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Advice for a total knee replacement

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Netmonkey, Jan 25, 2023.

  1. Jan 25, 2023 at 6:36 AM
    #1
    Netmonkey

    Netmonkey [OP] Don't be a Dumbass

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    Hey guys, I am looking for some advice...

    About 25 years ago, I had a mountain biking accident and I broke my left knee cap into 3 pieces. It was repaired and, within a year, I was at 100% and back to mountain biking. Well, now that I am 51, the knee is not doing so great. I have lost all the cartilage under the knee cap (it is bone on bone and you can hear grinding and popping as I bend my knee), the cartilage between the femur and the tibia is down to about 2mm, and there is a massive bone growth off the knee cap where it was fractured (it is about the 1/3 the size of the knee cap). All of this is limiting my activity. I lift weights for my upper body, but I cannot do any leg lifts or squats for my lower body; the pain is too much. For a number of years, I have been riding a Peleton for my lower body, but now, the pain in my knee is too much to keep that exercise going. Sitting, standing, and walking is fine; there is no pain, but I am finding that the leg muscles are atrophying and I am less stable on that leg. I have tried a round of knee injections (Euflexxa) and I think it mildly helped, but it is not a long term solution.

    I saw an orthopedic surgeon yesterday and, after looking at my xrays, he was surprised that I was walking unassisted and without pain. He said that most people with the damage that I have are using walkers, crutches, or braces. He did say that I still have good muscle tone on my left leg (because I walk and stretch everyday), but once that cartilage wears away, I will be in severe pain. He figured maybe a year or so. His recommendation was to have a total knee replacement. He is 61 and he had his knee replaced at 57. He told me about his experience with the surgery and said that he is glad that he did the surgery earlier in his life than waiting until he was in his 70's. He is clearly very active and is very fit. After thinking about it, I would like to be that active again.

    So, who has had a total knee replacement? Can you talk about your experiences with it? How long was your recovery? Did you have a hospital stay or was it outpatient? What made you finally decide to do it? What questions should I ask if/when I decide to do it? What kind of physical therapy did you go through after the surgery? Any other advice?

    Thanks,
     
    1lowlife likes this.
  2. Jan 25, 2023 at 6:42 AM
    #2
    Wallygator

    Wallygator Well Zippedy Da Do!

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    Following this cuz I am in a similar situation.
     
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  3. Jan 25, 2023 at 6:58 AM
    #3
    Retired...finally

    Retired...finally Utilizing that doctorate of procrastinatory arts

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    My wife had both knees done with half knees 20 yrs ago at 46. She spent 5 days in the hospital. 5 years ago the Surgeon that did tbe work checked her knees and said there was no sign of wear and removed all restrictions says she could run and jump with the rest of us. When the bilateral unicondular knees were done we were told they would last 5 years.

    This past December my 75 yr old neighbor had a whole knee done and was home that same afternoon.

    Physical therapy involves restoration of movement and releaning muscle memory. My wife was unable to bend her knees back past 90 degrees at first. I bought her a big excercise ball and she would sit on that and gently bounce up and down bending her knees while doing so. Every day I would reduce the amount of air very slightly to let her bend even further. She eventually recovered almost all her movement even though much of her movement was lost due to previous knee surgery due to torn meniscus.

    Watch the pain meds. She was prescribed oxycontin for five days. I took the last 4 pills and cut them in half to ween her off. The Surgeon approved of this and it did help.
     
  4. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:04 AM
    #4
    RetiredTundra

    RetiredTundra New Member

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    Can't vouch for a knee replacement, but I had a total hip replacement in August. 5 out of 5 stars. Quick recovery and I'm better than I've been in years. I had done weeks of physical therapy (my wife is a partner in 2 clinics so it cost me zero) and my hip muscles were very strong going in. Sounds like you'll be the same. I hear knee recovery is harder than hip recovery, but for what it's worth I think the mobility gained is well worth it.
     
