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Roberto Michel
Roberto Michel is a free lance writer residing in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He has written extensively about supply chain management and manufacturing technology, and looks to cover the interplay between industrial innovations and environmental protection.
Interests: fishing, canoeing, my personal interests and hobbies include bicyling, and camping.
Recent Activity
I use Speedplay Zero pedals, and since my total knee replacement (TKR), I've tightened up the float (less float) because my pedaling motion is much straighter, so I feel that less float is needed to keep the previously awkward motion from causing harm to the joint. I still do leave plenty of float in there, but less than before my TKR. Before my TKR, I used two cleat shims to compensate for the valgus deformation in my left knee. This outward, valgus slant caused the leg/knee to sort of wobble outward during pedaling. My right knee has always been pretty healthy (no surgeries), and has always had a good, straight pedaling motion. After the TKR, I just used one cleat shim for a few months, then stopped using cleat shims and felt fine, so I stopped using them altogether. I think the brand of cleat shim I used was called "Cleat Wedges" as well as an earlier model called "Big Meat" shims. These are four-hole shims for Speedplay cleats. I first started using cleat shims around 2006, after getting a cleat fitting at a bike shop (Williamson Bicycle & Fitness) in Madison, WI. I last bought Cleat Wedges in spring of 2009 as part of a cleat fitting at a local bike shop I used to go to in Green Bay, Wisconsin, called "The Bike Hub." If you think you might need cleat shims, I think it's a good idea to work with a local, experienced bike fitter. My fitter in Green Bay (Becky at the Bike Hub) was very thorough, taking time to observe what one shim option would do to my pedaling motion, then having me get off the trainer, give her my left shoe, and adjust as needed with a different shim or shim combo. That's how we settled on the using the two shims I last used before my TKR. It's been a few years since my TKR, so I don't remember the thickness, slant or part numbers for the exact shims I used. After my TKR, we were both amazed by how much straighter my pedaling motion had become, so we reduced to one shim for few months, then I went to no shim, and haven't used shims since. Here is website link to the vendor that I believe provides the Cleat Wedge products. The one I used with purple with four holes: http://www.bikefit.com/default.aspx --Roberto Michel
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kinesiology tape helps recreational cyclist with artificial knee joint reduce grinding sensation related to total knee replacement. Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2013 at Cycling after TKR
That's very good. I'm sure you can squeeze a few more degrees out. I was limited by a much earlier ligament reconstruction surgery that left me with reduced range of motion to start with. I've always envied all those people--mostly youngsters--who can actually sit with their lower legs tucked under their butts.
Taking it easy for a while is probably best. Good luck with it. I know in my experience, the clicking and grinding from my kneecap area (more noisy than painful) is probably going to stay with me. But perhaps you would be encouraged to know that a little over one year out from my TKR, I developed a big, painful click (called a patellar clunk) from my kneecap area, but with a little massage and easy riding, the condition went away after a couple of days. The less painful clicking and grinding got worse early this year, but has stabilized. I sort of feel like the underside of my kneecap had to endure some clicking and grinding to reach a state of equilibrium with my new artificial joint. Hopefully, that state has been reached and things will not get worse.
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Two years out from my total knee replacement, x-rays and exam show my knee is holding up well, though patellar crepitus sensations won't likely go away Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2011 at Cycling after TKR
Thank you. The surgery doesn't really start hurting until the a few days later. For about about six weeks, it was hard to sleep comfortably through the night, but then the pain subsided enough to sleep OK. IMHO, the real challenge of a TKR is not the pain after the trauma of the surgery, but rather the dogged physical therapy, range of motion work, and strengthening that need to take place for several months afterward to make a strong recovery.
Thanks Doug, and good look with whatever you decide to do. FYI, I just did a new post today about the grinding/popping noise I'm experiencing with my TKR knee. --Roberto
How patellar crepitus--a condition that involves grating, grinding, crunching from the knee cap area--is impacting my cycling and quality of life after total knee replacement. Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2011 at Cycling after TKR
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Part II of my lessons learned in recovering from total knee replacement. Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2010 at Cycling after TKR
As mentioned, October 7th was the annniversary of the total knee replacement (TKR) of my left knee. I've been thinking about how to sum up some of the things I've learned during my recovery, and thought I'd compose list, because that's what journalists do when we can't think of anything better: 1. Cycling is the perfect form of physical therapy for TKR recovery. It pushes range of motion (ROM), strengthens muscles, and helps loosen and pump inflamation out of your knee. On Oct. 30, 2009, roughly three weeks after my surgery, I was able to pedal a bike using a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2010 at Cycling after TKR
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A year after my total knee replacement, the pictures tell the story Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2010 at Cycling after TKR
I agree there is a lot of hate out there against Hispanics, though I hope it's coming from a small group of people. This level of hate needs to be pointed out, so thanks. Also, the people who suggest that all undocumented/illegal immigrants are "cheaters" who cause governments to go bankrupt don't admit the other side of the coin: that most "illegals" function as an asset to our economy and allow for many types of goods and services--from dining out to having a new roof put on your house--to be had for a much cheaper price than if they could all suddenly be deported. There are many undocumented workers who not only pay sales tax and gas tax, but also federal or social security tax if they have a fake or duplicate number. I think it's a myth that undocumented people are this huge drain on our economy. Unfortunately, this sort of myth helps to justify the hatred that is out there among a small (but I fear a growing) group of fellow Americans. Again, thanks for speaking out.
