surgery or not?

Kirish

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Hello,
I'm struggling with deciding on a knee replacement or not. 62 years old, advid tennis player, hiker, other active lifestyle. Had a meniscus tear and surgery 10 years ago that set me on a pretty arthritic knee. Have really been able to use it without much pain until 3 months ago when trying pickleball. Something on that hard court made it so I have a very sharp lateral pain. I can walk pain free but any kind of sports activity or stairs is very painful and has pretty much shut me down. One dr. says no knee surgery until I'm ready for a wheelchair. Another says get it and get back to my active lifestyle. Anyone have any suggestions?
 
One dr. says no knee surgery until I'm ready for a wheelchair.
I would stay far away from this one!

Another says get it and get back to my active lifestyle
This is what most people do!

When you get it is up to you, it can be life changing!

However, keep in mind it is a long, slow recovery, as long as a year, for complete healing, though many people are feeling much better by 3 months. So, plan accordingly, when you have time to give your knee the time it needs to heal. Too often our medical teams give don't tell us what to expect, so we expect to be all healed quickly, and we try to do too much, too soon, and our healing knee rebels, which is frustrating for us. Also keep in mind that recovery is temporary, and it will allow us to get back to living life.

Take a look at some of the recovery threads on the Recovery Forum, and you’ll get an idea of the first couple of months of recovery.

Best Wishes!
 
Here’s some pre op information 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
 
Hello and Welcome to BoneSmart! Thanks for joining us.
I am sorry for the pain you're suffering both physically, and likely emotionally, as you weigh out the pros and cons of waiting on surgery. Not an easy decision for many, myself included.

One dr. says no knee surgery until I'm ready for a wheelchair.
It is difficult to imagine you dealing with the discomfort / pain and lack of mobility during that process of decline. Basically not able to live your life fully. You sound like a very active person, not used to limitations, or suffering needlessly.

Joint replacement surgery is one of the most prevalent surgeries performed worldwide. The outcomes of these surgeries have become excellent based on a number of techniques changing over the years. The implants are durable and long lasting, with longevity much greater than before offering an increase in the likelihood you’ll never have to experience this procedure again.

It is a big decision, no doubt, and it takes some longer than others to decide on joint replacement. I was told by others that experienced joint surgery, as well by my OS, that I'd know when the time was right...and I did. Once you're tired of the limitations a deteriorating joint poses with the understanding it will only get worse, it becomes clear which direction you're going in.

I wish you physical comfort and mental clarity as you move forward. Please know that we're here for support and encouragement whenever you're in need.
I hope you have a pleasant weekend!
 
The best perspective is somewhere between the 2 surgeons opinions. Waiting until you are in a wheelchair is not best because you would have had some degree of muscle weakening by then which would affect your recovery. To say have it and get back to your active lifestyle doesn't take into account the inherent risks of the procedure and although you can certainly be very active after a successful and healed knee replacement there are definitely some things I would avoid after I had a knee replaced like activities that require extreme jerking, twisting, jumping or weight lifting. You have to weigh the risks verses the current impact on your life and it's importance. My spouse had one that went well and one that had many surgeries and likely will result in an amputation and destroyed life as they knew it. The majority of people do well with the procedure but the decision to move forward with it should not be made lightly.
 
I think you will find most of us here vote for getting that knee replaced and getting on with living again. We have lots of pickleball fans here. Most get back to playing once that joint is healed.

I do not agree with the "wait for the wheelchair" doc. Waiting impacts too many other areas of your body meaning recovery is longer and more complicated.
 
Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my post! I should have also said that my xray and mri show arthritis and bone on bone laterally when bending forward. However the pain is only in one specific spot (feels like my lateral tibia?). It's a very sharp pain and not 'achy', doesn't ever swell. Does this sound like arthritic pain? I'm wondering if something else can be done? Afraid when any surgeon looks at the x-ray and mri they'll say 'no' to anything but a TKR. Does this type of pain sound like something that warrants a TKR? Thanks again everyone!
 
I should have also said that my xray and mri show arthritis and bone on bone laterally when bending forward.
Bone on bone indicates TKR is the only solution. Basically there is no cartilage left so the bones are grinding together, wearing away the joint. At this stage there is nothing to resolve this except TKR.
 
