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Old 01-04-2015, 10:03 AM   #1
LOVETHATMOUSE
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Knee replacements - any advice?

Well, it looks like I need a knee replacement sooner than later. I had my right hip replaced almost 10 years ago and due to my overcompensating for over 40+ years, my left knee has totally broken down- bone on bone. I finished a round of Orthosyvis (?) gel shots but they are not working at all. I REALLY don't want this surgery, but it looks like I have to. Any Disers out there have any advice? My hip replacement was a piece of cake, but I'm really scared about the knee.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:30 AM   #2
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my mom is a retired registered nurse of 40yrs. (she's 67yrs old)

she had her left knee replaced 8yrs ago and was back to work within the 6mos expected recovery time.

she retired a few years ago but her right knee had been continuing to get worse.
last time she went to disney world which was 2yrs ago she needed a wheel chair by the end of the second day.

she just got her right knee replaced in the first week of november.
she's now 9 weeks post op and went from a walker to cane and is now walking around the house without the cane half the time.

my advice would be to get it done sooner rather than later.
and i would highly recommend 2 weeks in an inpatient rehab to help the initial recovery process.
and just think within 6mos you will feel like a new person.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOVETHATMOUSE View Post
Well, it looks like I need a knee replacement sooner than later. I had my right hip replaced almost 10 years ago and due to my overcompensating for over 40+ years, my left knee has totally broken down- bone on bone. I finished a round of Orthosyvis (?) gel shots but they are not working at all. I REALLY don't want this surgery, but it looks like I have to. Any Disers out there have any advice? My hip replacement was a piece of cake, but I'm really scared about the knee.
Hope it works out for you. My only advice would be to not push it or try to do too much. I've had patients that bounce right back and others that take 9 months to lose the soreness.

Good luck.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:02 AM   #4
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I had it done in April. I do not regret it at all. Given that, you have to be really dedicated to doing all the prescribed PT. It is essential to get range of motion back and strength in the leg.

I was back to work in 2 months, a desk job but I should have taken a couple more weeks. It can't used PT for six weeks after going back to work and still do the stretching exercises. It still gets stiff on occasion.

Take what ever pain mess they tell you. The PT is impossible without them. Even then expect some pain.

Reply or PM me if you have questions. There is more to tell but I am keeping it short for now.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:04 AM   #5
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DH just had the Synvisc shot 2 weeks ago...I'm not holding out much promise. He REALLY needs a knee replacement but his doctor isn't keen on it and neither is our insurance company. He's only 41 and apparently "too young" for one (ie, they know they'll have to replace it again at 50 and likely again at 60)...but apparently not too young to be in agony on a daily basis.

He's had surgery on his knee 3 times in three years to try to clean it out, and now there's pretty much nothing left. Cortisone shots do nothing. The synvisc likely won't work either but even if it doesn't he'll have to wait 6 months for it to be absorbed completely before they could even consider surgery to fix/replace.

Ugh.

My dad had a replacement early last year and is doing fantastic!
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:26 AM   #6
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Make sure your FEET are in good shoes and if you have been putting off a trip to the podiatrist and pedorthist do that as well.

Get brand new custom orthotics for yourself once you have surgery. You need to walk as best as you can and your gait needs to change.

I know that sounds dumb but your feet are a part of the equation with healing.

My mom had 1 knee replaced a few yrs ago and then waited too long to get the other done.

She had a complication and had to have another surgery on her knee as it slipped.

She ignored her feet and now she is in pain from walking because of it. I am going to drag her out there and try and remedy it.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:45 AM   #7
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my db put it off for years. both of his knees were a mess-but one to a much greater extent.

this past spring he had the first knee done-insurance paid for a physical therapist to come to his home for the first couple of weeks, then he continued with p/t outside the home. it's been the difference between night and day-so much so that he had the other replaced (doctor confirmed it's need a few months after the 1st) a couple of months ago. it's been quality of life changing-he can't remember a time in recent decades when one or the other knee wasn't 'acting up'. db's life is horses and rodeos-his buddies have seen the positive change surgery has had on his life/performance so now there's a long line of them with appointments scheduled to get surgeries they were told they needed years ago.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:51 AM   #8
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It helps to do the post op PT moves BEFORE surgery. It made a world of difference with DH and was apparent in PT group that he was the only one who did it before as advised.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:02 PM   #9
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My mom had this done in July. She hadnt been able to walk for more than a year. First they did the torn meniscus surgery and then those shots neither of them worked. I was really worried about her having this surgery as she is in her late 70's overweight and high blood pressure. Im happy to say that although it has taken quite a while she is walking now without a cane. I know she is still in pain but it seems to have set the clock back 10 years and she is in such great spirits, like her old self. Good luck!!
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:40 PM   #10
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Grab a beverage and get comfortable. Fair warning- this may get long.

