My knees are just about shot--no ACLs, and pretty much no more cartilage. I click constantly in two point, and it really hurts to get off my horse. I was practicing trotting for a Three Day, and it was the hardest part about getting ready; every step hurt.
So--can anyone tell me about knee replacement surgery? I think I need to start thinking about it.
Depending on who does it, your pain tolerance levels, it can be easy or hard in the recovery, rehab portion. My friend who has a rather high pain tolerance level said it was worse than having all of her kids at one time! Plus her rehab therapy didn't seem to go smoothly, took longer than expected and she needed to stay on pain meds longer. Just took a very long time for her to get up and going, even with doing therapy religiously. Needed help getting herself around and husband was NO help at all. Seems it was about 6 months before she got to almost no pain, moving well. Now goes for long walks, gardens, pain is gone. I hadn't heard much nice about her Ortho surgeon, just has bad technique in ALL his surgeries. Longer healing times needed, excess pain in patients.
Her husband got his knee done by a different surgeon, whined and carried on about the pain, but SHE was running the rehab show, made him do his therapy OFTEN and AS ORDERED. He was up and about in remarkably short time, got pain free in a pretty short time, to go back to work. He is over 65. Still doing good 2yrs later.
Other friends with various other Ortho surgeons have done their knees and recovered well. Not so close that I know how their recovery went for them. But seemed to be back in circulation in a timely fashion, all moving a lot better now. Having an optomistic attitude, will power you to push thru in rehab despite pain, GOOD rehab folks who keep you working, are the key ingredients to success after the knee surgery. There is no getting around knee replacements hurting, sometimes severely. Pain tolerance seems quite individual in bearing it. Seems like you just have to keep going, things do get better FINALLY. And you REALLY enjoy the new knee in the future!
Do your surgeon research well. Talk to his/her customers and ask on their recovery times. Some surgeons have better methods, happier customers! Talk to surgeon about model of joint they use, check how it stands up to hard use by horse folks! You don't want to be doing this again soon, if joint doesn't hold up well to your needs.
Plan your rehab well. You REALLY can't do anything after this surgery for quite a while. You are on strong pain meds, not normal. Pet care, staying home alone are NOT possible for a one-legged person. You WILL need help to do ANYTHING, even if they do let you go home with family. My mother didn't listen to anything the Dr told her about aftercare, when they discussed her ankle surgery. She had to get it repinned, realigned, screws coming out and loose in bones. She figured she could use crutches like when she had it done 30 years ago! She was SO WRONG. Her mindset of going home had to be changed abruptly, when rehab at the hospital showed her crutches would NOT work this time. She was immobilized by her heavy leg cast, NOT to be walked on, could only move in a wheelchair! Luckily SIL and I KNEW her planning was faulty thinking, had a nice rehab place lined up for her to stay in while she healed. And things got more complicated after that with her bad attitude and age factors. She is at her own home now, doing quite well, but still doing rehab exercises to strengthen herself.
My mom had both of her knees replaced. Her second surgery was June 8th. Her first few days were pretty miserable (but my mom isn't a good patient, either). She then spent a week in the rehab wing. Her knee was painful and swollen, but she was much more uncomfortable with the body sores associated with laying down for so long and having limited positions in the hospital bed. She was in the hosp about two weeks and they sent her home when she was able to walk on her own with a walker, step into a bathtub, etc. They don't send anyone home who can't do these things. Last monday, she started going into work part time and working the rest of the time at home remotely. She feels pretty good.
Her first surgery healed really well and she hasn't had any problems with it. It looks like this one will heal just as well. My mom is SO thankful she got the surgeries done - she was in alot of pain pior to both.
My mom had her right knee done last fall and is having her left done next month. She said it was the best decision she made (she's in her early 70s). Prior to her first surgery, she worked out like a fiend, doing a lot of strength and flexibility work to support the muscles around her knee.
She began her post surgery therapy 2 days after surgery. Her P.T. was really impressed with her recovery time (was a good 3 weeks ahead of what they thought she would be able to do), but she worked really hard, did her exercises and stretches at home like a good girl, etc.
With her next surgery in a month, she's really excited about being pain free in both of her knees for the first time in a decade. : )
Research your surgeon and the hospital / rehab facilities thoroughly.
DH is a farrier. Had both knees replaced, at the same time, at the age of 56. His surgeon is part of the group that takes care of the Eagles football team - more importantly, his surgeon does not do anything but knee and hip replacements. That's the type of surgeon you want.
He was out of surgery at 11am and at 5pm the same day, the physical therapists already had him in a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine - it basically gently flexes your knee for you. He was out of bed and walking down the hall first thing the following morning (with a walker).
He was in hospital for 3 days, then inpatient rehab (for intensive PT - literally 4 hrs a day!) for 5 days. Any time he was not working with a physical therapist, he was in the CPM machine. They did take it off at night so he could sleep.
He was back shoeing horses part time in 10 weeks. He went back full time with no help in 14 weeks.
He worked his butt off in PT and did all home exercises as directed.
Feel free to PM with any questions.
ETA: DH was so bowlegged prior to surgery that after it was done, the surgeon told me he was now an inch and a half taller because his legs were straight for the first time in a LONG time.
I thought the surgeon was joking with me as DH was still in recovery when I talked to him & I hadn't seen DH yet. I was shocked when he stood up with the PT the next morning - I stood next to him and yep, he was taller!
My mom had hers done two weeks ago, and I am here helping out since I'm a teacher and free during the summer and my dad is not. She is doing remarkably well - better than she thought. Her pain was always tolerable, and she has already caught herself walking without her walker without even realizing it. She'll get somewhere and then realize that she doesn't have the walker because she's walking without thinking about it. She's still very stiff, but I think she's happy she did it at this point. Her surgeon is very recommended in the area and actually told my mom that he does a lot of knee replacements and is VERY good at what he does...lol. I guess confidence is a good thing when looking for a surgeon!