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TKR What finally made you decide to have a knee replacement?

chimaek

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I'm 44 with severe osteoarthritis in my right knee. Two doctors have said that I should wait as long as possible to have a replacement but one is willing to do the surgery. I've been told that if I was 10-15 years older they would definitely recommend replacement due to the condition of my knee. The only hesitation now is my age. So my question is, what was the end point for you? When did you say to yourself I have to get a knee replacement?
 

Pumpkln

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@chimaek,
Welcome to BoneSmart, glad you joined us! :welome:
We were leaving for a cruise, woke up that morning to head to the airport, and could not walk without support.
Grabbed my crutches, went on the cruise. When we had cell service I called my surgeon and scheduled an appointment.
He gave me a cortisone shot, worked OK, had my knee replaced 3 months later.

You are not too young for a TKR, you are too young to have your life limited by your knee, you are too young to live with arthritis pain, you are too young to be old before your time because of your knee.

Take the score sheet below, so both you and your surgeon can see just how limited your life has become.

New BoneSmart members like you are in various stages of their journey to joint replacement. 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
 

FCBayern

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I had known I would need a knee replacement when I was 45 and was told to try and hold out to 60 @chimaek. In the end I did, but I regret that very much now. I basically gave up truly living life in the last 10 years before replacement. Now I can do all the things I gave up and realize I could have been living this way all along if I'd had TKR sooner. With the current replacements expected to last 30 years or more I would say live your life now with a shiny new knee.
 

Celle

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I was a victim of the "You're too young" syndrome. I knew at 49 that I needed a knee replacement, but I was told to wait until I was 60. I didn't know any different back then, so I tried to do as I was told.

Gradually, I became less and less mobile, I made adjustments to my activity, and my life grew smaller and smaller, until I was almost housebound.

I had two arthroscopies to try and remove broken cartilage from my knee - two surgeries I now consider unnecessary.

Finally, when I was 59, I told my surgeon "I can't do this any longer. I have reached my limit. I need a new knee now."
I had that knee replacement and it gave me back the life I had been missing for so long.

I wish I had pushed for surgery much earlier, as my knee had continued to deteriorate while I was waiting to be "old enough" and that made for a difficult recovery.

When my other knee needed replacing, I had it done as soon as possible and I had a much easier recovery.
 

GiantFinnegan

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I am the same age as you. My knee dr is also not super happy about doing knee replacements (I need both done) on me at this age, but as I told him, it is significantly impacting my quality of life. I can't do the things I want to do, like hiking and camping. I can also barely do the things I need to do, like walking up and down the stairs, and walking my dog around the block.

I told him I'm not willing to live like this for 10+ years. It already makes me sad, I don't want to end up depressed at being close to disabled.
 

Celle

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Keep insisting that you need your knee replacement, @GiantFinnegan .
Surgeons should look at the state of your knee, not your birth date, when they decide whether or not to do a knee replacement.

With knee replacements now able to last for 30 years or more, there is no need to fear needing multiple revisions if you have a replacement when you're younger.

We have had people in their twenties, thirties, forties and older, and even some in their teens who have had knee replacements.

These are the only ways in which you are "too young" to have a knee replacement:
  • You are too young to be living your life in constant pain.
  • You are too young to have your mobility so badly compromised.
  • You are too young to be giving up the lifestyle you enjoy.
  • You are too young feel so old.
 

GiantFinnegan

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Thanks @Celle I should have ended that post by mentioning that I finally have the first one scheduled for May 17th. It took a lot of insisting, though!

So I'd say for @chimaek 's question, my end point was realizing that I didn't want my quality of life to be garbage for 10-15 years while I waited around to be "old enough"!
 
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kneeper

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I had my first replacement in my late 40s. My surgeon usually doesn't like to do them on people that young but the condition of my knee was bad enough that he recommended it. I could have hugged him. He was very honest that I might need a revision at some point in my life but said there was a good chance it could last 20 or more years.

I'd encourage you to take a look at the score chart that was posted by pumpkln. Not only does it help you see where you are but can help you explain your challenges to your doctor.
 

SusieShoes

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My knees, both of them, needed replacement for several years before I made the decision. My knee doctor (not a surgeon) told me they needed it, but he also said the most absolute true words about this: "You will know when you're ready."

The knees were ready. More than bad enough. But I wasn't. Surgery is a serious call. So I did everything to drag out what utility I could from my original issue knees.

One day it just hit me. I couldn't go up or down stairs, even one at a time, without agony. I couldn't walk more than half a block, or stand in one place for even a few minutes. Just getting onto my feet HURT, it hurt so much I whimpered, or cried. Even lying in bed hurt. And I just wanted to stop hurting. I wept in my husband's arms and said, "I can't do this any more."

I scheduled with an orthopedic surgeon the next.

If you're ready for this surgery, you know. If your knee(s) is telling you it's at the end of its road, find a surgeon who will put it (and you) out of its misery.
 

Muscleflex

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I just had bilateral PKR in December (had just turned 41 at the time). I spent the last 10 years being told that a replacement is all that would help me, but that I was "far too young" for that. It took me literally a decade of seeing other doctors and trying other treatments to finally get the replacement that I needed.

