I am a mostly retired 72 year old living in southwest Colorado. I am active as a Colorado Outward Bound School instructor and as a volunteer search and rescue mission pilot in the Colorado Civil Air Patrol. In addition, I enjoy backpacking, alpine, rock and ice climbing as well as bicycling and skiing. My sports activities in much younger days resulted in a torn ACL and torn meniscus. I have had three surgeries on my right knee and two on the left. In 2016, during a climbing trip to Switzerland, I decided that I should pursue a right knee replacement, since the knee was becoming ever more painful due to arthritis. This was interfering considerably in my ability to enjoy the mountains. I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Jeff Nakano of Rocky Mountain Orthopaedics in Grand Junction, Colorado. Before the appointment date, I tore the meniscus in my left knee while hiking down from rock climbing. So, when we met, we had two knee conditions to discuss.

My treatment and recovery

The torn meniscus repair healed quickly and the left knee returned to normal use within 5 weeks. I continued my normal exercise routine while preparing for the total knee replacement procedure. Following the knee replacement, I immediately began physical therapy twice a week. I rigorously followed my therapist’s instructions, and after two weeks was able to walk with a cane and soon began morning walks with my dog. After 4 weeks, I was able to return to the gym for upper body weight training, still using the cane. At the six week mark, I was walking without the cane and increased the walking distance and pace. After two months, physical therapy was no longer deemed necessary, and I continued to increase my training routine so that I could resume a normal busy summer outdoor schedule. At the 5 month mark, I began rock climbing again as well as high mountain training hikes. I was able to lead two Outward Bound courses in June and July, and climbed several peaks in Switzerland, including the famous Eiger in August. The knee performed very well and was never a hindrance.

Tip

Strictly follow post op and PT instructions, take the pain, it'll get better. Push yourself as far as therapist allows, trust the new knee

My Second First

I can now hike without pain, especially going downhill with a heavy pack.

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