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Do I need to be “Bone on Bone” before I have my knee replaced?

Cat_Girl

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Hi everyone,
The time is approaching and I can feel the anxiety creeping in. I am scheduled to have my left TKR on October 30th. To be honest, I am truly scared and wondering if I am making the right decision. But then I wonder...is anyone ever 100% sure going into this type of surgery.

I realize that this is a major operation and that once I have done it there is no turning back. I wish that I could just wake up one morning and be pain free and that this problem would just “go away”. I have literally tried “everything” to make my knee better. I have tried therapy, acupuncture, ice, heat, topicals, anti-inflammatories, giving it time, stem cell and PRP injections. I even flew to Virginia in July of this year to try a new procedure called “Geniculate Artery Embolization”.

Everything that I have tried has either not helped at all or only given me only temporary relief”. I have been to several orthopedic surgeons. A lot of them said that I’m too young or that my arthritis isn’t that bad yet to need a knee replacement.

In December of 2018 I saw a very reputable and experienced surgeon who said that although he thought that my knee wasn’t bad enough currently for a replacement, he did say that I would definitely need a replacement within the next 5 to 10 years at the most.

Then I saw another very experienced and reputable surgeon who said that although I am on the young side and that I am not “bone on bone” yet......he definitely felt that replacing my knee was a reasonable and justified option.

I believe that most people wait until they are “bone on bone” or until they are in such unbearable pain that they have no choice but to have the knee replaced. I think that I’m in the “in between” phase. I don’t have excruciating pain. I don’t walk with a limp. I do however, have pain everyday. My life has been so limited for the past 2 years and 4 months. It’s almost difficult for me to remember or even imagine that I used to go for a walk at least 5 times per week for about 30-45 minutes and I wouldn’t even think twice about it. I would go to Walmart and walk all over the store or go shopping at other stores and be totally fine and pain free. I would go to the local art festival, farmers market or flea market and spend several hours on my feet without even as much as a thought about my knee.

Now I find myself ordering my groceries online and declining many offers to get together with family and friends because I’m either concerned about how much walking might be involved in the activity or I’m just too darn depressed to go anywhere. Sometimes I almost feel guilty because I know there are plenty of people that are in way worse pain than me.

I really wish that I could put this surgery off for another 10 years but I’m not sure that I want to wait until the inevitable happens.........that I WILL someday be “bone on bone”.

So I guess my question is...are there other Bonesmarties that are either in a similar situation as me or have in the past been in a similar situation as myself. Should I just suck it up and deal with the pain and the limitations that it has on my life or should I just “go for it” and get it done???
 

Celle

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@Cat_Girl
To me, it's pretty obvious that it's high time you went ahead with the knee replacement.

Being bone-on-bone is not the only reason for having a knee replacement. You've run through all the usual treatments that are tried to relieve pain and they haven't worked for you. Your knee pain has already impacted your daily life severely, restricting activities that you used to enjoy, and reducing your social and family contacts. That knee of yours has diminished your quality of life and you're too young for that to happen.

So, stop feeling guilty about other people whose condition may be worse than yours, and go and get your knee replaced asap.

I was the same age as you are now when my knee needed to be replaced, but I was told that I was "too young". And so, because I didn't know any better, I waited for 9 miserable, painful years until my surgeon said I was "old enough".
During those 9 years, my quality of life and my mobility decreased steadily, until I was almost housebound. They were wasted years, years when I should have been actively participating in a full life.

Don't make the same mistake as I did. Go ahead with your knee replacement, so that once recovery is over you can get back to enjoying a full life again.

I'll add your name to the October Feisties surgery list.
 

Roy Gardiner

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To be honest, I am truly scared and wondering if I am making the right decision
I was a mumbling terrified wreck. The surgery still worked :)
Should I just suck it up and deal with the pain and the limitations that it has on my life or should I just “go for it” and get it done???
Pre-op pain is bad, crippling, horrible, demoralising, and only gets worse. Post-op is bad, too, except that all it does is to get better.

Do you want 10 years in pain, followed by a year's recovery? Or just a year's recovery?
 

Tykey

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Hi. You asked if anyone was 100% sure.

For my first one, I was 120% sure, and I nagged and nagged the doc regularly.
I was recovered (back to doing everything I wanted, walking not running, in 6 weeks. I was totally fed up of being in pain, and highly restricted. As it turned out, it was one of the best decisions in my life, I was mere sapling of 61 at the time.
Now roll forward through 10 years of pain free active life, and my other knee collapsed, and I spent many months in the same pain and restriction. This time I was 200% sure,
It's now 6 weeks after my op, and I'm now out, again doing everything I want.

I, and many folk on here expect, don't know why I recover so quickly, assume it will take a bit longer. I do it the famous Bonesmart way to recovery, but I suspect my surgeon has a lot to do with it. Used the same one both times.

Not one, single, solitary regret gets within a million miles of my thoughts.
You aren't too young, you can now assume it will last at least 25 years, and then get it repaired.
Just do it
 

pamsknees

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I could almost have written the same post you did - I am bone on bone, but can still walk & function at work. I can’t do things that I want though, like ride a bike, go hiking, walk my dog, walk around a store. My appt with surgeon is in Nov & I’m going to schedule my knee replacement then. It really hit me how much it’s impacting me when I went to a store to buy new dress slacks & ended up going back out of the store to sit in my truck, in the parking lot & shop online on my phone.
 

