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Checking in! 37.5yr old male 18mos after bad knee became horrible knee

KenUSA36

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Hi everyone! It's been roughly a year and a half since I started reading everything here. Coincidentally, January 2018 is when my bad knee received its first arthritis flare up and swelling which required draining and cortisone. At 19, I blew my ACL and tore meniscus in this knee. Several "events" later (which gave me wonderful prizes such as more surgeries, crutches, and pain pills) and my knee is now valgus knock kneed at about 12-15 degrees. I have major damage in the lateral compartment.

TKR is in my future, but I continue to fight it off. I'm not miserable (yet), but I think about my knee every day, and basically every step. It's usually achy. I try to stay positive and realize this bad knee has taught me the importance of trying to eat better, lose weight, and work out a lot. I do stationary bike and walking to keep loose. I do lots of leg lifts and core exercises taught to me by PT back in 2018. I'm also back to lifting weights 4x/wk for upper body strength.

I continue to rotate cortisone and lube shots. They do help. I'm also done listening to any naysayer doctors that consider a TKR just a half step above amputation. Some docs are realistic and are like when you need it, let me know. Others are like "oh no your life would be ruined with a TKR!" Then I ask so what exactly is it now? I can't play sports anymore. I don't go up steps normally, because it hurts the outside of the knee. Outside of shots/pills, 2 docs have suggested an osteotomy. That's a big noooooope for me. I'm not volunteering to break my femur all to MAYBE get 5-7 years before that fails, then face more challenging TKRs due to a femur that looks like Frankenstein.

Anyways sorry for the rant, but I hope everyone is doing well. It's a terrible situation to face an eventual major surgery for a garbage joint in your body, especially so young, but there are certainly worse things in life. I'm hoping to make it over 40, so then at least I may live a long life with that first TKR or at most one revision.

Cheers!
 

Jaycey

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@KenUSA36 Sorry you are fighting with a bad knee. I totally agree with you not want osteotomy. TKR is the way to go for you - but only when you are ready.

If you have been on this site of any length of time you know that we have some very young members who have had joints replaced. Keep a watch on your quality of life. There will come a time when the pain and lack of mobility will move you forward.
 

kneeper

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If you're getting enough help from the shots, weight loss etc. you can probably put off tkr a bit. But like Jaycey said your quality of life is an important consideration. You never want to race into major surgery but sometimes it's needed even at a younger age.
 
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rosieNZ

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Rants are ok. We all feel like that no matter the age.

I cant understand why there are so many concerns about TKR. And why expecting someone to live a number of years with disability, pain and restrictions on life is ok.


One day TKR will not be necessary because there will be successful alternative treatment.
Right now all you can do is exactly what you are doing.

TKR changed my life. I tried not to have it. Looking back I wasted years suffering and living with restriction. For an older person I would say dont wait. It makes no sense when life is being limited by pain and disability.
With a younger person I wonder if the likely advances and potential medical break throughs might be worth waiting for. The balance is surely an assessment of quality of life.
Wait only as long as you are not living a life overly restricted by disability.
For me, my bilateral TKR feels like my normal knees. I realise they arent when I kneel but otherwise I have no pain or restrictoons. My last surgery was in March. I think its amazing. Best wishes for a long healthy and less restricted life.
 

sondrals

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I'm 41 and scheduled for a TKR on August 22nd. I hurt my knee initially as a kid on the playground, 7-8 years old. I gave up sports in junior high and high school because of my knees. I had been told my entire life my knee problems were related to my weight. Finally this year something happened and I lost most of the stability I had in my left knee. I had a MRI only to discover my knee is incredibly messed up structurally and I have several injuries on top of that, I would have qualified for an osteotomy if I were younger and they'd bothered to even look at my knee(s), but no one did. Now I've spent the majority of my life worrying about my knee, giving things up, not doing things and a lot of the time I didn't even notice because I gave things up so gradually. I now regret not doing something sooner, not pushing the issue sooner, I've missed out on a lot in my life all because I have this stupid knee. So.... I get your frustration. I am hoping the replacement will give me a better quality of life.
 
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KenUSA36

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I'm 41 and scheduled for a TKR on August 22nd. I hurt my knee initially as a kid on the playground, 7-8 years old. I gave up sports in junior high and high school because of my knees. I had been told my entire life my knee problems were related to my weight. Finally this year something happened and I lost most of the stability I had in my left knee. I had a MRI only to discover my knee is incredibly messed up structurally and I have several injuries on top of that, I would have qualified for an osteotomy if I were younger and they'd bothered to even look at my knee(s), but no one did. Now I've spent the majority of my life worrying about my knee, giving things up, not doing things and a lot of the time I didn't even notice because I gave things up so gradually. I now regret not doing something sooner, not pushing the issue sooner, I've missed out on a lot in my life all because I have this stupid knee. So.... I get your frustration. I am hoping the replacement will give me a better quality of life.
How was it finding a doctor that would do the knee at 41?

I know what you mean about life adjustments. Luckily, I didn't have to give up something like tennis or marathon running, but my life is different. I hate thinking about my knee every day, every step I take. I hate having to plan for trips such as scheduling shots ahead of time, taking meds with me, taking a brace, hoping it doesn't hurt or swell. It sucks.

I'm actually really disappointed that the medical field doesn't seem to care or address mental health for something like this. No one looks forward to a joint replacement, but it's especially depressing for someone younger. Some days it gets me down if it's hurting a little more or other things build up and just compound my mood. The medical field is basically like "oh well do your best and get back to us."
 