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  5. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:23 AM
    #5
    Nbab23

    Nbab23 New Member

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    I have not had one, but I do work in the medical field where my previous role I used to outreach to individuals pre and post-op that had major joint replacements done. We would call, make sure they knew what to expect from the procedure prior to surgery and then call after they got home to make sure they had everything they needed so I'll try to answer some of your questions.
    It is typically done inpatient with a 1 day stay. (2 if your pain was not well controlled or if there were other issues). The big thing as far as recovery goes, is everyone is different. Typically PT starts at the most a week after your surgery (varies by surgeon preference) and lasts at least 4 weeks but can go well beyond that (8-12 weeks) depending upon progress. Usually its a more intense PT so make sure you take your pain medication just before you go to PT so you can tolerate it well. The good news is if you have a fair amount of leg muscle mass you typically recover more quickly, the bad news is it can be more painful early on.

    Typically at about 12 weeks you are feeling much improved, and then true full recovery is closer to a year, but if all goes well after that 12 weeks you'll be feeling pretty good. I will say of the many people I spoke to, once they were beyond that 3 months mark and the pain of the surgery was well behind them, they all were very happy and a common thing they said is "I should have done this sooner" because their level of function was so much higher and I think that is ultimately what drove them to do it.

    As far as questions to ask a surgeon, the one's you actually put here are excellent (recovery time, PT, inpatient stay). Also ask the type/brand of knee hardware they will be using as there are many different brands with different functions depending upon your activity level (stryker is a common and well liked one by surgeons that seems to have good longevity). Because of your age too, ask about the life of the replacement hardware. Some types are thought to last longer than others so you have to think about what age you may be if you need a revision surgery.
    Lastly, if you dont have a surgeon picked out yet, I would do your research, not only online but when you go to the offices, ask the nurses about the Dr. you are seeing and if they would let him/her do their joint replacement. The nurses are often a good source of honest feedback as they see the patient's after surgery and will note if they are developing infections or having other issues post op with certain surgeons. Just like any profession, you have people that are good at their job and other's not quite as good. Some surgeon's have a great bedside manner, so their patient's love them, but don't necessarily do the best work. I always said I'd take the surgeon that's a total a-hole if he does great work although there definitely are some that are great in both respects.
     
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  6. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:30 AM
    #6
    iantung

    iantung So much mod, so little money

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    I have fractured (and mended) my left knee cap when I was in my early 20s. For the first 10 years, can't really run on it, even now, taking it easy is the trick.
    I would say though, see if you can get a 2nd doctor to take a look at you and see if their diagnosis are the same or at least similar. Not saying to to not trust the first doctor, but when something this big, I rather talk to a few different doctors to "cross-check" that I am being given the most accurate information to make a big decision.
    My 70 year old mother just had a hip replacement surgery, and she's not taking it too well, being older and all that, but overall, in good spirit as she loves to talk to my two daughters over the phone.

    If you decided to do the surgery, I wish you the best in the procedure as well as the recovery. Treat it like you treat your Tundra, you deserve it and you need it.
     
  7. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:31 AM
    #7
    Retired...finally

    Retired...finally Utilizing that doctorate of procrastinatory arts

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    Excellent advise in all respects.
     
    2mchfun, 1lowlife and Nbab23[QUOTED] like this.
  8. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:42 AM
    #8
    1lowlife

    1lowlife Toxic prick and pavement princess..

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    I know a few people that have gone thru knee replacement.
    They say it's one of the best things they ever did.
    They said it won't seem like it was a good idea after the first month, but as long as one does their physical therapy as they should, everything should heal nicely.

    I'm 60 and my knees have been bone on bone for years, as well as my shoulders.
    They both snap crackle and pop as I do my daily activities, but they don't HURT that much.
    I will eventually need both knees replaced, and maybe my right shoulder, but my doctors keep telling me I'm too young and to put it off as long as possible.

    When the aching got to be too much, I did 6 rounds of the knee gel injections, 6 months apart, thinking they helped, but in the end, they didn't.
    I think it was more psychological for me to want the gel to help.