Hoppy Nanny

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I’m only just 10 days out from TKR and had the same thoughts as you beforehand... but I can tell you that when your life gets so narrow.. when you stop going out... when you turn every invitation down... because of pain... it’s time!!!! Recovery is not a walk in the park but it gets better & you will end up getting your life back!

Stay on here & read up... lots of info & support.. take care xx
 
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Cat_Girl

Cat_Girl

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Thank you so much to everyone for the encouraging words. I know that if I change my mind I will regret it. It’s time for me to get my life back.
 

InkedMarie

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It certainly sounds to me that you’re ready. To answer the question in the title, no, you do not have to be bone on bone in order to have a TKR.
 

Celle

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You've made the right decision.
I'm looking forward to following your progress through recovery.
 
OP
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Cat_Girl

Cat_Girl

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Thank you so much for your support. It seems at times to be difficult to find people that support my decision.
 

Sara61

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After 5 years of having pain in my left knee ( mainly winter months) and like you exhausting every option my doctor suggested I had a knee replacement although at 58 some doctors felt I was too young my surgeon was the opinion it's better to have 5-15 good years then to be in pain and wait.
The months leading to my operation ( I was operated 16 days ago) I was pain free (summer time) and considered cancelling surgery but knowing that in a few short months I would be back in pain. And it would just get worse year after year.
I'm 16 days post op - its been hard, it did and does hurt but I know soon it will be a thing of the past and I will be able to have a normal fun life again.
My opinion is we only live once so lets enjoy it :)
Looking forward to following your journey- Good luck xx
 

tlfiore

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@Cat_Girl looks like you and I have the same surgery date, October 30, 2019. I can tell you I am an absolute nervous anxious wreck as the surgery date approaches. I'm down to my last final tidbits of preparation.

Last Saturday, I woke with such fear & apprehension, I put in a call to my OS to discuss postponing the surgery date. After discussing with my husband how my life has slowly become compromised (as well as his) over the past several years due to my knee woes (and his stress to help/assist me), I decided I needed to push through my fears and have both knees done ASAP, first the right TKR on the 30th, hopefully, the left TKR come Spring 2020. I think if you've come this far with a scheduled date and you are out here on BoneSmart seeking advice & support, you are likely in a lot of physical discomfort and the time has come for you to have the surgery.

Hopefully, you and I can support one another through this. Also, the folks out here are wonderful! I know I"ll be out here a lot.
 
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Cat_Girl

Cat_Girl

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May I ask how old you are? I am 51.
 

Billhart46

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I am in a little different place. While the x-rays show BOB I have little pain. But I have a number of bone spurs and x-rays look real ugly. So at my age no problem I have problems get a TKR.

But the reasons I am doing it now is that my knee is bowing which is affecting my back and hips. Also my PT tells me that now I am strong and have good range of motion. And both with recovery. If I wait until I start losing ROM it will be harder to recovery and might not completely recover.

Both of the surgeons that I talked to said that I don't have to do it now, but that there is no reason not to do it now. And that it just get worse the longer that I wait.

So surgery on Nov 12.
 

Sara61

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The operation itself is painless the majority of the surgeons prefer giving the Epidural as opposed to general anaesthetic I wanted general but actually had the Epidural to be honest you don't feel anything they also must have given me drowsy pills as it seemed very fast. Recovery time is super fast I was having a cup of tea about 30 minutes after x
@tlfiore - So don't be afraid :) the after op pain in hospital is minimal too as you are for the 1st couple of days heavily medicated. I stayed in hospital for 3 nights was allowed home on the 4th day after proving I was capable of managing a flight of stairs and walk several lengths of a corridor.
It's nice to get home afterwards
I' m 17 days post op and can honestly say it does gets better everyday and you will have pain ( this you can control with ice /elevate and pain meds ) and the odd sleepless night but I use this time to read up on BoneSmart etc.
I'm 58 years old :)
Wishing you both a successful journey with your new knee xxx
 

luvcats

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The first surgeon I saw told me I was too young and too fat and not a candidate and sent me to a pain specialist. And for the next 5 years I tried most of the palliatives while my pain got worse and worse and my life got smaller and smaller. No more walking, no more shopping in person unless they had a convenience cart. Every vacation had to be planned more around what I couldn't do than what would be fun and relaxing. Years of my life I can't get back. If the pain is wrecking your life, then it's time. I'm 50.
 

Tykey

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I'll be blunt, but I was 61 when I had my first TKR. Assuming it lasted only 15 years (a pessimistic view) I'd be 76, and there were reasonable odds that something major would come along to spoil it (or sent me for an early dirt nap).
As it turned out I had both a large tumour in my head and prostate cancer. I'm still here and will be for a long time hopefully. But I've lived a full and happy last 10 years. I can't imagine getting through it whilst being virtually inactive.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
 

Helizabug

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At first, I, in my absurdly infinite wisdom (she says sarcastically and pompously), was going to suggest that you wait BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I HAVE DONE . . .and it was sooooo wrong. For me, it was wrong to wait as long as I have, and I am still very functional. Walking lots. Working out. Pain free for long stretches of the day. Only considering a cane a few times a day.

What the heck was I thinking! Plenty of people, older than me, loads of them, go long stretches of their LIVES pain free in their knee. People by the millions never wonder if they would feel better walking on a cane. I have been waiting and waiting, ever hopeful, for my left knee to feel better and it has been so discouraging to think I couldn’t make it better by myself.

So here I am, 100 percent sure about this surgery. Not because of my ‘absurdly infinite wisdom,’ but because I finally understand how this poor knee has been crying out for help for years. And because I need to do the things I love without associating so much suffering with them.
 

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