On July 8, I had a followup visit with my surgeon that showed my knee is holding up perfectly some nine months after my total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. You can see for yourself a picture of the X-ray from the visit, which I snapped with my camera off a PC screen.
As my doctor, Michael Schnaubelt of Aurora Baycare clinic explained, the X-Ray looked fine for both of the key things he looks at: 1) no tilting or slanted wear between the bottom and top halves of the joint; and 2) no dark spots (an infection indicator) above the artificial part where it interfaces with bone.
Naturally, I was pleased the knee x-rays looked fine. It's feeling real good, even with the fairly intensive regimen of cycling and light weight lifting I've been on. I continue to get some grinding noise when I do certain things, so I was concerned this grinding might be related to some strange wear & tear on the knee. More on that grinding in another post, but the x-ray evidence, the way I feel, and the doctor's exam all indicate the knee is doing great.
I did get the chance to ask Dr. Schnaubelt about whether avid cycling--even riding 100 mile centuries--is OK. He said the occasional century ride would not concern him, "but if you are riding 100 miles four or five times a week, I would be concerned." Well, I don't think we have anything to worry about here. I'm an avid cyclist, but I have neither the time or inclination to do that much cycling.
Schnaubelt related a story about a rowing coach who had a hip replacement, but wore it out in just six months of very intensive rowing. His point, I think, is that artificial joints can wear out ahead of schedule if you go ballistic. My doctor doesn't want me doing any running, but says cycling, hiking, and swimming are all excellent activities.
With Baby Boomers like me turning to joint replacement surgery at a relatively young age and still wanting to maintain an very active lifestyle, I'm sure this question of how active can you be without frying the new joint will be debated. The conventional wisdom seems to be to stay away from high impact sports, but I came across news of a recent study that indicates higher impact sports might not be all that bad for premature wear & tear. I'm not going to push things myself. I might shoot a game of horse with the neighbor kids, but I'm not going to get back on a basketball court or try running a 10K.
I'd like to hear other opinions or experiences on whether intensive sports, even high-impact, are all that bad on artificial joints.