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Biking After TKR?
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whitpet posted:
I'm in my mid-60's and had knee replacement surgery 9 weeks ago. Although there is still a good bit of pain, PT has gone reasonably well. I'm measuring an unassisted rom of 116 degrees.

Prior to surgery, my husband and I enjoyed recreational bicycling, nothing involving extended distances or high speeds. The area we live has flat terrain, and although many activities bothered my knee prior to surgery, biking was always very comfortable.

Unfortunately, any attempts to resume riding are still very uncomfortable and painful with the surgical knee. I would appreciate any feedback from those who have gone thru this surgery and eventually resumed bike riding. How long did it take to get there? Anything you do differently regarding biking after surgery, as compared to pre-surgery? What else? Thanks for your help.
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_swank_ responded:
It took me a while to get back on my bike but only because I couldn't bend my knee far enough. Biking on a stationary helped with that. I don't do a lot of mountain biking anymore but I can putt around now with no problems. I don't do anything different other than try not to fall.
 
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whitpet replied to _swank_'s response:
Thanks for your reply, that's encouraging. My husband is a more energetic rider, but putting around pretty well describes my style. I don't mean to pry, but do you recall a rough estimate of how long after surgery you resumed riding, and maybe how much bend you had in your knee? After sitting on my bike today and trying to pedal, I feel like I'm a long way away and that's discouraging. Thanks again!
 
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_swank_ replied to whitpet's response:
I think it was close to 6 months before I could ride comfortably. I'm almost a year post-op and still don't have 120 degrees. Maybe 115 or so. some days I can just barely get my pedals turned all the way but after warming up a bit it gets easier. This was my 8th surgery on my knee so perfection will never be attained. You are only 9 weeks out from surgery and you do have a long way to go, but you will get there.
 
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whitpet replied to _swank_'s response:
Thanks very much for your help and info. I know you're right - 9 weeks seems like a long time, but I realize there's quite a ways to go. Patience is not my strong suit! Thanks again and good luck to you.
 
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carlstrong responded:
Hello; I'm an advid cyclist. TKR; 2/17/04. Things did not go well. Doctors gave up. Took matters into my own hands. A German company called Hase makes a device called a crank shortener. It fits unto your bicycle crank. It's designed for people with limited range of motion. It can be adjusted as you progress. Cycling is what saved my knee and broke up the scar tissue.You may have to have a bicycle shop install it for you. Today I ride 175-200 miles a week. This, after I only had about 60 degrees of motion.My knee had atrophied and two manipulations did nothing. Medieval PT did very little.The crank shortener allowed me to ride my bike making very small circles with the crank, and gradually increasing the length of the crank to the point I no longer needed it to ride my bike. It's not for everybody but if you want low impact exercise for your knee,bicycling is hard to beat. I have more information if you're interested
 
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whitpet replied to carlstrong's response:
carlstrong - Thank you very much for your response. Our local bike shop didn't seem to know much about the shorteners, but my husband found a set online, and I'm excited about trying them. He's struggling to get the pedal broken loose from the crank, but the shop has offered to help when the shorteners are delivered. They confirmed he's trying to turn the proper direction! I really appreciate your comments - I haven't seen anything else that looks like it might help. I've got my bike set up on a trainer with the seat jacked up high, but it's a struggle to make revolutions.

I cannot imagine how you started working out with only 60 degrees of motion. With the pain I still have trying to ride @ 115 degrees, I know that must have taken courage. If you don't mind my asking, have much rotation have you been able to develop with your current riding schedule?

The doctor thing has been a frustration. My surgeon says I'm doing "fine" and PT has discharged me, but I cannot begin to do all the things I think I should be able to do. If I'm going to get there, I guess it will be by myself. Thanks again for the info and the encouragement!
 
