In 2000 I had an injury for which surgery was the only practical option. With how much was removed I still can't believe how much abuse it has taken over the years and it's still doing fine. In truth it would be more accurate to say the beating I've given it
, racking up well over 12,000 miles of mountain biking and now almost 5,000 miles of hiking.
In 2010 I had a bad fall mountain biking (the seat bolt broke and I was practically gored in the thigh and stomach... I was going 25 mph at the time) which I would later find left me with one hip joint almost a full inch higher than the other. So after 6 months of hiking this altered gait had worn through the left meniscus until I couldn't live with the pain. Having such great results from the right knee surgery, I went ahead with the surgery (at the VA hospital in Phoenix, no less) and have very much the same positive result, even with the majority of the last 2,000 miles of hiking being off-trail and rough terrain.
I already had mild arthritis in both knees prior the injuries and even worse in both ankles, so the only way I can keep the pain under control (using biofeedback/mind control only, no meds) is by constant and vigorous physical activity. If I haven't hiked in 3-4 days my ankles stiffen up to the point I can barely move them in the mornings, so I keep active.
While I do agree every person and every situation is unique, for me surgery was the best route for three reasons:
1. I didn't have to wait out 6-12 months of PT hoping for a recovery (which I was told at the time)
2. Barely 12 days after the surgery I did a 5.6 mile 2,200' AEG hike off-trail in rugged terrain
3. I haven't had to baby
my knees worried about re-injuring them (any more than normal anyway) and I haven't modified my activities
Yes, next time around it means knee-replacement, but I may have worn out the rest of my body by then anyway.