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Knee Replacement at the age of 43

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by DavidOKC, Jan 27, 2011.

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  1. DavidOKC

    DavidOKC Junior Member

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    Since joining this forum earlier this week I have been posting in the recovery forum. But I thought this post would be more appropriate on this forum since many people here are getting ready for surgery or they are still trying to decide if they even want to have the surgery. If you are young and thinking about knee surgery read this:

    5 weeks ago I had a LTKR. This followed a RTKR that took place 9 months earlier. I just want to post and tell everyone how excited I am to have two new knees. The recovery on my right knee took a lot of work and there was pain and there is still work to do. I am in the early stages of recovery after my LTKR and expect more of the same. But I am excited and I already feel like I have won the battle but just have to let the rest of the game play out!

    Why? There are parts of life that have been out of my reach for a long time now. As a kid I loved sports. I played everything. Then at the age of 15 I tore some cartilage. I had that repaired and then I tore a ligament and it just snowballed from there. By the time I was 20 I had 5 knee operations behind me and any sport that required running, jumping or even jogging was no longer an option. I no longer had the ability to do any of those things. Soon after, I started feeling the early stages of arthritis and simple things like walking or standing were difficult. Over the next 20 years I had problems keeping weight off and started seeing some negative health issues like blood pressure. Thanks to strength training and non-impact cardio equipment like elliptical machines I have been able to fight back. However, walking around the mall or walking my dog around the neighborhood was very difficult and very painful.

    Finally in September of ’09 I went to see an orthopedic surgeon again. At the time I was about 6’1 and 230 lbs with a fairly muscular build. While my knees were in a lot of pain I had learned to disguise it over the last 20+ years and it was not noticeable to someone when watching me walk or move about. Before I saw my OS I had x-rays taken and he had a copy of them on his hand-held computer. He walked in and laughed as he looked at the images of my knees. He said he told the Physicians Assistant that the x-rays must have belonged to someone else because it was not possible for these knees to belong to the guy that walk into that room. He said they are worse that the 70 year old man he just scheduled for replacement. So we talked about the risks and then we talked about the benefits…getting my life back, enjoying the ability to go on long walks and many other things that most 40-somethings take for granted. I was on a path to obesity, diabetes, etc. Not only were there quality of life benefits but there were health risks to consider.

    I thought about it for a week and then I went back to see the OS because I wanted to schedule the surgery. We scheduled the worst knee first (my left but it was a coin flip really) and it was going to be performed Christmas week of 2009. We decided on OTIS. Then the FDA put OTIS on hold so we rescheduled for March of 2010. In February of 2010 some bone fragments became lodged in my right joint and mobility was no longer possible so we changed our plan and operated on that knee instead and scrapped the OTIS plans for a traditional procedure and implant. The surgery was a success and by October I past most of the pain and swelling and I was back in the gym and doing a few miles per day on the elliptical machine but my left knee was still killing me. So I decided to move forward with the LTKR over Christmas of 2010.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the comment “you had your knee replaced? But you are so young!....”. Well getting your knee replaced is a decision that you need to really think about. There are risks and there are benefits. I have said more here than I probably needed to but the point of this post is to let everyone know how excited I am about spending the rest of my 40s… with my new knees. I already have trips to Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Alberta scheduled for this summer. I will be able to enjoy this trip in ways that I have not been able to over the last 15-20 years. More importantly, every day activities like walking my dog, walking from one building to another at work, going to the mall with my wife are not going to require finding a bench or place to sit every 5 minutes.

    Everyone is in a different situation and a TKR is not always the best choice. If it is the best option the timing may not be right for one reason for another. For me I have no doubts. This procedure was needed and it was needed at this point in my life. Good luck to all of you who are getting ready for your TKR and good luck to all of you who are in the decision phase.

