25 March 2009

Is There Surfing After Knee Replacement?

That's now the $64,000 question. Given our current status with medical insurance and soon-to-be exorbitant COBRA payments, I will probably go ahead and do the deed. I'm not happy by any means. I've been in a race against time since I started surfing. I'd told friends this for years. I wanted to surf as hard as I could and get as good as I could in the limited time I had before the knee gave out. I'd hoped to have a few more years, but it doesn't look like that will be the case. What does all of this mean? Well, it's likely we will be uninsured as of June. I would need to get the surgery done soon. It's not that I can't wait. The doctor did not suggest that it should be done immediately (although he was a bit shocked to hear that I hadn't had much pain until last week). Since I don't know when we will be gainfully employed or when we might have decent medical coverage, I feel I've got no choice but to give serious thought to having the knee replaced within the next few months.

Will I stop surfing as a result? Never. I'll be the best surfer with a fake knee that you've ever seen. That I promise. I will, however, be off of a surfboard for a long time. That sucks in ways I don't have to explain to people who read this blog.

I got a cortisone shot today too. The doctor wasn't sure it would help. I figure it couldn't hurt to try it. I got it a couple of hours ago. My knee doesn't feel any different.

And don't ask about buying any of my boards. I'm not going to stop surfing. My pop-ups may be a lot slower. That's fine. I can surf with a slower pop-up. I already use all of my shoulder strength to get myself up. I don't use my legs much for the pop-ups. So the new knee may not be much of a hindrance. The doctor said I may have some limited flexion in that joint. I've got that anyway and pop-up just fine now.

I guess I've come to terms with the inevitable. This joint has served me well over the last 28 years. My quality of life since the injury has been amazing. So I suppose I'm ready to move on to a new phase of my life as an athlete.


At 3/25/09, 2:30 PM, Blogger Ramsnake said...

Wow - that is a bummer. I have a knackered Anterior Cruciate Ligament in my right knee and it gets a bit sore sometimes but not from surfing. The incredible thing though is that I can surf at all where as I cannot imbibe in any other sports that I used to such as squash and tennis.
One day sometime in the future I think I might have to get it replaced but it has given a few more years of use than yours has.
All the best with that and there is always the mat while you recuperate.

At 3/25/09, 3:35 PM, Blogger TG said...

First Responder - Dibs on the Mini-Sims!!!!!

At 3/25/09, 3:46 PM, Blogger TG said...

OK, had to get my order in first.

Yikes - that sucks!!! And that x-ray looks painful! I don't know, I think you better do it sooner rather than later.

You will need extra room for the rehab equipment in your house. We can store your boards at my place.

At 3/25/09, 4:26 PM, Blogger Jamie Watson said...

Oh gosh, your x-ray does look really painful. I have heard a lot of success stories with knee replacement! And I know you can do anything and I know you will keep surfing after recovering.

At 3/25/09, 7:49 PM, Blogger Bill said...


At 3/26/09, 2:48 AM, Blogger miCheLLeBLOG said...

Hey, 7 times world champ surfergirl Layne Beachley (Aussie of course)said she won her trophies without being able to get up in one go. If it's good enough for her I reckon a slower get-up will be fine for you.

Best of luck with it.

At 3/26/09, 5:55 AM, Blogger Surfsister said...

Thanks one and all for the encouraging words. I'm going back in two weeks to break it all down to the doctor. He told me to come back in a month. I don't have the luxury of a month because of the insurance situation.

But I don't see any better time to do this. Right now, this is a figurative lull when I can safely paddle out into what will inevitably some fierce waves. So why would I wait to paddle out during a set? Let's do this.

At 3/26/09, 9:29 AM, Blogger Alan_M said...

It will take a lot of rehabilitation, but you will surf again, and in fact, will come back stronger as you will no longer be dealing with the pain. A knee replacement can be as good as the original. I've seen it in action. Good thoughts, good thoughts!

At 3/26/09, 9:57 AM, Blogger Christian said...

