around with your arms at first! Even now, I still need to be able to lift my body weight with my arms to get out of a bathtub or get off the floor because I can't kneel.

I did all the traditional upper body workouts, focusing on the main muscle groups of chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Pullups and pushups were great because they're compound exercises that work a lot of muscles at the same time. Building up your bi's and tri's with arm exercises like curls and dips will help with pushing yourself out of a wheelchair. Ab and lower back work will help you strengthen your core and give you a strong foundation for learning to walk all over again.

You're also right that losing some additional weight will help with recovery. Since every extra pound that we carry puts four pounds of stress on our knees, you'll be thanking yourself post-surgery for every pound that you get rid of ahead of time. Even at a normal weight, it was challenging to go up and down stairs at first, so I can't imagine how tough it would have been with extra weight. And extra weight will wear out your new knees much faster, so the lower your weight is, the longer your new knees will last. That's important to me because I'm relatively young (55) for knee replacements (thank you decades of obesity ) and I'm not anxious to re-do the surgery any sooner than necessary.

A great book to get before surgery is: Total Knee Replacement and Rehabilitation: The Knee Owner's Manual

Best of luck to you and let me know if I can help in any way.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:46 PM   #7
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Hi rtpshopper !!

First, since you mentioned you're going to be 60 this month

I'm 55 and had my left knee replaced in '06 and the right in '08. The most important thing you need to know (IMO) is that the experience is very different for everyone. In fact, I was surprised when having my second knee done because it was nothing like the first.

Certainly, exercise and losing weight before your sugery would be a good thing. But, pain and fibro can make that seem pretty overwhelming! The exercises my surgeon had me focus on the most were the ones to build strength in my legs. Most of them can be done laying down. I just remember that although they were hard to do, they weren't really painful. And didn't aggravate my fibro.

The book Meg recommended is a good one. I used it before and after surgery.

Talk to your surgeon and explain very candidly what you can and can't do, given both your current knee pain and your fibromyalgia. Then, ask what's the best plan for you in terms of getting ready for your knee replacements.

The recovery wasn't easy for me, but I'm certainly glad I had it done.

Good luck!!

(I haven't been here long enough to PM you, but feel free to contact me)
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