I'm not scheduled to see my orthopedic surgeon for a about a year, but maybe I can find some other way to inquire if TKR patients are able to rock-climb post surgery. It's a good question. I sometimes wonder whether I should wear a brace for protective reasons while road cycling, but I don't race or really corner aggressively. In fact, I haven't fallen off a bike since about a year and half ago when my chain fell off while downshifting while I was climbing up a very steep hill. I was listening to music and didn't hear it fall off. Sort of an embarrassing, comic, low speed incident that reminded me it's not a good idea to listen to load music while road cycling. Anyway, my point is that if I did ever decide to enter a amateur (masters/senior) road race, I would probably wear a light brace or protective sleeve. I've tried one out a few times, but it makes my knee sweaty and amplifies the noise in my knee, so I didn't stick with it. For the type of riding I do, the minimal protection it offers isn't worth the discomfort, especially in warmer weather. That said, for rock climbing, maybe a protective sleeve over the knee would afford some protection. I'll see what I can find out about TKR and rock climbing, as well more information on lightweight sleeves for knees. Thanks for reading the blog. Roberto
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Nine months after total knee replacement, x-rays show knee holding up fine to cycling-focused recovery. Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2010 at Cycling after TKR
In trying to build back atrophied muscles and regain muscle endurance after total knee replacement (TKR) surgery, it can be easy to forget about range of motion (ROM) once you reach a certain level of flexibility. To be able to do things like walk down steps or pedal a bike, I've read that you need to be able to bend the knee joint about 110 degrees backward. I'm now about eight months out from TKR on my left knee, and achieved that 110 degree ROM a few months back. Since then, I've had the tendency to forget about pushing my... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2010 at Cycling after TKR
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Mar 15, 2010
Today, I had my second post-op visit with my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Michael Schnaubelt of Aurora Baycare Orthopedic Center. As you can see from the video clip excerpt, the feedback was that I'm doing fine, with the swelling coming down and my muscle tone coming back. My general pain is pretty much gone except when doing certain movements, so we spent most of the visit discussing a small clicking pop and pain I've been feeling while using the leg curl machine at the local YMCA. Another concern we discussed was infection, which is serious concern wth total knee replacement. Dr.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2010 at Cycling after TKR
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Yesterday, I got refit at my local bike shop to see if my positioning or cleats needed any adjustments before I started using my indoor trainer in earnest as part of my knee rehab. My pedal stroke and tendencies have changed quite a bit after the surgery, so some adjustments were needed. I've had a couple of different bikes set up on the trainer since the total knee surgery, but I wanted to set it up with my primary road bike for the winter. The first bike I had on the trainer was a hybrid with big, flat "platform" pedals... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2009 at Cycling after TKR
Today, with sunshine and temps in the fifties here in Green Bay, I couldn't resist taking a little spin on my bike outdoors. It was my first venture out on the open road after total knee replacement (TKR) surgery Oct. 7, and it was a pretty shaky outing. But if there is one thing I'm learning about rehabilitating my knee, it's to be patient. Prior to my surgery, I did a bit of Web searching to find out how other avid cyclists have fared after TKR. I came across two good examples, both of whom I tracked down to get... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2009 at Cycling after TKR
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So I'm nearly a month out from surgery, and I'm progressing OK, but swollen. How swollen, you ask? The best way to answer that is to take a look at the pics I snapped yesterday, Nov. 4. The frontal view doesn't look too bad, but the pic I snapped while looking down at my knee shows the swelling. Actually, it's not as bulbous as it looked several days before, when it looked like I had "balloon boy" hiding inside my knee. I've started taking circumference measurements of the knee with a cloth measuring tape from our sewing kit. Over the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2009 at Cycling after TKR
Find out how much bend it takes to pedal a bike after total knee replacement surgery. Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2009 at Cycling after TKR
I had the surgery on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, but just now have I gotten around to editing and uploading video from my surgery/hospital stay. So I'm taking this opportunity to recap my experience at Aurora Baycare to go along with the video snippet below. Everything went pretty fast the day of the surgery after they got my leg shaved and cleaned in the prep room. They gave me a local anesthetic injection before going into surgery, and after getting to the surgery room and saying hello to the anesthesiologist, I don't remember much until waking up in recovery. I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2009 at Cycling after TKR