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carlstrong replied to whitpet's response:
I'm sorry not to post in a timely fashion.
In answer to your question, I don't think about how much range of motion I have. I can do what makes me happy which is hiking in the mountains and cycling. Currently, I'm riding about 175 miles a week. Now I can tell you that I ride a "fancy" bike $$$. I've found it much better to ride with 170 mm cranks than say 175mm cranks. 5 milimeters is a very small amout but it makes a big difference.
I found the crank shortners at the Hostel Shoppe In Stevens Point Wis. They are a very large recumbent dealer. They are online.
Your last paragraph is reminiscent of my visits to the doctor. My doctor was mad at me because things didn't work out,and the PT just gave up.
These crank shortners are not something a regular bike shop is used to dealing with. But, they should be able to pull your pedals off and install the crank shortners for you. Believe me when I tell you,you will not think that they work,but they do. It will make a workd of difference to you to get your knee working properly,getting exercise and keeping your weight down. Being overweight is the worst thing for a tkr.
 
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Kevin9x replied to carlstrong's response:
Carl hope All is going well for you. My wife is in similar shape as you were. Would you mind sending me more info about the crankshafts or your experieces. Thanks..
 
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whitpet replied to Kevin9x's response:
I'm sure Carl will respond, but he was a life saver for me. My husband bought a crankarm shortener through Amazon. It was pricey but it was worth it's weight in gold to me. It fits between the bike's crankarm and pedal, with several positions to adjust the pedal travel distance. My husband also ended up buying an inexpensive pedal wrench which really helped with moving the pedal. I started using it in July, 2011 in the shortest position, and gradually adjusted it until I was able to remove it altogether in April of this year. It was amazing. I could not have ridden my bike without it. Note these things come in several sizes, so make sure you buy one that fits your bike. Good luck, and Carl if you're out there, THANK YOU!!
 
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TCardinal replied to carlstrong's response:
I've been trying to help my husband get back on his bike. He had a tramatic knee injury. He was riding with me but it just got too painful. He had a knee replacement, but he will probably never get any more range than 80 degrees, at least the PT hasn't got him any more and the scar tissue on the side of his leg keeps it from moving more. They were going to try a tendon release but decided it wouln't be best at this time. He tried altering the crank himself but it didn't work. Our bike shop never mentioned anything about a crank shortner. This sounds like what he was trying to make. I'm excited to tell him about it. I'd appreciate any info you can give me. Not being able to ride his bike is very depressing for him.
 
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whitpet replied to TCardinal's response:
Carl will probably turn up in here soon, but in the meantime, I thought I would pass along the info he gave me when I originally created this topic. The crank shorterners were a life saver for me. They helped me to get back on the bike very quickly. Since they have different settings, I was able to gradually lengthen the pedal distance and eventually eliminate the need for this piece.

They are pricey but they are made very well and my husband was able to install it himself after buying a cheap pedal wrench. If you'll click on the blue link below, it will take you to the item on Amazon's website. I'm sure there are other places you can buy them also. Please note they make two models, depending upon the width of his bike's crankarm. Be sure to get the right one. Good luck!

Crank Arm Shortener
 
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stagelady responded:
Hi whitpet,

I have had both of my knees replaced and have lost range of motion in my right knee. I found a wonderful bike called a Townie built by Electra Bikes. The bike is made with a slightly extended frame to allow for the loss of range. The bike extends the pedals a little bit forward. You also sit upright on the seat and when stopped you just put your feet down. I love my bike.

I bought it last May and in just the last few months I have logged over 300 miles on it. The bike has been one of the best things I have ever bought. I love it and can't wait for the weather to clear so I can ride me. I live in Ohio, so the weather is very iffy.
 
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TampaEm replied to carlstrong's response:
Wow, thanks so much for this info. I've had 8 surgeries including a TKR almost six months ago. I was down to 105 degrees pre op. After much hard work am up to 110-112, which shocks my surgeon. My goal has been to get back on a bike. I did research but never saw the Hase crank shortener. Will it fit on any bike, even an XS frame with 160 cranks?
 
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undefined replied to TampaEm's response:
Hi I have just come across this site. I had a left TKR, 7 weeks ago and can get full revolutions on my road bike using a turbo trainer. I had to raise and move the seat back.

At first I had to keep the pedal on my instep then gradually move it to the ball of my foot. To be begin with it was really painful, but pushed through and started to get the ROM. I found that it was important to do the exercises prior to getting on the bike, this gave me the flexibility, that I needed.

I'm not sure if this will be of any help to you, but I thought I would let you know my progression. Good luck with your progression. FYI I am in my 60's


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