However the pain is only in one specific spot (feels like my lateral tibia?). It's a very sharp pain and not 'achy', doesn't ever swell.
That sounds very much like the situation that I'm in right now with my left knee. I can walk on level surfaces with no problem, but doing stairs or hilly ground causes localized pain. I have no external swelling. But my Xray shows that stage 4 arthritis (bone-on-bone) in the medial compartment. I am scheduled for a TKR next week.

As Jaycey says, once you are bone-on-bone, there really is no other treatment option. And your knee will not -- cannot-- get better. With my right knee, I waited too long: my knee collapsed and I couldn't walk without a cane. Even so, I made a full recovery and the right knee is doing amazingly well. That's why I'm getting my left knee done now, before it gets any worse.

I agree with the surgeon who says get it done and get back to your life!
 
Thank you for your input and best of luck to you next week! I'll be pulling for you and checking in with your progress:)
 
You have come to the right place to get info! For the most part it seems members on Bonesmart are happy with their decision to have joint replacement.

My symptoms were very similar to yours, lateral localized pain. My road to TKR started in 2015 with a knee injury including meniscal and lateral ligament tearing. Having always been a very active cyclist, undergoing 3 knee surgeries before my TKR became arduous as I slowly lost function and fitness. I believe the older you get the harder it is to recover from major surgery. The TKR recovery is definitely not an easy process and there is no sugar coating it but if I had to do it again, 1.5 years of recovery is a small price to pay to get your life back.

Talking to your family doctor, getting MRIs, x-rays and bone density scans will really give surgeons the information they need to give you the right options. Finding an experienced surgeon who has the ability or specialty to specifically tailor the TKR procedure to suit you is super important because there are many different styles of prosthesis.

@Kirish Good luck with your journey and if you decide to go ahead with knee replacement, we would love to see you back here.

:bicycle1:
 
Thank you all for the info! One more question (for now anyways :) :-) (:). Does anyone have experience of traveling out of state to get the TKR? I'm thin and have hypermobility. Would really like to find the best surgeon possible. Sounds like HSS and Dr. Mayman may be a place to explore but I live in FL?? Thoughts? Thanks again!
 
I'm a huge fan of HSS, @Kirish. Here are its locations in Florida:

  • HSS Florida
    300 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
    West Palm Beach, FL 33401
    561.657.4600
  • HSS Florida - Wellington
    1395 South State Road 7, Suite 410
    Wellington, FL 33414
    561.657.4600
COLLABORATION
  • HSS Palm Beach ASC
    300 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
    West Palm Beach, FL 33401
    561.725.4300
  • HSS at NCH
    1285 Creekside Boulevard East, Suite 102
    Naples, FL 34109
    239.624.1700
 
Hello,
I'm struggling with deciding on a knee replacement or not. 62 years old, advid tennis player, hiker, other active lifestyle. Had a meniscus tear and surgery 10 years ago that set me on a pretty arthritic knee. Have really been able to use it without much pain until 3 months ago when trying pickleball. Something on that hard court made it so I have a very sharp lateral pain. I can walk pain free but any kind of sports activity or stairs is very painful and has pretty much shut me down. One dr. says no knee surgery until I'm ready for a wheelchair. Another says get it and get back to my active lifestyle. Anyone have any suggestions?
I had great success in just a few weeks. Ice will be your best friend and you can’t over ice in my opinion. I did 4 weeks in Europe 6 weeks after surgery and took the ice machine with me. If you’re very active already, I think you will be motivated to do the therapy and exercises. I’m having my other knee done in February, just 6 months later and am not worried at all. The only downside for me was not being able to work on my knees but I was at that point anyway. Get it done.
 
Hi all, I'm 43, a lifelong athelete and former professional mountain biker. I've had 2 ACL surgeries and 3 meniscus on my left knee, 2 within the last year. 1 additional ACL on the other side but never any other issues there.
I now have an osteochondral defect that JUST started-no injury-but I now have stabbling pain making my very active life now nearly sedentary. I have surgery scheduled for the end of the month (OATS) but that is only 60%. My ACL is also degenerating, so that will need to be repaired too. And every time I ride hard now, I tear my meniscus. So I'm thinking since its inevitable anyway, why not just have the replacement now? My concern is that I have to-for my mental health-be able to ride mountain bikes (I ride hard downhill and hit big jumps) and lift heavy in the gym. I'm ok not running anymore, but those two are essential. Will I be able too? Yes I know I'll likely have to have a second replacement down the line. Anyone had successful surgeries as a younger athlete or with robotic?
 

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