    One final thing…after reading this board it appears that I am a late addition to the 2010 March Muskateers as well as whatever the December group is calling themselves.
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  2. Josephine

    Josephine Administrator

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    Well, David, that is a wonderful report! Thank you so much for taking the time to post it. I may copy it into the Library when we get it reorganised. I feel you excitement because I share it! I remember how I used to plodge along, taking ages to get fromA to B and now I can stride along better than I have in years! Life's great again, isn't it?
  3. DavidOKC

    DavidOKC Junior Member

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    Please feel free to put this in the library and yes life is getting better each day!
  4. Flinty

    Flinty New Member

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    Hi David,

    This really resonated for me as I am considering a PKR or Osteotomy. How long into your recovery did you you think 'my new knee is now better than it was prior to the surgey' please?

    Thanks

    Paul
  5. Tykey

    Tykey Forum Advisor

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    Thanks, David, what a nice encouraging report. Enjoy your new life:smile:

    Paul, just a couple of thoughts:

    My story is very similar to David's, except add 20 years. Apart from a little pain, my knee felt more stable on day1, after 2 months it was better than the old one, 6 months before I started doing the old lifestyle activities (starting gently)

    We are just discussing partial replacements on another thread, the general conclusion for this is it's half a job done, and you might well be replacing it in a year or two. I'd look for the thread and see what you think.
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  6. DavidOKC

    DavidOKC Junior Member

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    Flinty, the big difference on both knees started showing up after 5 or 6 weeks. It is there earlier but because of pain and a lack of mobility you are probably not going to see it. My right knee has really progressed a lot over the last few days. I can feel it in my stride since I am getting to the point where I have enough mobility to walk without a limp.

    Your question is a great question though because I imagine everyone wonders if they did the right thing in those early weeks. Then one day you hit a stride in your walk and your thinking this knee really works. It is a great moment because it has been Soooo long since you had confidence in your knee.

    Keep in mind that recovery appears to differ for everyone though. 5 or 6 weeks may be early for most.
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  7. brs0660

    brs0660 Forum Advisor

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    David..thank you for sharing. I agree with you. Not easy journey...but for quality of life it is worth it!
  8. RestAssured

    RestAssured Forum Advisor

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    Hi David,

    I was 44 when I had my left knee replaced last March and after 3 months I felt like I was on top of the world and I was ready to have my right knee replaced! The left knee is almost 11 months old and is feeling great! I am so glad that I had the surgery!

    I had the right knee replaced 3 months later and even though I have an infection in it, I am still glad that I had the surgery! I was 3/4 of an inch shorter in my right leg after the knee replacement on my left!:th_heehee:

    I played all of the sports when I was growing up and I continued by throwing the discus and shot put in college. Wearing the 50 pound weight vest, and running up and down all of the stadium rows wasn't a good idea for the knees, but in college you do what they ask you to do!:th_jumpy:

    I don't think 43 is too young to reclaim a life "free of pain!":wink:


  9. Surfsister

    Surfsister Senior

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    I had mine done at 45. I think they should let pain and disability be the guide, not age.

    By the way, I spent the morning at the skatepark . . . on a skateboard!!

    Knee replacement is a wonderful thing.
  10. Jamie

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    Surfsister....your posts ALWAYS make me smile!
  11. mrschooch

    mrschooch Member

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    Hi David,

    Wanted to say welcome and have been following your progress. I was 47 when I had mine done last July. I still can't believe it has been over 6 months! Granted I am having a bit of difficulty with pain and stiffness, which hopefully will be fixed next month, but I am very very glad I had this done!!!

    Also wanted to say love your avatar...we have a 2 yo named Lili. First time Great Dane owner, always had St. Bernards and love them all!!! We now own a Great Dane, 2 yo English Mastiff, named Molly who thinks she is a lap dog, and recently adopted a 7 month old St. Bernard named Bella--who is dumb as a stump and so loveable...all she does is smile! :smile:​
  12. DavidOKC

    DavidOKC Junior Member

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    mrsschooch, I am sorry to hear that you are going to have to go back in to get a scope (I saw that in another post). I hope it is a success!

    That is a lot of giant dogs in one house. I bet they are a lot of fun! My grandfather had a St. Bernard when I was young and I always loved that dog. I have never owned a mastiff but I see a lot of them at the dog park and they are alwasys so well behaved. It seems like all of the Giant breeds tend to be sweet dogs.

    .
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