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Old 02-15-2011, 04:56 AM   #1
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Total Knee Replacement

I have been dealing with knee problems for over 20 years, and was told the other day I need to have my Left knee replaced. I may also need the Right knee in the future, they didn't do x-rays on it that day. I am only 39 years old and the idea of this surgery is very scary to me. I plan to get at least one if not 2 more opinions and see where I really am with this. I have 2 young children and I am still 70 pounds overweight.

I guess I just needed to write this down, but also looking for anyone with experience with knee replacement, and also information about arthritis medicines and anti-inflammatories. Side effects, how did they work, how long did you take them etc.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:16 AM   #2
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Dawn- I am 69 and have needed total knee replacement (both knees) for the past 20 years. About 10 years ago, I decided to deal with this problem by getting off ALL meds (NSAIDs) with an anti-inflammatory diet and water exercise (no stress on joints). I now do strength training as well. Doctors told me that strengthing the muscles is the way to take stress of the joints.

I can't walk long distances or up and down stairs easily, but I've accommodated to these limitations. Recently, since I assumed surgery was inevitable, I consulted a surgeon at NYC's leading orthopedic hospital, planning to schedule my surgery with him.

He told me to wait! He said that since I was coping well and had eliminated most of my pain, I should try to avoid the surgery as long as possible. He advised that in his experience, the pain could return at any time, and I might find it unbearable. That's when I should have the operation--but not before. "Wait until you're desperate" was his advice.

You are very young, and there are orthopedic surgeons who would schedule me tomorrow (I know one locally who told me that I 'need' to have it done) because every operation is more income for them. If you get other opinions, I'd suggest you consult a physiatrist, which is a relatively new specialty. They are doctors (MDs) who do rehabilitation. They are big on physical therapy, and that has helped me a lot. They could advise you on whether you need surgery immediately or can do other things for your joints.
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:15 AM   #3
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Thanks Leo

I will definitely be getting more opinions. I know there are many docs just looking to fatten their wallet. I will look to see if I can find a physiatrist near me.
I have been doing a weight training routine for almost 6 months, and I do the elliptical 3-4 days a week, and sometimes the treadmill though it causes pain.
What are you doing for an anti inflammatory diet? I am doing low carb, pretty close to Atkins.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
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If you Google, you'll get a lot of opinions on anti-inflammatory, but I first looked into this because Dr. Michael Eades refers to it in ProteinPower.

People respond differently to different foods, but both egg yolks and red meat are very inflammatory. I eat only egg whites, and I eat grass-fed beed only, as that is much less inflammatory. In addition, I'm hypothyroid and gluen sensitive, and I found that eliminating all grains helped a lot.

Atkins is good because the biggest problem is sugar in any form--if I indulge in a dessert, I'll be in pain the next day.

By the way, I'd avoid any exercise that causes you pain, like the treadmill. It's doing more harm than good, and there are other ways to exercise that don't tax your joints. You want to get flexibility but not 'pound' them.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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I was 55 when I had my knee replaced. I was desperate--couldn't walk from the car into WalMart, let alone shop, and gardening was a real challenge. It has been a little more than a year now, I can walk without pain, though I cannot kneel, and my knee does not have much flexibility. The surgery and recovery was very hard--very painful for a month or six weeks. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

I waited too long for mine--I should have gone in a year or two earlier, and recovery would have been easier and more complete, I think.

Swimming is great exercise, and I also use a recumbent bike.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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i had a tkr when i was 51.(2002)

textbook case. i did try non-surgical alternatives first, such as cortisone shot (ouch), and glucosamine/chondroitin. zilch. Then i had the surgery. I also had the cortisone for the right knee in 2003. so far, so good. i get some pain, on and off in the right hamstring...not a big deal yet. Love & Profits: FLATFERENGHI
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:25 AM   #7
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I tried glucosamine, physical therapy, exercise, cortisone--nothing did much good, because the cartilege was gone.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:02 PM   #8
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I had a total R knee done 6/7/10. I was 53. I did the cortisone shots, the chondrotin (sp?). PT only aggravated both knees and I don't tolerate any of the NSAIDs. My limping was starting to aggravate my hip. I could no longer do any type of walking over 3 blocks w/o lots of pain. My R knee pain would wake me and keep me up at night. I have no cartilage in either knee. I have no idea wear it went!

If I could tolerate the NSAIDS(non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, Advil, Celebrex, etc. I would have held off the surgery. They at least kept the pain down to a dull roar!

