Regretting TKRs

Posted , 11 users are following.

I am a 53-year-old female.   I had my left (the worst one) knee replaced April 2016.  I had the right one done in October 2016.  I am very, very much regretting having the surgeries done.  I am going to be brutally honest, as I am in all aspects of my life.  I appreciate the opportunity to vent my frustrations here, but maybe I can help other people make their decisions about TKR.

I am about 80 lbs overweight.  However, I have carried the extra weight for a long time, and I am in good health and still  Yes, I would like to lose it and know that the weight led me to the place I was in regarding my knees.  Bad knees and arthritis run in the family.  My father had his left knee replaced (by the same surgeon a few years ago) and I have an aunt who had both knees replaced.  

I went through rehab after each surgery, and it was annoying and painful. I was told the rehab was successful although painful.  I am a very strong lady--always have been.  I remember going to a yard sale with my friend about a year before the first TKR and being able to shove a refrigerator up the stairs with just a bit of help.  I would strap my knees before I did anything like that because it did then and still does help now. That's a good tip. They are just elastic straps with Velcro. 

Here's the bottom line.  Yes, I was in pain when I walked, okay?  Now, though, it seems like I am still in pain when I walk or climb.  Plus, I can't effing climb the ladders with ease or walk up and down the stairs easily.  I cannot carry anything super heavy and climb or descend stairs.  It's just a different kind of pain from pre-TKR.  This really makes me furious!  I wish I had not had the surgeries.  In fact, before the second one, I called the surgeon's office a couple of times because I was still in a lot of pain and my movements were limited.  They said that my Xrays looked good on the left knee (post-TKR) and we thought that it was ultimately my weight or just the lack of time since the surgery that was probably the cause. There was nothing that would explain my complaints.  I even went to my rehab facility and they told me that I just needed to "rehab" the left knee a second time. So I decided to go forward with the right knee/my second TKR.

Before I decided to go the surgical route, the surgeon told me I was "bone on bone".  He said it was not surprising I was in pain when I walked.  He led me to believe that there was not much else to do other than a replacement, and that it was just delaying the inevitable. He even put cortisone injections in each knee that day, which did absolutely nothing.  I mentioned the Orthovisc, but he said the insurance company would have to be called to get approval and that it would take a bit of time.  I was in a hurry that day, so I agreed to the cortisone. 

Note: A couple of years before this visit with the surgeon I was living in another state. I had Orthovisc injections (I think that's what the rooster cartilage is called).  I had to pay some out of pocket in addition to insurance, but they did help quite a bit.  In retrospect, I wish I would have done other things such as that to help alleviate my pain instead of the surgery. I should have explored alternatives. My family members were also all pushing me to proceed with the TKRs because they saw me in pain all the time.  I guess at that point I decided that the doctor was right. Now I think he was just looking for another buck.  Okay, maybe I am just p****d off at myself and him.  

I am trying to lose the weight, and I do think there is evidence of some arthritis in my bones.  It certainly runs in the family.  It's been nice to vent.  I welcome any feedback.

Thanks.

 

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  • Posted

    That is really a shame about your lack of successes with knee replacement. I am surprised they did not work with you longer in alternatives at your age. I know I struggled during my 50's because they insisted I was too young. In hindsight here you are faced with these huge obstacles for which I sincerely feel for you. How I hated people attributing my pain to my weight but over the years I am 70 lbs lighter and it really helped. Sigh... Look at a Whole 30 eating plan. Not only did I lose weight but eliminated foods that caused inflammation. Big hugs on your journey.( I am a time TKR success story).

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  • Posted

    You did the right thing and ANYONE on here who have had bilateral TKRs are heroes in our book.

    Yes, the weight is an issue that causes extra stress on the knees.  Need to address that plus good hydration.  If the PT work gave you your ROM back (0 / +120 or close) then that's half the battle.  It sounds like you need to rebuild the strength in your atrophied quads, glutes and core to support the new hardware.  A program to do that could take 6 months of diligent work...it's not easy.  Right now, your knees are doing all the work while it should be done by the surrounding muscles...

