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TKR Introducing Myself/Potential TKR

TKRat45

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Hello all,

I just came across this forum and it was exactly what I was looking for in terms of finding advice and support regarding knee injuries and TKR. I thought I would post a thread and introduce myself (I hope that is ok). I am currently 44 and was advised by my Doctor last week that I likely need a total knee replacement. I have been referred to a surgeon but have been told that it will likely be 6 months or more before I get the call to go see him.

The background to my injury is that I used to be a long distance runner (ultra marathoner) until one day I was hit by a car while out riding my bike. That was 8 years ago and resulted in soft tissue damage - primarily in my left knee. I continued to try and train and be active following the accident with moderate success, although with considerably less distance on my running.

About 8 months ago my trainer made an adjustment to my running stride and I felt my knee pop. After months of physio, active rehab, massage therapy and acupuncture I am still limping and my left hip is also starting to be affected. My Doctor sent me for an MRI and the results came back last week showing a complex meniscus tear and advanced osteoarthritis in my left knee.

My doctor has said that knee replacements are being done at younger ages all the time and advised that if I want to go back to being active (currently I have deteriorated to the point that I can only walk slowly for up to half an hour before swelling and pain causes me to have to stop and ice my knee) then this is my best course of action.

I have heard a lot of stories of surgeons not wanting to undertake knee replacements for people in their 40's - preferring to delay it as long as possible. My feeling is that if I am going to need one no matter what (which my Doctor has indicated that I will) then I would rather have it sooner than later so that I can go back to a normal quality of life. Before this happened I was running less but still an avid hiker and enjoyed daily workouts in the gym. Currently I can't run 5 steps to try and catch a crossing light without significant pain.

Does anyone have any advice on advocating for myself to be able to have the surgery sooner than later?

Thanks all!
 

Jaycey

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@TKRat45 Welcome to BoneSmart!
I have heard a lot of stories of surgeons not wanting to undertake knee replacements for people in their 40's - preferring to delay it as long as possible.
This is very old school thinking. Your surgeon is right, joint replacement for younger patients is increasing. And I totally agree with you about getting this done ASAP so you can get on with living again. Even if you can't run marathons again there is lots of hiking, biking and active living to do. Go for it!
 

Helizabug

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If your knee isn’t responding to other treatments, it probably won’t improve by waiting either. Lots of time to enjoy what you love, so I wouldn’t waste it waiting for your knee to get a lot worse. That’s my amateur advice.
 

Julia1911

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I try to be active as well, but stopped running years ago after several other joint surgeries, including back and feet. My sister continued to run after foot problems, including marathons and is up to #14 foot surgeries at this point. She finally stopped running.

The only thing I have been told by the docs I interviewed is NO high impact activities with the new knee -- like running. Cycling, weight lifting, etc. are OK. So, that is a consideration in your case if you can't stop running.
 

clarksvilleal

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Hello TKRat45,

I'm new to the forum, but I can relate to your hope of delaying surgery as long as possible.

My case is very different than yours. I am older, with OA in both knees, periodic bouts of pain, though fortunately not in constant pain. But I'm trying a self-directed exercise and strength building program to try and strengthen the muscles around my knees. (See my other post in this forum for more details on my own program). So far it seems to be working.

When I do have a bout of pain it is less severe and goes away much more quickly, though I also may scale back my exercise routine a little when that happens, to avoid triggering it again. The jury is still out, but I'm planning to keep going with this program for at least a year before making a decision on the TKR recommendation from my Orthopedist. I also have an appointment scheduled in a couple of weeks with a different Orthopedist for a 2nd opinion. And I may ask my original orthopedist to do another X-ray study in 6 months or a year to see if the joint spacing is stabilized or getting worse, just to be safe.

Good luck with your own situation, TK. I hope you can get it resolved without surgery.

Al
 
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moondove

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I have been in that boat. Here in our smaller town, I couldn’t find a surgeon wiling to do my replacements as I am young. Finally found someone in the larger town near me and I’m scheduled for March for my first knee. I’m 40. Doc said there’s no way around it - my knees need replacing. I told him I’d rather have them now to be active with my kids and family and he agrees.
 

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