My new knee is pain free and strong. And I'm glad I had it done, BUT, I never would have been able to recover and rehab if I had young children around. Mine are older. This was the first time in my adult life that I actually put MY need first, in order to recover/rehab. Even with a helpful husband/dad in the picture, it won't be enough.

I would probably wait. Just because you may be clinically eligible for surgery, so are a lot of people; and you don't have to do it.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:43 PM   #9
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Hi! Sorry it took me awhile to see this thread...but here's my input anyway

I'm an RN that works on an orhtopedic unit. We are a specialty unit that deals with ONLY knee and hip replacements, so I've seen all kinds of patients. Don't let your age scare you out of getting something that may help add quality to your life. We have had patients in their 30s! Knee replacements today last a very long time, compared with in the past where doctors wouldn't do them on young patients. Many patients do wait almost too long - to the point where their muscles weaken, they are too heavy from no exercise, and both knees are so worn that recovery is difficult. The program where I work is a 3 day inpatient stay. One night is the surgery night, then 3 days of intense therapy, then home with an outpatient therapy program 2-3 days a week PLUS lots of at home exercise. Patients start with a walker, then progress to a cane or crutches within a couple of weeks. We always encourage patients to have a "champion." Someone who can help them out and encourage them through the recovery. That said, many people live alone and still do well. The pain can be severe at first, but there are medications to help - and of course the pain gets better with time.

Now, all of that said, there are risks of it - it is a major surgery. Those you have to discuss with your dr ahead of time. Only you and your dr (and go ahead and get a second opinion!) can determine what is the best course of action for you. the one orthopedist I work with says that knee arthroscopies are generally worthless. They cause many people MORE pain than before the surgery, and really only work for limited cases. If you have instability in the knee or pain that impairs your day to day activities, the replacement may be your best bet. Injections, anti-inflammatories, supplements can only take you so far. If you are getting by fairly well, there isn't any rush to do the surgery. Then again, if you may eventually need it someday, it may suit you well to get yourself into the best shape possible and do it while you are relatively young and healthy! Our patients are all encouraged to attend a pre-surgery joint replacement training program - which helps condition them aerobically and get their muscles ready for recovery. I can always tell the ones who prepare for the surgery - they fly through the rehab with ease! Remember that if you do the surgery, you will be using a walker and relying on your upper body strength for a bit, as you gain confidence and balance, so make sure to work out your whole body. If exercise is tough now because of the knees - look into a warm water exercise class. It's great for the joints.

Sorry for the long post, but this is my thing If you have any questions or anything along the way - whichever route you go - feel free to PM me.

Good luck to you, and I wish you lots of health!
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the input, I really appreciate all the thoughts, opinions and experiences.
I have been reading some books on arthritis and inflammation and the diets and supplements recommended. For now, I am going to get another opinion, see about the hyalgen injections, continue my exercise program, continue lowcarb and add some supplements and see where that takes me.
My knee pain is not a new problem by any stretch, but I really am not in a place to be able to handle a knee replacement right now. I need to take off as much weight as I can to be healthier overall.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:17 AM   #11
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knee replacement

Hi, Dawn...I just noticed your thread about possibly needing total knee replacements...I am 51 and have to have both of my knees replaced asap. I have no cartilage left in either knee, and have been getting cortisone shots every 3 months for years. I had the most recent shots in February 2011, and was told by the PA in my ortho's office that I would KNOW when I HAD to have the surgery, and now I do! For the first time, I got NO relief from the shots! I could opt for 'Syn-Visc' injections (synthetic synovial fluid is injected directly into the joint) but because I have no articular cartilage, these shots would be of very limited success. I am a nursing student now, and expect to graduate in May 2012 with a BSN. So, I will schedule this surgery for asap after finals are over on May 19. I am fortunate to have a lot of support--and was able to discuss this with my PCP--and she thinks I need to do this NOW because I will have one more year of clinicals, etc., plus my nursing career and grad school after graduation. She also said the knee replacements now last 30+years--which puts me in my 80's! My appointment with my orthopedist is next Monday, (3/21) and hopefully the surgery can be scheduled at that appointment. The only question is whether or not I will have only one replaced, or both...I really am not keen on doing this now, and then having to do it again for the other knee in a few years...so I will keep you posted!
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:20 AM   #12
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also weight loss

Dawn, and I also need to lose a lot of weight! unfortunately, I have a small window to do this--since my classes will start again at the end of August. So, I am working on losing as much weight as possible before the surgery, and continue losing afterward...hope this helps!
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:14 PM   #13
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My husband has had both hips and both knees replaced. Starting at age 40 he had his hip done, finished with all the surgeries by by 47and he is now 50. He would do it again in a heartbeat.
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