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Getting Back to CrossFit After Knee Replacement

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Knee Replacement Surgery is one of the most difficult joint replacement surgeries to bounce back from. By the time a person is ready for a knee replacement, they have already spent a considerable amount of years living with a significant amount of pain. There are a ton videos on the internet that can you view to terrify individuals even more so before they even go under the knife.

CFFS member, Lucia I., shares her story of her recovery and return CrossFit from Knee Replacement surgery. She shows us that  commitment, consistency, and most of all a positive attitude can you persevere  through most anything.


Tell us about the onset of your knee pain and what brought you to finally get a knee replacement ?

I blew out my knee at 21—torn ACL and meniscus. Had an old fashioned surgeon who removed most of the meniscus.  Multiple surgeries over the years, but bone on bone for over 30 years.  I was able to manage with the traditional cardio and weights for years, but didn’t feel particularly fit.  Started crossfit in 2014 and really saw large gains in fitness/strength.  Unfortunately aggravated the knee one workout and couldn’t get back to full strength…unable to even walk and play golf.   Billy Darrer and Crossfit had shown me that I could continue to gain in strength, fitness and feeling good, so I decided to have the knee replacement so I could get back to working out.


Tell us about your recovery ? Few days post-op. Few weeks. Few Months.

I don’t think I had the typical recovery.  I was in the gym the day before the surgery and in the gym 5 days after.  First few days were painful, but manageable with the greatest challenge being range of motion.  This lasted for several months, and while I wish I had a greater range even a year later I’m happy with the way it turned out.  I committed to traditional physical therapy 3x/week for 12-15 weeks, but supplemented every day at the gym.  I worked individually with Billy and he assessed my strength and gave me specific exercises to rebuild my quads, glutes and hamstrings while maintaining my mobility.  I had my surgery the last weekend in August and was back at crossfit classes 16 weeks later in January.


What did you do on your own to help the recovery process along?

Keeping a positive attitude, setting short term goals and recording gains was important.


4.) Did you have any resources (websites,books) to aid you in the recovery process? Did you follow a prescribed plan?

I did not use any additional resources to help in recovery.  And my advice would be for those who are going for surgery to stay off the internet…most of the posts are scary and from people who had a bad experience. The nurse practitioner who assisted my surgeon told us in pre-op class to set our own goals and write our own recovery story.  That was most helpful to me.  I followed the workout plans that Billy gave me and also listened to my body.  When the strength improved I did more.


  1. ) How long did it take before you felt back to normal?

“Normal” for me in the past was managing pain and focused on protection.  My new “normal” is still a little protective, but I think that has more to do with continuing to learn to trust the knee.  I have stiffness but no pain and I can do everything I was doing prior to the injury, I guess it was about 9 months before I really trusted it.


6.) How do you feel now?

I feel fantastic.  I am soon to be a card carrying AARP member and I can kick the ass of my 40 year old self.


7.) What did you learn from the experience ?

I learned that the body is truly amazing—in both recovery and continuing to see gains in strength as a 55 year old.


8.) How did has this changed your approach to exercise ?

My approach to exercise is to keep challenging the body.  Safe, methodical training that we learn at crossfit flow state and supplementing with mobility and outside fun.  Training for resilience and to get more enjoyment out of life.