I had my knee replacement in late August.

I was a nurse for over 30 years, and cared for a fair number of joint replacements. But its a whole nuther story when you're on the other side of the bed covers. I had known for over 10 years that I needed to have it done, but just kept putting it off. Finally the pain, stiffness, and difficulty when traveling got to be too much.

My surgeon strongly recommended that I start PT preop, and I'm glad I did. Working on range of motion and building strength in my leg muscles really paid off after surgery.

The hospital stay went much better than I thought it would. Pain control was excellent and physio started the next day.I was discharged with a walker after 4 days and had a physiotherapist come to the house weekly for the first month.

Don't expect knee replacement to be as easy as a hip, though. You'll be needing that pain medication on a regular basis for quite a few weeks. Taking it an hour before your exercise sessions really helps. And doing those exercises 3 times a day for months gets old fast, but it is absolutely essential for a decent outcome. Oh, and get in a really good supply of laxative. This may seem like TMI, but the pain killers will make you really constipated. My Dr. prescribes them for every knee replacement patient.

Expect positively awful exhaustion for a couple of weeks. You will need someone to do the housework and groceries for you. And you won't be allowed to drive for quite a while. Sleep, eat, and do your exercises. Don't try to do too much too soon or you will only set yourself back. I learned this the hard way when I tried to walk to the end of the block after a month, and was on the couch with ice packs for a couple of days as a result.

Don't get discouraged. You will hit plateaus where you won't see any increase in your range of motion for a week or two, despite your best efforts. Just keep at it. Things do improve. Eventually the pain goes away. I haven't needed any pain meds for a couple of months now.

4 1/2 months later I'm back to my normal routine, only better. I do all of my normal activities. I still exercise daily, only not with a PT. I now go to a gym to do treadmill and muscle building. No more pain. No need for a cane, unless its slippery outside, or if I'll be on my feet for an extended period. And my range of motion is significantly better than it was before the surgery. When I saw the surgeon before Christmas for a regular check up, he was very pleased.

I know this was long, but I hope it helped you see what you might expect when you have it done. I hope your outcome is as good as mine.

Last edited by minnie mum; 01-04-2015 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:44 PM   #11
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My mom had it done and only regretted that she hadn't done it sooner. The recovery was much better than she thought it would be.

However, she was not as good at the follow up PT as she would have been and her range of motion is limited and gets more limited as the years go on. Do NOT skimp on the PT.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minnie mum View Post
Grab a beverage and get comfortable. Fair warning- this may get long.

I had my knee replacement in late August.

I was a nurse for over 30 years, and cared for a fair number of joint replacements. But its a whole nuther story when you're on the other side of the bed covers. I had known for over 10 years that I needed to have it done, but just kept putting it off. Finally the pain, stiffness, and difficulty when traveling got to be too much.

My surgeon strongly recommended that I start PT preop, and I'm glad I did. Working on range of motion and building strength in my leg muscles really paid off after surgery.

The hospital stay went much better than I thought it would. Pain control was excellent and physio started the next day.I was discharged with a walker after 4 days and had a physiotherapist come to the house weekly for the first month.

Don't expect knee replacement to be as easy as a hip, though. You'll be needing that pain medication on a regular basis for quite a few weeks. Taking it an hour before your exercise sessions really helps. And doing those exercises 3 times a day for months gets old fast, but it is absolutely essential for a decent outcome. Oh, and get in a really good supply of laxative. This may seem like TMI, but the pain killers will make you really constipated. My Dr. prescribes them for every knee replacement patient.

