Harald Harb is a former Canadian National Ski Team athlete and is now a professional ski instructor in Dumont, CO. Using his proprietary ski teaching system, he and his hand-picked crew run camps for adults and juniors. When Harald isn't skiing or teaching, you can find him in the mountains hiking or rock climbing.
Q&A with Harald
Q: When did you have your surgery?
A: I had my right knee replaced with ConforMIS implants in April 2015
Q: What were your knees like before surgery?
A: I've always been an athlete - skiing, rock climbing, cycling, tennis... you name it. When I was younger, I would leave school at the end of the day and climb mountains in the dark just so I could ski! At 27 I was playing soccer with a league in Vermont and had a collision with another player during a game. I hyperextended my knee and crushed the meniscus - that's when my knee troubles started. I began to develop arthritis and tried to deal with it by using anti-inflammatories for 37 years.
Q: What made you decide to choose ConforMIS?
A: In skiing, I have learned - and now teach - that the most successful skiiers have properly aligned boots. When your knee is aligned over the center of the boot and ski, you are able to perform at your best without any adaptive movements. However, since everyone's legs are different, this process has to be customized to each skiier. When research led me to ConforMIS, I thought "This is it. I can't wait any longer and this is the knee I'm looking for."
So I found Dr. Michael Wertz in Boulder. We talked, and I went to see him. I had already seen one other surgeon before that was ready to use a non-customized knee. As soon as Dr. Wertz talked to me about the ConforMIS I said, "This is for me, I'm ready"
Q: What was recovery like?
A: I walked the very same day as surgery! I felt like I could have walked home, but they wouldn't have allowed that. Now my knee feels totally stable. Three months after surgery, I was skiing bumps and then that same season I gave a clinic on skiing bumps. I still have the sensitivity to understand where my knee is, and I can keep my balance.
"[My knee] is so well engineered, it’s so well sculpted and it fits precisely on my bone so there’s no excess. It’s not too small. It’s not inside the bone. It’s not outside the bone. It just sits right on it. I can use my knee and bend it 130 degrees. I have never been in a situation yet where the lack of bend influenced what I couldn’t do."
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