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  #1  
Unread 02-16-2010, 12:17 PM
jsg1224 jsg1224 is offline
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Default Alt weight lifting exercises for knee issues

My knees are pretty torn up. I'm 46 and in need of a knee replacement but have been advised by my ortho guy to hold off until I'm in my 60's. Knee replacements, apparently, have a life span of 15 to 20 years and 2nd replacements aren't as successful as first knee replacements. Hence waiting until I'm in my 60's. Until then, occasional "tune ups" via arthroscopic surgery will be needed. He's also advised me to steer clear of dead lifts, weighted squats, heavy leg presses or anything that compromises my knees. What does that leave me with? Any suggestions on alternative exercises that won't totally screw with my knees?
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  #2  
Unread 02-16-2010, 12:30 PM
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lylemcd lylemcd is offline
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What specifically is wrong with your knees?
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  #3  
Unread 02-17-2010, 09:43 AM
jsg1224 jsg1224 is offline
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Right knee, torn ACL reconstruction. Repeated injuries after the reconstruction have led to a frayed ACL, torn medial / lateral meniscus and arthritic knee. Left knee is arthritic. Weight bearing, repetitive exercises, cause right knee to swell with added pain. Walking, bicycling and elliptical with any resistance are out. Have discontinued deadlifts, weighted squats and leg presses.
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  #4  
Unread 02-17-2010, 10:13 AM
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lylemcd lylemcd is offline
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With that amount of damage, Im' not sure there's going to be much of anything you can do. As a generality, closed chain leg exercises (leg press/squats) tend to cause less knee stress then open chain (leg extensions), deadlfts are usually less knee stressful than squats ince there is less bending at the knee.

But the fact that even cycling causes problems may make all of impossible. And that doesn't leave anything beyond maybe isometrics or muscular stimulation. Maybe some hamstring work although, with hte extent of hte injuries, I'm not sure even that will happen.

This is actually a place where something like Superslow methdology (very slow concentrics/eccentrics) *might* have a place. Simply because it allows for some strengthening stimulus of hte musculature without major acceleration forces into the joint. But again, if cycling (which only uses about 25% of strength) causes problems, I doubt even that will help.

If that won't work, here's my suggetion and I'm actually being semi-serious: get the knee replacement and just hope that in the next 20 years, they come up with a better fix (like tissue regeneration). Worse comes to worse you get another surgery. Best case they come up with a cocktail of compounds that fix the damage.

But given your description, I"m not sure that there's anything you're going to do to either slow down the need for surgery or prevent it from getting worse in the gym.
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  #5  
Unread 02-17-2010, 10:39 AM
Elf Elf is offline
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Sorry for bumping this after the initial question has been answered but I'm just terribly curious.

Suppose he would get knee replacements, would that mean he would be able to go heavy on exercises with low impact on the knees (say 5-10 RM Deadlifts)? Or would that be a terribly stupid thing to do?

And why on earth would a doctor recommend someone to spend the better part of his life with busted knees when it's not even certain he's going to make full use of the things until his 70s? For all you know you could be hit by a car the next day and end up in a wheelchair, or worse, dead.
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  #6  
Unread 02-17-2010, 10:43 AM
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lylemcd lylemcd is offline
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I believe teh doctor is simply trying to avoid the need for a second surgery at a relatively more advanced age when there are risks.

CAse in point years ago, I had a client in a similar but not identical situation. Busted up knees and was going to need surgery eventually (but without the damage of the OP). To delay it as long as possible the doc told him to strengthen the muscles around the knee to take stress off the joint. And that so long as he did that, he could at least delay surgery. So that's what he did. He was going to have surgery eventually but given how long the replacement last, the longer he could wait the better: odds are he'd be dead before they wore out (a rather morbid statement of fact).

Beyond that, I don't know enough about ortho stuff to say if it will let him go heavy after replacement. but he'd certainly be able to at least do *something* to keep teh muscles strong (and avoid age-relatd muscle loss) which is better than the nothing he can do now.

I would sugges that swimming, by dint of low impact, might be workable. Or wtaer exercise. But it turns out to have some major limitations not the leasto f which is that a lack of impact/weight bearing can lead to decreased bone density. So while it might allow activity and work the muscles of hte knee, it will cause/not solve other issues.
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  #7  
Unread 02-17-2010, 02:09 PM
jsg1224 jsg1224 is offline
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That would be "She" . Gosh...Not at all positive. Will have to do some research and see what I can come up with.

Lyle you're correct. The doctor is trying to avoid a second surgery at an advanced age due to 2nd replacement success rates and risk factors.

Thanks for the suggestions and input guys.
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  #8  
Unread 02-17-2010, 05:33 PM
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ErinFL ErinFL is offline
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Lyle's spot on as per usual, but to be quite honest given your age and functional disability (essentially robbing you of your daily activity) you may want to consider seeing another ortho for a 2nd opinion. This doc is correct insofar that the replacements generally need to be revised 15-ish years down the road-but are you willing to live this way and decline for another 15 years? The technology has improved considerably over the past few years even, and could afford you more activity than what you currently can do. I'm with Elf on this for sure.
Just sayin'. More opinions might not be a bad thing. Is the OA global or unicondylar? Autologus chondrocyte implantation is a possibility for isolated areas of damage, but not global.
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  #9  
Unread 02-17-2010, 08:47 PM
Duck Duck is offline
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Have you looked into taking yoga classes? When I messed up my knees, not nearly as bad as your situation I will admit, the doctor that I was seeing recommended getting into a yoga class. It was rough, as I was in the Marines at the time, but it did wonders for me. I no longer take classes, and am able to do squats, dead lifts and leg presses just fine now. I still avoid the leg extensions.

Yoga seems to fit into the category of isometric exercises that Lyle mentioned, and it really isn't all that bad if you can find a good class to attend. Find a class with an instructor that is more knowledgeable and able to help you out with your individual situation, though.
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  #10  
Unread 02-17-2010, 10:40 PM
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lylemcd lylemcd is offline
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So, Duck, you think yoga is going to fix a torn ACL and all the rest?
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