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/post-tkr-exercising-565527

    This is a complete program.  If it's not possible, start with something and increase gradually.  You need to regain all that strength you lost.

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      I have a weight bench here.  I haven't used it yet, my son does.  But I have done a lot of lifting in my past and thought I might start using the leg attachment.  Do you think I should?  Some leg curls, etc.

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  • Posted

    I would have though as the weight comes up you would continue to get improvement with time.

    Where you disabled before the surgery, i.e. limited in how far you could walk, using a cane, and experiencing your life narrowing down as a result of lack of mobility? Did you get woken at night because of pain and did you suffer for few years?

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    • Posted

      NO to all those questions except for extensive walking.  I never used a cane, and I still did a lot of physical work as I am married to a disabled USMC Vet.  No waking at night until I had TKRs, lol.  
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    • Posted

      Sounds like it will take time for benefits to be felt then, as not so dramatic before op. I am sure with exercising and time, as you get stronger, you may feel more positive. Maybe you had not got quite to the point of desperation many people are at...I can get that you have feelings of regret. However, it is done now..so I guess a matter of just working as hard as you can to get those legs as good as they can be. Best wishes...it,s not easy.
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  • Posted

    Hi sweetpea. I know and understand your frustration. I've added 7 kgs to my new knees and guess what? Pain and discomfort. I am not obese. But I need to lose 10kgs. I know how great my knees were when I was slim, after the opiate medication stopped me eating very much.

    We have a goal my friend. It's for our future.

    The weight MUST come off and can not be ignored or put on hold. You will feel much better.

    There is no alternative to TKR right now for folks with minimal or no cartilage. I consulted many medicos, a scientist and a lab rat about stem cell therapy. It's not yet viable. It will be though.

    Be grateful, you can get around and know that people care and wish you were in a better place. You are not alone. We gotta keep prevailing and be active and live with what we have. Hugs from Sydney.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear you are struggling after your TKRs.

    ?Not everyone recovers at the same rate and sadly some are left with issues and pain. Not what we hope for. I'm only 4 months post op and everyone tells me things will continue to improve but I seem to be very slow compared to most, though I had to reset my recovery time somewhat due to a manipulation at 10 weeks for scar tissue and poor bend (although I did all the exercises, my pain and swelling was bad and made it difficult).

    ?I hear many people say their arthritic pain had gone after surgery but I'm also thinking it was replaced with worse symptoms so far. I have not seen the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, maybe a few chinks of light on a good day now.

    I met a woman in hospital aged over 80 having had both hips and on 2nd knee replacement. She was a heavy person and had various illness but made a marvellous recovery. A friend has had to have her hip replacement revised as it kept causing issues, but she is slim and fit. So luck seems to be involved too.

    ?There is great advice and support on here and the posters replies to you are very wise. Hope things can change for the better for you, LadyMacBeth.

    ?

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  • Posted

    I feel your pain. I had tkr July 2016, and had to have revision surgery January 2017. Ain't no way in h e double hockey sticks

    Will I have the other knee done. It would have to cause excruciating pain, causing me to pass out first. I'm six months post op and I'm still

    Not consistently have ROM over 100. Think a million times before getting a tkr.

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    • Posted

      My husband reminds me that I was in a lot of pain pre-surgery...just a different kind.  Bone on bone kind.  Also, I have the damned clicking every time either knee moves when I walk.  That's fun...lol.

      Still, we cannot give up.  I am going on a diet and plan to start using my weights and recumbent bike.  

      Good luck to you...

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    • Posted

      Clicking, popping, clunking...  I'm 16+ months and it still happens.  Don't think it will ever go away 100%.

      Diet:  Eat healthy (salads with grilled chicken and low-fat dressing), hydrate a lot, eat more lean protein, no junk food or artificial sweeteners (NONE!!!), drive past the burger joints, eat 5 or 6 small meals a day, do NOT look at your scale (you'll drive yourself crazy), start on a good probiotic for gut health, exercise regularly (you need to rebuild your leg strength to support the new hardware)...

      https://patient.info/forums/discuss/post-tkr-exercising-565527

      By giving up all the crap, I lost 57 pounds in 11 months and have kept it off.  You can do it too...

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