Partial Knee Replacement for Ultra Runner (1 year post-op) [Part 2]

So the last six months have been great. It's nice to have gotten to be pain-free, which was huge, getting a little confidence back and the activities that I like to do, whether it was tail end of ski season and then into the summer, and then back into running and cycling and things like that. So it's been just an acceleration, I feel like, of confidence getting in better shape, kind of reminding me of more what I was like before, which is a great feeling.

We had been about, oh gosh, well, since the previous winter and then kind of ramping back up. So it had been probably about seven months since I'd skied, and of course, my wife and I went up, it was this Bluebird day, as we all know that we got tons of snow in Tahoe this year. And I had a little moment of panic, like, oh my gosh, what if I get out there the first turn, I can't do it. And I'm sitting there and watching all these people having this fantastic day and epic conditions and everything, and sure enough got out there and no issues at all. I mean, if anything, it just felt totally normal, which was a lot of fun.

Over the course of probably literally a couple of weeks, it just started feeling better and better and better. And so you just get less and less concerned that there's going to be a limiting factor in there. And then before you know it, you're not thinking about it anymore. I mean, you don't even think of it, did I run yesterday? I want to run today. It doesn't matter anymore, so. So that was a nice routine to get back into for sure.

So my foray back into racing was actually, I got to do the San Diego Rock and Roll half marathon in early June with my two older daughters and one who'd done a half marathon before, one who hadn't. And they were both running at different paces, so I kind of had to ping ponging back and forth a little bit. But the rock and roll half marathon is just a fun race, lots of music, lots of people out and everything. And so that was just a great easy way to get kind of back into the mix without any pressure doing something with your family and just spending a day running around or a couple of hours anyways, running around in San Diego, which was awesome. And so in doing that, I'd been kind of kicking around the idea of jumping back into trail racing. And there was a race up on the north coast that I had done several times before and thought I'm feeling good enough.

I think this is a good time to jump back in. And so they have a 50 k distance, which in this case was about 32 miles and did some additional training, got up there, camped out over the weekend, had a great time, and surprisingly enough came in third place, which was a huge surprise.

In the beginning, I was probably a little tentative. I could feel myself just the trails in some areas got kind of technical. The downhills got a little bit technical, so I didn't want to trip and fall or anything like that. But as the race progressed, I just got more and more relaxed and you kind of let some things go and just kind of start rolling. And that feeling is something that I've missed. And it's one of the great things about not only running, I think in any environment, but especially when you're in the trails and the mountains, you just want to get into that flow and just let everything else go and just kind of be in the moment. And that includes forgetting about the knee that you had worked on a year ago, which I was able to do pretty easily. And that I think, again, affected the performance and certainly affected my enjoyment of the day.

I think there's been, when you come to a place like this, there's this incredible precedent that's been set. I mean, all around you. You're seeing other athletes rehabbing, you're seeing other people coming back like me a year out that have been able to get back to doing some pretty incredible things. And then I think Dr. Stone, when you have your conversation with him and you say he asked you What do you want to get back to? What is it that you want to do? And you tell him and he says, well, then we're going to get you there. It just kind of builds, I think, this foundation of confidence so that as soon as you're done with the operation, you're thinking about, okay, let's put these steps in place to get me back there, because that's what we've all agreed as a team that we're going to work on.

So it's almost an expectation, at least it was my expectation that in six months, eight months and one year, these are the things that I'm going to be doing. So when you start doing 'em, it was on the plan. That was kind the plan all along. And so you set that expectation for yourself, which I think is important. So I didn't really have a lot of self-doubt because of that, even when earlier on, things were a little bit more challenging coming out of surgery and doing those sorts of things. But I think that the plan, setting that plan and setting those goals and everybody buying in and everybody being positive about where they think they can get you to when you get there, you're not really surprised in a way.


I was so fortunate to find Dr. Stone because I just would be in such a different place. Not only physically, but probably emotionally. Being active is so important to me.
- Chris W.

In the past six months, overcoming pain and regaining confidence led to a remarkable transformation for our ultra runner partial knee replacement patient Chris. From conquering the slopes to venturing into trail racing, his recovery journey culminated in an impressive third-place finish in a 50k trail race! We're thrilled to be a part of Chris's journey back to his special joys in life. 

See part one of Chris's story here: Partial Knee Replacement for Experienced Ultra Runner (3 Months Post-Op)

Here's how we help patients like Chris return to running after knee replacement

Download a Guide to our Knee-Saving Procedures
Explore all your options. Learn about procedures that can help you return to sports & delay or avoid an artificial knee replacement.

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Saving My Knee Guide

Saving My Knee Guide
Learn about procedures that can help you return to sports & delay or avoid an artificial knee replacement.