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The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

Brighton, UK
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168 posts
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The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

I am a 62-year old woman who is fairly fit and healthy - I do regular walking and some of it is up hil and down dale. I would like to walk the Inca trail but I have had a total left knee replacement in august 2005 - which was a success. Will my knee stand up to the strain of the descent - all those steps!! Or, will I have to accept doing the trip by bus and train up to Machu Picchu? Will I still get the same buzz at seeing the place NOT doing the trail??

I intend going to Peru next April/May 08.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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1. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

How well are you able to climb steps? I believe that the steps will be the thing that will hurt the most. I thought I had good knees but it's been a month since my return and they still hurt going up/down steps.

Machu Picchu is beautiful to see no matter if you do the inca trail or not. Though some parts of the trail were very nice also Winya Wanna was a nice reward after 3 days on the trail and Dead Woman's though it almost killed me was very satisfying to climb up.

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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2. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

I would not take the risk of doing the trail and spoiling my knee for a long time or even being unable to finish the trail.

You will enjoy MP very much if you get there by bus, specially if you do not hurt yr knee. You still need to climb many stairs to visit MP, its quite a big place and you have to do a lot of climbing.

Fox Island...
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3. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

It would help if you used trekking poles. I have arthritis in my knees (51 yo) and I was able to do the trail but at the end my knees were hot and swollen and froze up as soon as I would set down. The third day you descend about 2000 stone steps. I would practice going up and down stairs maybe 6 floors and see how you do. It's a great trek and I was very glad to accomplish it. An alternative would be the short Inca Trail, then you could see Winay Wayna and come through the Sun Gate into MP with only one day of hiking.

Boulder, Colorado
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4. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

I would also suggest to skip the 4-day Inca Trail. Yes, you will definitely still get the 'buzz' of seeing Machu Picchu even if you don't do the trail! It's beautiful, and believe me, you will get lots of walking and steps in at the site itself. Also the Inca Trail gets up to 4200m in altitude so you would want to consider how that will affect you. If you're really set on the trail, maybe you should consider the 2-day option? I think it only has 1 day of hiking, then the second day is spent at Machu Picchu.

Brighton, UK
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5. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

Thank you so much for your candour - I think deep down I was being rather optimistic - I still have a lot of the world to see and getting injured or doing more damage to my knee is not the best way of travelling.

I would appreciate to hear the best alternative for me just to give me a flavour of the area with some "tame" walking!!

Brighton, UK
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6. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

Thanks again to all who have posted replies to my problem. Has anyone done the short Inca Trail - the 2-day one? Maybe that could be the solution for me? Your thoughts on this please!!

Also, is it easy for a solo traveller to get from Lima to Machu Picchu, then on to lake Titicaca and other parts of Peru, just booking hotels on the way or am I being rather ignorant here?

I find Trip Advisor forum a marvellous site for people like myself.

Boulder, Colorado
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7. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

For "tame walking" - I think you will get this and more just by visiting the sites (Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Cusco, etc). To explore the ruins you will be walking a lot and up and down lots of stairs, etc. If that's not enough, you could add on the 2-day trail, or maybe there's other day hikes in the area.

Yorktown, Virginia
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for Machu Picchu
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8. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

I recommend you talk to your orthopedic surgeon if possible, to get his take on the feasibility of all this.

About the solo travel -- you probably could do it all yourself, but might want to pre-book all the hotels & connections, rather that try to find a place to stay as you go. I agree -- the forum has great information, enough to make me confident to arrange my own trip to Peru myself.

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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9. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

The 2 day trek is not easier either, its just shorter.

I strongly recommend you visit MP like most do. Go by train and bus.

You will have plenty to walk and climb many steps.

10. Re: The Inca Trail - Knee Surgery - a Problem?

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