Yesterday an orthopedic surgeon came to visit our class. He brought with him an artificial knee. It was all shiny and sturdy and something to behold. I wish you much luck. One day you, me, Bill and all the other crippled surfers should go out and have a gimp surfing contest. :)

At 3/26/09, 11:16 AM, Blogger Watson said...

Hang in there Surfsister. I think once you have this done, you'll recover and have either a brand new knee with no limitations, or you'll adapt and make yourself better. Stay positive because "YOU are the shit!"

It is a deal on the tintype. We'll make it happen for sure! Thanks for the b-day wishes.

At 3/26/09, 12:33 PM, Blogger Whiffleboy said...

Git 'er done, Sis. Come back bionic. :-)

At 3/26/09, 2:19 PM, Blogger gracefullee said...

What Whiff said. He beat me to it.

Don't worry about the waves. They'll be waiting for you.

At 3/26/09, 11:39 PM, Blogger Surfy Surfy! said...

Wow, bad luck. I do know A LOT of surfers with bad knees who manage to make it happen. Have hope and stay positive. Get it fixed.

At 5/28/09, 7:08 AM, Blogger Phishdoggie said...

I had my Left hip done 4 years ago and it works great I surfed overhead waves in El Sal two months ago now I need a right a right knee and I am scared I won't have the range of motion to pop up I would hate to resort to stand up paddle or the dreaded boggie board. Let me know if you get your knee relpaced and you can still surf. Best of luck. Phishdoggie

At 1/17/12, 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi man It's 2012 do not knwo if you still read this blog or the entries I want to know is your knee all right?

I really want to tell you my story. I always dreamed with surfing.All my life lived in Mexico city A City with no coast, played soccer all my life knees are awfull. So when Iwas 22 reached the Australia's gold coast and cried when I saw people surfing and I could not bear my biggestand lifelong dream gone without even having a chance to try it.

I do not know your situtation or how do you feel emotionally or physically but what I would like to stress is that something that you love can harm you.

I'm no one to suggest to tyou waht to do and tell you yeah keep surfing and trying to get better or No stop surfing the only thought I would like to give is can you lived with constant pain and struggle to walk????? or some years later would you be happy if your body hurts so much during the process of making love??????

Thre is no recomendation whatsoever just really think the previous thoughts and ask yourself whether you would give daily activites such as walking instead for surfing that will eventually hurt your knees. The fact that surfing is knees sport where all the impact goes there as well as the stress in movement.

All the bestman from your mexican buddy with f*ck up knees.

At 1/17/12, 7:43 PM, Blogger Surfsister said...

First, I'm not a man. Second, thanks for writing. Third, yes, surfing now is worth the pain I may have in my senior years. I'm young and healthy now. I want to make the most of my physical abilities. I've made a conscious decision to wear my body out, if I can, and I will not regret that decision as a senior. I'm going to enjoy this life, and this youth, while I can.

At 1/25/12, 7:17 PM, Anonymous UNCLE STEVE said...



At 4/25/12, 9:45 AM, Blogger booniebasher said...

I read a story about a profesional raquetball player surfing pipeline with DUAL KNEE REPLACEMENTS

At 4/25/12, 9:47 AM, Blogger booniebasher said...

You can surf pipeline with dual knee replacements

At 5/18/15, 4:25 AM, Anonymous Ben Tydears said...

This is an old post, but so am I. I’m 60 and have been surfing for over 50 years and it’s the only sport I’ve ever loved for all my life.

During my 30s and 40s, I had five arthroscopies due to knee joint corrosion and a lifetime of minor falls, including water skiing accidents and a parachuting accident, but about a decade later, I rejected the offer of a knee replacement.

But I guess I’ll either have to consider surgery or some other form of surfing, after comparing the videos of my crappy surfing (taking TWO attempts to stand on every wave!) to the other surfers taking advantage of crystal clear 6' plus waves.

But I AIN'T done yet! About a decade ago, fish oil – and since then, krill oil and glucosamine - helped get me off all the prescribed medications and also to reduce the pain levels so that I could sleep properly. As it is, now I'm just gonna wear my knees out as much as possible before I succumb to surgery.


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