Hey all, I see I haven't written about the knee for quite a while. Thought I'd write an update. Just wrote this as a reply to someone asking me about it, since he was considering getting one.
The knee replacement has been very good for me. Before the replacement, I could not descend stairs or a mountain trail without holding a hand rail, or hiking poles, and dropping from the bad leg to the good one -- the good leg was doing 75% of the work. Now, that is history.
I still have an arthritic ankle that is the limiting factor now. (Broke it badly in a motorcycle accident almost 50 years ago.) I had to stop training on a stairmaster because the ankle got worse and worse until I quit. When I hike, I double-wrap the ankle using two ankle brace/wraps, and so far that helps. I am hoping and planning on attempting a full JMT hike late June into July. We will see how I well I do. If problems arise, I don't think the knee will be the problem.
I use my knee probably harder than most people my age (69), because I like to push myself on a spin cycle--setting the friction to the point (23) that I have to stand to keep the pedals turning. I do that for a minute, then sit/rest go easy for 30 secs, then repeat -- for 15 minutes. Now that I can't go to the gym (corona virus closure), I ride my mountain bike on some local river bluffs, climbing and descending a number of times. The crazy thing is the crepitus (grinding noise) that comes from the knee when I straighten it under stress. It sort of sounds like I'm shaking a pepper mill. Put my hand on the knee when it's doing that, and I can feel the grinding. This all worries me, and I am not sure how long everything will hold up. I think I'm pushing it, but becoming a couch potato just isn't going to happen as long as I can keep moving. Others with knee replacements don't have my issue, but nobody works it like I do.
I know a guy my age with a double replacement, and one has been re-replaced. He's had lots of trouble and pain with his. He assures me that his experience is in the ~2% who have had lots of problems. He was still hiking on the knees, but going slowly.
Other than my snow-shoveling adventure on the Main Whitney Trail last June, I just haven't done any hiking. I took the family to Glacier and Yellowstone last summer. Only lite day hiking, which was no trouble at all. I'm keeping the idea of a Whitney shoveling trip open for this year, but we will see.
By the way, the message board software here is aging, it went down this morning, the hosting company says I have to replace things or it will fail for good in a month or so, when they do a permanent upgrade.