View Full Version : Aikido after knee surgery

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Will Prusner
08-05-2008, 01:47 AM
Been awhile since I posted, but felt like popping in... so,

I had knee surgery at the beginning of September 2007 to fix a torn lateral meniscus in my left knee (not an aikido related injury, i actually think it was caused by improper instruction in Tai Chi). I got back on the mat at the beginning of February this year, after completing physical therapy. Knee feels great, no further problems. Still some trouble sitting in seiza, but that feels equally bad on both sides, more practice i suppose... :) . Shikkyo is a possibility now, although frustrating to learn, i'm happy it's even possible. To be honest, the knee that got sliced generally feels better than the other one. It doesn't even ache when it rains, seriously, better than brand new!

I hear so many knee surgery horror stories, along the lines of: "It's all downhill after knee surgery" and "It'll never feel quite right ever again" and the worst I ever heard, "You'll be in and out of operating rooms for the rest of your life!":eek: Just wanted to post this as a glimmer of hope for aikidoka who may be suffering from this or any injury.

I feel better on the mat than I ever have before and look forward to many, many years of practice. :)

The biggest lesson I got out of the whole experience is how absolutely critical it is to maintain proper (or even above average, if possible) muscle in the legs, for aikido and all other aspects of life.

Keep those legs strong and be kind to your knees!


08-05-2008, 03:17 AM
Glad your outcome was so positive. Success stories are uplifting. I'd suggest that you enjoy yourself, but it sounds like you already are...

08-05-2008, 09:37 AM
Hi William,

Glad to hear your knee is on the mend. I hope your training goes well from here on out!

-- Jun

08-05-2008, 09:56 AM
My experience with the horror stories of knee surgery come mainly from football from the 80's and 90's. Back then if you didnt have the very best doc., you most likely had a limp for the rest of your life. I ve known quite a few Aikido practitioners that had knee surgery in the 2k era and it seems that the process is down to a science. All of them have no problem with practice both standing and kneeling.

So here is to no relapses

Janet Rosen
08-05-2008, 10:20 AM
Wonderful news! Be nice to your bod and have fun.

08-05-2008, 03:13 PM
Interesting post!

I managed a complete tear of my ACL in the fall (also not aikido-related), one that allowed me to run, but pretty much ruled out any aikido (I couldn't pivot at all). I had surgery in November.

After that was a long 6 months of rehab and no aikido. Finally in May, I got a sport brace and my doctor let me back on the mat.

Now that I'm back training, I haven't found anything that causes pain, although I do sometimes get a dull ache when it's humid out or when a storm's a brewin'. I can even sit seiza off the mat, although the range of motion of the brace doesn't allow it, so no shikko, suwari- or hamni hintachi-waza for me yet.

The hardest thing about the training has been relearning everything. I've only be doing this aikido thing for 3 years and before I got hurt, I was just starting to feel like I was "getting" the timing and becoming fluid with my technique. Frustratingly (though not surprisingly), that timing and fluidity have been the toughest things to get back. And although my therapist said the leg was more-or-less back up to strength, I feel the muscles are lacking. Particularly, when doing koshinage on my bad side, it is hard to drive/lift through that leg. I'm sure part of that is mental too. I think it'll take a while before the mental fear is totally gone - I'm still quite cautious for fear of getting injured again.

Still, it's great to be training again, and I can't wait until another 3 months go by so I can lose the knee brace. I still have hopes for 10)% recovery.

Marc Abrams
08-05-2008, 03:26 PM

I am a veteran of two arthroscopic surgeries- one on each knee! It will take your body awhile to fully adjust to a "new knee" and a longer time for all of the inflamation to subside (as the scar tissue "resolves" itself). I would strongly recommend acupuncture and Chinese medicine (bone setting- in particular) at this juncture. I would also recommend starting Cosamin DS. This is a highly effective and well researched combo of glucosamine and chondroiton. If Cosamin is too expensive, Trader Joes sells a product this is extremely close.

I am now twelve years post my last surgery and do Aikido (teach and practice), along with some other things! The only modifications that I have had to adjust to is no more regular running and no compressive exercises for my knees. I know that when the technique of growing your own cartilage is much more established with long-term studies, I will have some grown and inserted in both knees to replace what has been worn-out and cut away. That is off in the distant future. For now, all is well! Best of luck in your recovery- JUST BE PATIENT AND LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!

Marc Abrams