Hi. First off, way to go with the recovery, and getting back to some semblance of a normal life. That is a “climbing Everest” kind of accomplishment. Second, despite your injury, as I’m sure you and people around you have said, there are many positives here: You’re alive! You can walk! You can exercise! Yeah! Any physical activity imitations you have in the future are truly minor inconveniences compared to these basic facts. So, I would say…take the long view. What has it been, about 20 weeks since your accident? Maybe think in years, not months. Like, tell yourself, perhaps you can run somewhat comfortably…in two or three years. What to do until then? There are so many options. I’m going to assume you are a mountain athlete. So buy yourself a mountain bike. You don’t need to a be a freeride enduro downhill guy…so on long endurance singletrack adventures. Lots of cycles of easy and medium pedaling will be great for your knees. In the winter, skining uphill would seem to be much less high impact than running. You could “reverse the paradigm” and skin up and take the lifts down, if skiing down is out of the question for now. Cross country ski. Stand up paddle. Windsurf. Open water swim. And so on. In terms if getting back to the trails (because if you’re a determined athlete, I imagine that whatever you do you will still be dreaming of trail running) you could start…walking. Then walking with a light pack. Then maybe alternating walking and running. Then light jogging. But, again, in years, not months. Another good thing you have on your side is you relative youth. We have no idea what therapies might exist to help cartilage regenerate in 5, 10, or 15 years, or how easy/hard a knee replacement might be by the time you potentially need one. So I would say, again, take the long view, use this as an opportunity to practice diverse outdoor sports you would not otherwise, go gently, and remain optimistic that in the future you will be running (or hiking) along a path in the mountains. Good luck!
I was in a climbing accident this winter and sustained traumatic injuries to both knees. Fractures: R tibia and L fibula. Ligaments: R ACL torn and replaced, R MCL partial tear, L PCL full tear not replaced, both have meniscus and cartilage damage. I’m finally getting back to various activities after 6 weeks in a wheel chair, 7 weeks in crutches non-weight-bearing on my R leg, and 6 weeks of rehabing after another surgery.
At my last appointment my surgeon told me that there is significant cartilage damage in both knees. As a result he is advising me to never run more than once a week at an easy jog for less than 5 miles. He believes that that if I start running regularly again I will need double knee replacement surgery by the time I’m 45 (I’m 31 currently). I have always been a runner, competed from the age of 12 through college in cross-country and track, continued to run for fitness in climbing and skiing. Enjoyed long trail runs etc.
So I’m curious if anyone has experience with similar injuries and advice to go with them. Also, since the doctor feels like I will be able to do non-impact exercise for the rest of my life I’m curious about exercise suggestions to replace running.
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