June 1, 2012

2012 Knee(s) update

I get asked alot about my knees and my running, so I thought I'd make it easier for people to have some information.

I've had 2 TKR's the first one on my right knee in January of 2009 and my left one done in the summer of 2010. They are both doing great! I run 70-80 miles/week and I could not be happier on how they are doing!  Both knees were put in by Dr. Heinrich and another great resource via Dr. Heinrich is Texas Institute for Hip and Knee Surgery. 

Now saying all that, I am taking a chance that they could wear out a little quicker but for me it is worth the risk.   I have a couple of things going in my favor. I don't carry any excess weight and I have always been a mid-foot/fore foot runner.  Not landing on my heels takes some of the shock away from going up into the knees. If you’re not a mid-foot/fore foot runner you can easily learn how to do it and most people actually also end up running faster with less chance of injury.  My orthopedic surgeon has also mentioned many times, that my bone density is amazing and that helps a lot.  Could it be from all of the milk I drink?  I was a dairy farmer for many years and milk is just part of my everyday routine.  Especially after running, for recovery, chocolate milk is the best for me.   

The toughest part of a TKR in my opinion is the rehabbing of the knee after surgery! Those first 6 weeks or so are brutal in working on getting your leg to straighten and to bend back as far as possible. It’s difficult, painful, sleeping is a challenge because of the pain, but it is worth every effort you put into it! Once you get over the hump you will understand why you work so hard at it!

What I found really beneficial in my rehabbing was water physical therapy at least 3 days/week. I was in the pool the day after my surgery with the therapist and it’s amazing how much more bending you can do in the water with less pain. The water also feels really good.  I did lots and lots of walking right off the bat and that helped my knee and my mind! Doing quad strengthening exercises really help also as you start to atrophied quite quickly!

Just about every orthopedic surgeon you talk with will tell you they won't want you to run again because of the chance of wearing out quicker, but like I said earlier I felt the risk was worth it and so far so good! I have the DuPuy Rotating Platform Knees made by Johnson & Johnson.

Best of luck to you, if you are thinking of TKR.