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anyone had a total knee replacement?

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  • anyone had a total knee replacement?

    Today I went for a second opinion with a top notch orthopedic sports surgeon. I'm 42 and was born with offset patellas and suffered a few patellar dislocations in my teens that were quite traumatic. Had a scope done about 6 years ago to clean out the arthritis and micro-fracturing to attempt to regenerate some scar tissue to "cushion" my knee joint. Lost about 40 pounds with mostly diet changes and now I'm at the point that I need more exercise to burn the extra fat off.....another 20-30 pounds would be so helpful. Brought my horses home a few months ago after many years of boarding and am feeding/cleaning, etc. and loving it except my knee pain has returned and even the "good" knee is hurting.

    At this point I am bone on bone on my left knee with no other surgical alternatives except a full and complete knee replacement per two knee surgeons. I know I am young but my quality of life is being greatly compromised. Last year my son crashed on his bicycle and I tried to run a few steps over to him and fell down, I have trouble navigating stairs, uneven terrain is torture, cannot squat down (even a little) and my lower back is starting to complain because of the strain.

    I'm overwhelmed with this news today. Right now we are trying cortisone shots and later the synvisc shots to try to buy me more time. My husband wants me to do it sooner rather than later and enjoy the next 25 years of my life and worry about a second one when the time comes. The "life" expectancy of a knee replacement is 20-25 years and a second one doesn't have as high a success rate. I don't want to run marathons, play tennis or salsa dance. I just want to be able to walk without feeling like I might fall down and I have to watch every step and if all I can do is some easy trail riding that's fine too just don't make me sell my ponies. I have learned to do everything in my life in different ways and its taking its toll on me mentally and physically. Its also impacted my family as I'm becoming more apprehensive about going places and doing things. I want to enjoy my family!!!

    If anyone has been through this or knows someone who has please feel free to post about it or PM me. I need to know the pros/cons especially from other horse folks and I'll be doing more research as well.....thanks for listening.

  • #2
    I had my left knee replaced in Jan '10.
    I got a great deal of my life back!
    Yes, it hurts for a couple weeks, but then .... pain free!

    I have ridden, and the surgeon was less pushy than when he did the ACL on the other knee, which he wanted me to wear a brace on for ages afterwards.

    Now, if I had a horse I could ride every day, maybe I could also get rid of some of my excess poundage
    Mal:This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then .... explode


    • #3
      I had a total knee replacement in my early 20's. (Not optional at the time, as I could not walk due to a very severe skiing injury.) I am in my mid 40's now (sigh) which is well past the anticipated "replacement" point of that implant I got back then, so I anticipate the same "do it now or wait" decision you are struggling with - except that for me, the *next* surgery will be #3.

      If you are having that much difficulty with activities of normal life, I would encourage you to get the procedure done now. You can wind up with lots of additional issues that are caused by all the compensatory stuff you do when you are in chronic pain. You don't want to wind up with hip or ankle problems, for instance, because your altered gait has caused excess wear on those joints that you could have avoided by fixing your knee(s) now.

      Most people who go through joint replacement surgeries have only one regret, and that is that they put it off longer than they should have. If you doubt this, go spend a few hours at a rehab facility and ask the people there who are finishing up their post-surgical PT. Yes, it is surgery and there will be discomfort and a recovery period. But if you are at the point where you are living with significant disability - which is what it sounds like from your description - I'd say you are likely to recover a much better quality of life once you have the replacement and heal up.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        Been there, done that. Hip is an easier recovery than the knee, but look at how your life is being compromised. DO IT ASAP AND GET YOUR LIFE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


        • #5
          Been there --- with two partial replacements --- and now plan to beg my ortho for two complete replacements because of new knee pain. Biggest bit of advice I can give you is to follow the PT regime exactly --- don't do any more than they tell you to do, and don't do any less.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks everyone

            for sharing your experiences, most helpful and I've pretty much decided that I'll have it replaced later this fall when the weather turns. Can you tell me how long your recovery/rehab lasted and how long before you were able to do barn chores and ride again? Also what type of riding do you do and what activities do you avoid? I am prepared to be an A+ patient especially in the rehab phase as I want this to heal well and last a long time. Are there things I can do pre-op in the next few months to better prepare myself physically for this surgery?


            • #7
              I haven't had mine replaced, but I have friends who have had both replaced. All equestrians.

              What I noticed about their various rates of recovery was their level of fitness and BMI prior to surgery. So if there is anything you can do (with your dr's ok of course!) to lose any excess weight, or tone up a little - that might help. And they were all religious about their PT and resuming activities slowly.

              As far as riding - they are ALL back to foxhunting and running their own farms. I can't think of any activity they are no longer able to engage in - the knee replacements literally gave them their lives back.

              If anything - they're more active now than they were when they were much younger but dealing with arthritis, injections. periods of disability, and PT.

              They all had help for household and barn chores - but they were able to plan things so that helpers didn't have to do much except put out round bales, check on horses, refill large heated troughs, etc. Shoes were pulled, coats went unclipped, etc.

              Good luck with your surgery and recovery.
              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
              -Rudyard Kipling


              • #8
                I currently work in ortho rehab so deal with TKNR regularly.
                They are more painful than hip replacements.
                Recovery depends on your expectations and involvement with your rehab.
                Loose as much weight as possible.
                Once you have the operation, accept all analgesia offered (and ask for more if necessary) and GET UP AND START WALKING. Do not be too embarrassed to use a walking frame. The walking and weight bearing helps "set" the replacement parts and speeds the healing.
                Do all the excercises the therapist asks of you.
                Plan for how you will manage stairs, showering etc before you go for the op. If you have all this sorted, you should get home really fast. Once you are home recovery will be faster.
                If you surgeon is agreeing to the operation now, your knees must be pretty shot. Knees are usually left as long as possible because there are so many more issues than with hips. Structure is more complex, weight bearing more direct.

                Good luck.