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KenUSA36

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Appreciate the supporting comments. I'm currently at that point of the year where it's been 90 days since cortisone and 4.5 months since lube shots, so effectively nothing is in there working. I hate this gray area, but luckily I'm getting another cortisone shot soon. It feels like the outside of my knee is grinding on an open cut.

I think I'm going to schedule another appt with a knee replacement doc just to check in and interview yet another person. I'd like to have my doc locked in so I don't get real bad and waste 6 months suffering and trying to find the doc I want.

Totally agree going in strong. The day I can't walk 1+ miles with my unloading brace (or without) or I start wanting to just sit on the couch because walking hurts, then it's past time to get it. I don't want to structurally destroy my knee or go in to this surgery with loss of muscle and ROM.

Thanks everyone!
 

marieltha

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Try to focus on the fixing/repair. It is not a disease. It is like repairing and replacing parts in your car. Find a doctor.
Good luck.
 

sondrals

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How was it finding a doctor that would do the knee at 41?

I know what you mean about life adjustments. Luckily, I didn't have to give up something like tennis or marathon running, but my life is different. I hate thinking about my knee every day, every step I take. I hate having to plan for trips such as scheduling shots ahead of time, taking meds with me, taking a brace, hoping it doesn't hurt or swell. It sucks.

I'm actually really disappointed that the medical field doesn't seem to care or address mental health for something like this. No one looks forward to a joint replacement, but it's especially depressing for someone younger. Some days it gets me down if it's hurting a little more or other things build up and just compound my mood. The medical field is basically like "oh well do your best and get back to us."
Honestly, not very hard, the doctor initially sent me away for a week because my pain levels weren't high enough. But I was popping 4 Aleve twice a day, and once I stopped that my pain levels were higher. After I rated my pain a 5-6 he's so far not hesitated. I think he also wanted to make sure I was sure, at least that's what it felt like. But I use a walker at 41.... soooo kinda a quality of life issue.

I gave up baseball & basketball, I wasn't ever any good at them, but it was something as a kid I really enjoyed, especially baseball. There are very few things I can do that I don't have to consider my knee, or worry about it. And living in a state that's covered in ice and snow for 7+ months a year makes it worse, because slipping is always a concern when there's ice or snow. I wear spiked shoes everywhere outdoors in the winter and carry extra shoes with me to change into once I'm indoors.

I totally agree with the mental health part. But I think mental health in our country is severely lacking, and there's a lot of stigma surrounding it. It's complicated too, I'm depressed that I have to have a knee replacement, but part of me is excited that I might actually have 1 "normal" knee. I don't know what it feels like to not be at risk of my knee dislocating. I never have. So that part of all this is somewhat exciting. But I'm really a mess, I'm scared and kind of anxious and worried that I'm going to go through all this and it still won't fix it.
 

kneeper

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I'm more confident in the winter since my TKRs but I'm still super careful.
 

Bossy97

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I’m also 41 and have exhausted all options. I was told a year ago to just let the surgeon know when I was ready. I’m scheduled on 8-27. His only stipulation was that he will do a press fit knee because he says cement is the weakest link. Hoping [emoji1696] that a revision will never be necessary.
I can’t imagine how frustrated you are.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Jamie

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Here is some information that may help you decide when the time is right. I know it's more difficult to make this decision when you're younger, but it's correct to place the emphasis on quality of life and not age.

Making the decision whether or not to have surgery and preparing for surgery can be easier once you have done your research and know what lies ahead. Here are some tools that can help you decide what is best for you.

If you are at the stage where you have joint pain but don't know for sure if you are ready to have surgery, these links may help:

Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic knee?
Choosing a surgeon and a prosthesis
BMI Calculator - What to do if your surgeon says you're too heavy for joint replacement surgery
Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?


If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:

Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?


And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced knee, take a look at the posts and threads from other BoneSmarties provided in this link:

Stories of amazing knee recoveries
 
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KenUSA36

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Thanks @Jamie I'm playing the long game and seeing some docs now. I want a plan in place and hopefully have my surgeon picked out before my knee turns to horrendous and I'm spending months doing the "leg work."

I'm hoping if I have a great surgeon ready to go, then I'll be ready to maybe do some prehab, show I've been doing shots for years, and get past the insurance denial pain.
 

Jamie

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Sounds like a plan. Let us know how things go.
 

Atlas_aus

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@KenUSA36

Welcome, if you have been lurking that long you would have a very good understanding of all things knee related !

I could not agree with what @rosieNZ has said below :

TKR changed my life. I tried not to have it. Looking back I wasted years suffering and living with restriction. For an older person I would say dont wait. It makes no sense when life is being limited by pain and disability.
With a younger person I wonder if the likely advances and potential medical break throughs might be worth waiting for. The balance is surely an assessment of quality of life.
Wait only as long as you are not living a life overly restricted by disability.
For me, my bilateral TKR feels like my normal knees. I realise they arent when I kneel but otherwise I have no pain or restrictoons. My last surgery was in March. I think its amazing. Best wishes for a long healthy and less restricted life.
Your quality (or lack there of) of life has to be first and foremost rather than waiting for some magical age to be reached. I did that for over 10 yrs, and now that I have had my BTKR I wished I would have gone much earlier. I am about 10 weeks out and am feeling fantastic.

Don't put it off too long, age is just a number, quality life is what your decision should be based on. Good luck.
 

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