To me it should be about quality of life, as I've been saying for a decade, I'd rather enjoy these years of my life (say ages 30-60) than have to suffer for decades to be able to enjoy ages 60-90 instead. I'm glad I finally found a doctor who would listen to that!
 

lovetocookandsew

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Spending years and years of your life in pain and unable to live your life to the fullest, is not a good thing. Think of all the living you'll miss out on while you wait until some magic age where the doctor thinks you're "old enough". This thinking, IMO, was maybe a little valid back when implants had very short lives. But the implants of today last 20, 30 years, or longer sometimes, so that argument is no longer valid. Think of all you can do for the next 10-15 years with no more knee pain or severe limits, and even if you need a revision after 20 years, you've taken your life back now and were able to live it again.

Otherwise you won't be able to live a full life for the next 10-15 years, and it will likely become more and more limited, and you'll likely be in more and more pain. The pain of a bad knee will not improve; it will get worse and worse, while a repaired knee will hurt at first from surgery, but that pain will improve and disappear. The quality of life you want now is totally your decision; if you decide that you've had it and want your life back, then find a doctor who looks at the level of damage, the pain you're in, and your quality of life, and bases his decision on that and not on your age.

If missing out on life until you're a senior citizen is okay with you, then wait until you hit the magic age. If not, and you're life is too limited now, then look for a surgeon who does TKRs based on the above criteria. It's your life and 100% your decision.
 

Sara61

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Here in Portugal usually they would only consider you for knee replacements if you were in the 60-70 age group, fortunately I found a "modern surgeon " whom attitude is enjoy your life whilst you are young and able. I had suffered a severe riding accident a few years ago which damaged both knee caps, both healed, but as I got older arthritis set in and it got to the stage that I was unable to walk and when I did walk it left me in agony for hours after, I missed out on hiking trips, walking the dogs etc. So in 2019 my left knee was replaced, As bilateral are very rare here, I'm now on a waiting list to have the right one done as although I have a perfect pain free left knee , my right is giving me the exactly same grief the left did 2 years ago.
My opinion do it and get your life back in so looking forward to two painless, strong walkable knees xx
 

Tykey

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My decision was taken when I was 61, when I walked up the many steps to the old Abbey on top of the cliffs at Whitby, in Yorkshire, the one famous as a home of Dracula. Actually, it was on the way down again, I was almost on my hands and knees! I remember my thoughts, "I've had enough of this!!"
As soon as I reached the bottom step, I phoned and made an appointment with the GP.
Since then I have had 2 life threatening problems,both sorted, and my new thoughts at the time were "even if this finishes me off, I've been able to do everything I've wanted to do, except limbo dancing" . No regrets.
 

Emelbee21

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I have been dealing with bad knees since I was about 36. I have done the injections, the gel and the cortisone off and on for many years. Both of my knees are bone on bone and my doctors have said I was end stage OA. I am 49 years old, and they finally have scheduled my surgery for April 1. Yay! I will be having my left knee replaced first. I am a bit nervous some but, I am also ready to hopefully and prayerfully be able to do things that I haven’t been able to do for so many years. The pain in my left knee is worse than my right so I decided to get that one done first. I’m so glad I found this place. Thanks in advance for reading my post! Any and all advice, comments, etc is appreciated. ☺
 

BBCG

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Good for you, Emelbee! I had my first done 5 years ago, and I knew when it was time the day my knee gave out in the middle of yoga class! (Yes; very awkward!) I sat there on my mat, in severe pain, until class ended then called my husband to bring the crutches! So, he left them in the car, but had to go get them because I could not walk!

That was my left knee that gave out first. I always intended to have the right done the next year, but, due to my husband dealing with cancer, massive infections, blood pressure stuff then leukemia, here 5 years has gone by. My surgeon told me this right knee was worse then the left, so he was confused, thinking the right was to be done then. But that knee worked... then! Now it’s mainly a stick! No weight bearing bent, period!
 

Emelbee21

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Awe. I’m sorry to hear about your husbands troubles and your knee troubles. I hope y’all get better. I am exactly 1 week away and feeling a bit excite-nervous lol. My knees have been so painful lately with the change of weather. I’m ready to get it over with and start recovering.
 

BBCG

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Yes, I think a cross between excitement and nervousness is probably normal! The excitement is knowing you can see the end of the tunnel to getting back to doing what you want in life! The nervousness is not yet knowing the trials as you move through the tunnel! I’m in pain 24/7, and the knee issues have been limiting my life for about 12 years so I’m really ready to be done; I’m “over” it limiting me!!
 

newlybionic

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I damaged my first knee when I was 17. I had no doctor take care of me. Kept playing college basketball (no physical trainer for ‘the girls’ team). Injury again 5 years later to the same knee. Wore out the other knee since I kept the same level of activity. In my thirties I had 2 knee arthroscopic surgery on the same knee. I had gel injections, steroid injections and still continued in pain. I was told at age 50 I definitely need both knees replaced. Stupidly I listened to that surgeon who said not to 60 years old. I wasted 10 years of my life. Told at 60 I could have surgery.

I think they tell everyone that because they don’t want to have people needing a revision of a knee which wore out. In my case I’ve already had revisions on both knees for different reasons.
 
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chimaek

chimaek

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I had known I would need a knee replacement when I was 45 and was told to try and hold out to 60 @chimaek. In the end I did, but I regret that very much now. I basically gave up truly living life in the last 10 years before replacement. Now I can do all the things I gave up and realize I could have been living this way all along if I'd had TKR sooner. With the current replacements expected to last 30 years or more I would say live your life now with a shiny new knee.
Thank you for the information. This is one the the things I'm concerned about. I know I won't run again but I want to be able to hike, walk, bike and sleep without pain.
 

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