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Old 07-07-2010, 10:31 PM   #1
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Bad Knees and Riding

For the last year and a half I have started to have fairly serious problems with my knees. I had these problems prior to that, but within this time they have become infinitely worse. I have patellar subluxation in both knees, and it happens every couple of steps. As I am only in my mid-20's, this is obviously quite a concern for me. I have recently started to see a physical therapist, but as of yet, there has been no improvement. (Although, there may be after more time.) I am concerned about my future riding horses, especially because joint health doesn't exactly run in my family. (My grandma has had each hip replaced five or six times, and I have the same problem she had.) I read a post on here in which someone mentioned that they had knee replacement surgery. I would like to know how anyone with experience with bad knees has dealt with this problem in regards to horseback riding, and how much it has affected your ability to ride. Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:48 PM   #2
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I have no cartiledge (sp?) in my left knee so I feel your pain. I use a mounting block to get on and I always ride in a brace...if it hurts to much to ride then I wont.

If it turns out you can't ride anymore don't dispair. There is always driving.
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:18 PM   #3
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Have you tried Glucosamne and MSM.. Long term results, but effective..
Also, Knee stabilizers would help minimize wear and tear on the patella...
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:10 AM   #4
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also if you dont show go in for the wide step stirrups with the cushion on the bottom. Like these

helps stabilize your foot and takes some pressure off your knees.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:25 AM   #5
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Whether you ride English or western, I would recommend either offset stirrup eyes or stirrup rotators to take the strain off of your knees. Also, wide stirrups are all the rage in Dressage and Eventing (I don't know about the rest of the horse scene).
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:44 AM   #6
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My husband has really bad knees and also is young. I got him some "crooked stirrups" for his birthday and he now swears by them. He used to be sore even after just a short trail ride, and now can rope all day and I never hear even a word about his knees. I highly reccomend them to anyone with knee problems.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:53 AM   #7
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I too get sore knees after riding for a short time, I have tried the wide stirrups, they give some relief, not much and I went to a cordura saddle, that gave minimal relief also. I am going to try knee braces next, I hope with all of the little things I am doing, I will eventually be able to ride for hours without pain.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:23 AM   #8
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I've had both knees replaced (TKR) about 3 years ago (age 51). My problem was caused by years of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Having your stirrups "set" or pre-twisted is always a good idea (or using the 'crooked' or offset/wide stirrups) and might give you relief during the ride. My knees were both bone-on-bone and I couldn't walk anymore (used a walker or wheel chair) by the time I got in to an orthopod. Having my knees replaced gave me a new lease on life. Rehab takes a while, but I am now back to showing in halter, showmanship, pleasure and horsemanship (and winning a class every now and then!). I do use a mounting block to get on and off my horse; and with TKR, they do not recommend "running" a lot (as in jogging or doing marathons). But, I do practice and show in Showmanship, which requires jogging your horse - the knees handle that with no problem. To top that off - I've been able to lose 85 lbs since the surgery since I can now move around and work with my horse!!! I almost forgot - I do not carry bales of hay around or large sacks of feed - the doctors don't want you carrying around really heavy items because, over time, it could cause the replacement anchors to loosen. The surgery was wonderful for me - and I have my horse life back!
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:32 PM   #9
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I have no cartilage in my right knee and now need both knees replaced because I put too much pressure on my left knee. I use a 3 step ladder to get on the horses. I am only 5'4" and can't even mount a 14 hand horse without some kind of mounting block. I use a dressage saddle with icelandic stirrups or my gaited abetta western. I can no longer ride in an english hunt seat or leather western saddle because my knees hurt too much. It could be trial and error to find a system that works for you. I have also used an australian saddle that was very comfortable. This saddle does not fit my current horses and is now up for sale.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:11 PM   #10
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Cashel stirrup turners are real knee-savers.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:48 PM   #11
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I had surgery on my left knee,years ago I ride in an english saddle and have double offset stirrups that helps also after about 2 hours in the saddle I find that getting out of the saddle for a few minutes and walking helps.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:02 AM   #12
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Thank-you for all the advice. I do think I will have to try a few of these things and see what works best for me. I did notice last year that I absolutely MUST have a high quality saddle. I have always owned high quality ones, but last year I went on a trail ride in the mountains. The saddles that were used were cheap. It wasn't a real long ride, only an hour or two, but when I got off of the horse my fiance had to help me walk. My knees kept going out and hurt badly for the rest of the day. I have never had that serious of a problem when I have ridden in higher quality saddles.
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