I rediscovered hiking in my mid 50s. It gave me a tremendous lift, physically and spiritually. Every year, I pushed harder: Half Dome and Clouds Rest in Yosemite, Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, etc. - my second home was REI!
In 2017 I started experiencing severe pain in my right knee. It got so bad that I had a hard time just walking out of the subway. It was time to look for a doctor. I went to a reputable orthopedic surgeon in NY. I got the results for my MRI and a permit for the High Sierra Trail on the same day. This tail is a 70+ miles that begins in Sequoia National Park and climaxes at the top of Mount Whitney. Well, you still have to get down. And considering that 70% of injuries happen on the way down, this leg of the hike must be taken very seriously.
When the doctor heard about my planned hike with the MRI results in front of him, he seriously discouraged me from doing it. "You have to accept your age. Might as well book your knee replacement." So I looked for another doctor, to which they said the same thing. Doctor Riley Williams was number 4.
Dr. Williams sat in front of me contemplating. I remember thinking that at least it's not an immediate "you're out of your mind" then he laid out the plan. "We'll do the PRP treatment, then then you'll work out with my guys. They will prepare you for the hike. Do the hike, then we'll operate on your knee. Rehab. And keep hiking." To make a long story short, that's exactly what happened!
Riley's guys - physical therapists (Snehal Paten and Terrance Sgroi) and strength and conditioning specialist Jamie Osmak - kicked my butt, literally, into amazing shape before the HST hike. I finished the hike with great success.
The surgical team was amazing. It was lead by Dr. Williams with the most valuable Melissa Lefkowitz, his PA (the lightest hand in the business), and the super supportive nurse Liliana Rodriguez. The front office was also terrific. After the operation, I went back to Riley's guys to rehab.
The operation was done in Oct. 2018. Ten months later, I did the Wonderland Trail - 93 miles, 23,000 elevation and yes, ZERO pain.