    What does help is cortisone injections every 3 to 5 months.
    When my knees start to ache again, I go in for cortisone injections and they start to feel better in a day or 2.
    I stop doing the gel after starting the cortisone.
    The doc says as long as the injections work, we'll put off knee replacement...
    I get cortisone injections in my shoulders as well, they help a lot.

    What has really helped me the last 4 months is more exercise.
    I've been doing physical therapy for a back surgery I had in September.
    The PT has actually got me working out again in the garage.
    It's made my entire body feel better..:thumbsup:


    Good luck..
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023
  9. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:43 AM
    #9
    iantung

    iantung So much mod, so little money

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    Just don't start lifting the truck on a regular basis, ain't good for your back, just saying.....lol
     
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  10. Jan 25, 2023 at 7:47 AM
    #10
    2mchfun

    2mchfun Lead foot, left lane, loud stereo

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    @Badknees, might know a little about this.
     
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  11. Jan 25, 2023 at 9:00 AM
    #11
    SAGE63

    SAGE63 Wannabe Go Fast Overlander Small Rock Crawler

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    All the people I know who have done a whole or partial knee replacement have had no issues and they also say they should have done it sooner.... 5 guys and 1 woman.
     
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  12. Jan 25, 2023 at 9:04 AM
    #12
    mart1nezdaniel

    mart1nezdaniel AZ

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    Damn. I suddenly feel very young.
     
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  13. Jan 25, 2023 at 12:42 PM
    #13
    Kung

    Kung ^ likes to fart

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    And here I was fussing about the minor cartilage degradation on the back of my left kneecap. LOL

    BTW - make sure you workout your glutes/hips. I'm serious. I've had some ridiculous knee clicking and popping for months now. Though I would need surgery.

    Turns out my hips/glutes are kind of weak from the sides, from not working them out as much as they should have. Therapist lady said "Believe it or not, inside of 2-3 months it'll be like it never happened and you can do whatever you want."

    She was right - I'm not even 2 weeks into the exercises, and it's all but gone. :)
     
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  14. Jan 26, 2023 at 5:24 AM
    #14
    Badknees

    Badknees New Member

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    No work on the knees yet. I just like to complain.
     
  15. Jan 26, 2023 at 7:54 AM
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    RCwyoming

    RCwyoming New Member

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    My 86 year old father had a total knee replacement in august 2022. He went from limping badly to running circles around us. He’s back playing golf & walking all over the mountains for hunting season. He wishes he had done it sooner.
     
  16. Jan 26, 2023 at 8:02 AM
    #16
    iantung

    iantung So much mod, so little money

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    So from reading the above, group buy for total knee replacement?
     
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  17. Jan 26, 2023 at 8:14 AM
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    Retired...finally

    Retired...finally Utilizing that doctorate of procrastinatory arts

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    I'm only 66 and some days I feel like my body has 1/2 a millions miles and still on the original oil. Half afraid to go get it checked out for fear the Dr. will just total me and write a RX for the scrap yard. Yeah, I'm 20 pounds over my Bluegill fighting weight of 200 and my mind is too stoopid to understand I can't do things I did 40 yrs ago.

    I guess it a life of sipping Glenfiddich and smoking Hemingway Short Stories on the fishing pier for me.
     
  18. Jan 26, 2023 at 11:29 AM
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    WILLINH

    WILLINH New Member

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    I got my right knee replaced in Sept 2020. I went with Conformis ( look them up online) knee replacement. They do a scan from your hip to your ankle and send it out to be made for you, I went in Monday at 7 was home at 5. A therapist came to my home Tuesday and did several exercises and came back Thursday.I only took Advil and Tynol and one other pain medication, no hard meds. I started driving in 9 days and kept going to therapy for another 8 weeks.I did have a CPM machine (it bends your knee slowly) for a month this helps keep the scar tissue from forming. My knee in the morning still feels kinda tight, but after walking some it loosens right up. Conformas is made for you and not a knee replacement off the shelf. The best is no pain at all, it does not keep me up at night anymore! Let me know if you have any Questions. Back to work in 6 weeks. Hope this helps.
     
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