Expect positively awful exhaustion for a couple of weeks. You will need someone to do the housework and groceries for you. And you won't be allowed to drive for quite a while. Sleep, eat, and do your exercises. Don't try to do too much too soon or you will only set yourself back. I learned this the hard way when I tried to walk to the end of the block after a month, and was on the couch with ice packs for a couple of days as a result.

Don't get discouraged. You will hit plateaus where you won't see any increase in your range of motion for a week or two, despite your best efforts. Just keep at it. Things do improve. Eventually the pain goes away. I haven't needed any pain meds for a couple of months now.

4 1/2 months later I'm back to my normal routine, only better. I do all of my normal activities. I still exercise daily, only not with a PT. I now go to a gym to do treadmill and muscle building. No more pain. No need for a cane, unless its slippery outside, or if I'll be on my feet for an extended period. And my range of motion is significantly better than it was before the surgery. When I saw the surgeon before Christmas for a regular check up, he was very pleased.

I know this was long, but I hope it helped you see what you might expect when you have it done. I hope your outcome is as good as mine.

Excellent advice. It's everything I would have said. I second the laxative suggestion.
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Old 01-04-2015, 11:03 PM   #13
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I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I do feel I should offer this opinion...

My mother had knee replacement Dec 19. Since then it has been one complication after another. She didn't make good progress in the hospital, so she went to rehab. She did pretty well there, it was slow but she progressed well. Four days later she was re-admitted for extreme anemia. She stayed 3 days and got blood transfusions. They released her back to rehab on last Monday and on Tuesday evening she began screaming in pain. We had her transported back to the hospital and after waiting 4 days for the inflammation and swelling to subside, they re-opened her knee. She had a patellar tendon rupture. She has to keep the knee completely straight for 8 weeks. This is a serious injury and will take much longer for her to recover.

Now, I'll grant you her experience is not the usual one. Just about everyone I know who had knee replacement did well, as long as they were committed to the PT. My mom is 80yo and although she has some health conditions, she was deemed a good candidate for this surgery. It's too bad everything has gone so badly for her, but these are some of the unfortunate risks of knee surgery. And now she is beating herself up about it all, even though she did absolutely nothing to cause all these complications.

I just thought you might want to prepare yourself for the possibility of unwanted consequences. My mother did nothing to prepare. She didn't buy enough pet food. She didn't clean up her house or clear the paths (she's a hoarder.) She refused to even look at rehabs because she was convinced that she would go straight home. As a result, we had to choose a rehab facility from a list the hospital gave us, site unseen. She was high as a kite on pain meds and it was VERY hard to reason with her. Fortunately, we chose a good one but it could have easily gone badly. Still, she has been hospitalized or in rehab for the last 18 days and there is no end in sight.

My advice is to be prepared for all possibilities and hope for the best.
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel Tink View Post
It helps to do the post op PT moves BEFORE surgery. It made a world of difference with DH and was apparent in PT group that he was the only one who did it before as advised.
Totally agree! My mother is scheduled to have to knee replaced this quarter and she's been doing the exercises as well as riding a recumbent bike.

I had my knee replaced two years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. I work from home so I was back to work after 2 weeks. I didn't think the pain was bad at all; I only used Extra Strength Tylenol once I got home even though they gave me a prescription for something much stronger. Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:52 PM   #15
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I had both knees replaced 10 months ago and am very happy I did. However, for the first 3 weeks I was wondering if I did the right thing but it is very common to fell that way at first. I agree with others that getting ready for the surgery is key. I went to the gym to strengthen leg and arm muscles before the surgery. I also made sure my house was ready. I had grab bars in the shower installed as well as grab bars for the stairs since the railings weren't strong enough. I also got a shower chair as well as a toilet chair. The in home PT and OT were impressed that we thought of doing that. Plus, I still use the shower grab bars for safety. Be aware that after the surgery you can feel somewhat anxious and depressed but that is normal and goes away fairly quickly. Find a good PT in your area for outpatient PT. Follow all the exercises you are given to do and take pain meds on a regular schedule. Once you are in alot of pain it is hard to get on top of it again. Once the outpatient PT was done I went back to the gym to keep muscles strong. I asked the PT what to do at the gym and what not to do. So far, I am mostly pain free except for some stiffness in the morning and soreness if I overdo. I still do the stretching exercises every morning and that really feels good. Best wishes for a great outcome.
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