Riding with a knee replacement

I had my left knee replaced a little less than eight weeks ago. The surgeon and physical therapist both told me that getting onto the unicycle should be the last thing I try out of walking, climbing stairs, bicycling, climbing a ladder, you know, all the stuff you want to do again. I was also told I was the Superman of knee replacement rehab and was discharged from PT sessions after about four weeks or eight sessions.

Today I got on the Coker and rode three miles. I didn’t try to freemount. I could do short, steep ascents and descents and had enough quick forward and reverse torque to balance easily at my slow speed of maybe seven mph. Traffic was forgiving and I didn’t have to dismount. The last steep descent followed by a long ascent started to talk to my left quad quite a bit. Dismounting onto the leg with the new knee was effortless.

I had really badly bowed legs thanks to genetic punishment from my mother. My left leg was clearly even more bowed thanks to four decades of basketball. Now that leg is straight and slightly longer than it was with a collapsed knee with no cartilage and no meniscus. Bowed legs don’t bang on frames. I had to really concentrate to keep the knee on the now straight left leg from smacking the frame. The saddle seemed somewhat lower due to the longer leg as well.

I’d like to ride the short, seventeen-mile version of the Iron Horse Trail for IHD which would be in about seven weeks. That’s a ride of about 10,000 reps. I only did about 1750 reps today. We’ll see.

Glad to hear you are back on one of your unicycles. We can shorten IHD :slight_smile:

As the superhero of shoulder rebuilding rehab, I must congratulate you on being the superhero of knee replacement rehab. It is amazing how much quicker you can heal if you are generally healthy and motivated.

It’s interesting they took all the bow out of your leg. That’s got to take some getting used to.

Hello Harper

The Night Rider v frame offers good knee clearance. I don’t know if they are still available.

Ouch. That really hurt after awhile. I finally took a bunch of ibuprofen several hours after the ride. I was worried about having over-stressed and injured my knee but it was pretty manageable this morning.

I think that on the Iron Horse Trail, the first bail point is after the tunnel at the 17 mile mark into Olallie State Park. I can’t shorten it unless I choose a different ride. It would be hard to give up that tunnel.

There is a forest service road that cuts across the trail, fs5510, from tinkham road (there is a gate across the trail here). It would make the ride pretty short, about 4.4 miles from the tunnel opening (west side). There are a couple of other roads that may work also, they also join Tinkham road (another 4 or so miles to the west). May be possible to park a car down there, then ride down or walk, depending on the road condition.

The Iron Horse Trail goes over NF-5510 on one of the trestle bridges. How does one get down to NF-5510?

I think you’re just kind of a general, all-around superhero.

That’s right, never mind. The road I was thinking of is at Garcia, 11 miles west of the tunnel. May work for you.

You’ve clearly considered the countless repetitions strain on your knee:)
Have you considered the bad/unlucky UPD strain of your knee?
Just mentioning it to help inform your decision :wink:


Harper, for gods’ sakes, don’t push it too hard. I have friends who have pushed themselves after major injuries or surgery (surgery being a deliberate injury for a purpose) and it has either put them back a long way, or given them permanent problems. As a dancer, I am surrounded by people with knee problems many of whom have had replacements. Don’t lose the things you love because you want to do them too soon.

All the very best for a speedy recovery.

I recall that SEM of SEMcycle, or his brother, is a physical therapist. I met him at Toronto NAUCC.

You might want to PM him about uni rehab with knee replacement.

Thank you. You are a wise man, Mike, and always the distributor of sincere and good advice. I, however, frequently ignore advice, either good or bad. I did listen to the advice of the PT, though. She said that the pain I experienced was typical from working those muscles too soon and too much and did not damage the joint. She recommended that I dial back the distance and level out the course.

I rode a bit more than a mile today and chose a route with only mild ascents and descents. I nailed 5 out of 5 freemounts which was really the goal of this ride. I was pleased with that because I launch off the leg with the new knee and had no trouble with it at all.

I followed the ride with quad stretches using a pull strap. Then I iced. If this goes OK I will probably make this relatively incline-free riding a daily regime and work up from there. After all, I’m trying to prepare for a ride that is entirely on a 2% downhill grade.

Most days I wonder if I’m on a 2% downgrade. It seems like I just don’t recover like I use too. Doesn’t sound like replacement parts are the answer for me yet. Hope they are working for you Greg.

I had them take out a few extra parts for weight saving a few years ago while I was always climbing hills. That helped some. Your new parts sound like they might be adding weight. Maybe these heavy parts might help gravity pull you downhill easier.


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F’ the doctors advice

You are a rebel!!! Keep on!
I can see 3 scenario’s where you can continue riding:

1.) Ride tall seat and super short cranks. So, you barely need to bend your knees to turn the wheel, and the driving force comes from almost straight leg downward force.
2.) Absolutely, avoid any possible area where you might have to maneuver quickly. Any quick super fast reflexive motion that your brain might activate in a situation = torn ligaments.
3.) Best to ride on a well established bike trail like those 36’r riders who just go straight and never need to turn.

Good luck…Keep on

I think falling is over-rated. I just don’t do it…it’s a waste of time and energy. The compression from such an activity would be detrimental.

Today: quad stretches, rode 1.3 miles to the library to drop a book off, quad stretches, rode 1.3 miles home, quad stretches, applied heat, then iced. Then I’ll walk 1.4 miles to massage and 1.4 miles home. Life as a retiree is tough.

Hey! Stop whining or don’t. We have all got the fracas of ‘age-related syndrome especially at 60 plus

I have become accustomed to not being taken seriously as a competitive rider ‘cos my next stop is 70. Maybe circumstances make you a none-competitive rider?

I don’t compete against anyone except myself….unless I can see the last rider in front of me… then I have to be in front of him.

Sure you are recovering….best of luck….but whatever happens….happens. My best shot is to get into macrobiotics with a spot of engine oil and buy a multigym.

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Nice work on your recovery, Harper, but I’ve been told several times
that I was the superhero of rehab! :wink:

All the best. :slight_smile:

I’m about 8 months into this, now. I rode last week for the first time since my post in July. It was just hurting too much to be pleasant and I got busy with other things. Lots of motorcycle riding, for instance.

There were several breaks in the weather last week and I rode four days in a row, three miles one day and then four miles the other three days. Today, after it hailed, there was a break in the weather and I rode seven miles non-stop with a couple of good climbs and descents. This knee seems to be working OK now.

I guess physical therapists and surgeons know what they’re talking about sometimes.