When would be the right time for knee replace surgery?

Posted , 9 users are following.

I am nearly 52 and have had osteoarthritis in both knees for about ten years. I have been having steroid injections into both knees every six months for a few years by my GP. About eight years ago I had one MRI scan on my , then, worse right knee and I have had various x rays, but haven’t been seen by the hospital for several years. I had my last injections in june, so am not able to have more till December, but my knees have both been really painful since August, so I did not get much relief at all. They ache really badly. They stiffen up and sometimes give way. By the end of the day it feels like someone has hit my knees with a hammer and I have to put my hands on the stairs to get up to bed. 

Can anyone give me an idea of when the ‘right time’ is to be offered knee replacement? The last time I went to the hospital I left feeling so upset and angry, when a doctor told me injections and pain killers were not the answer - weight reduction and exercise apparently were. 

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm 51 Lynne and I've been told for years at the gp's that I was too young and it wouldn't be done. It just so happened I got a new doctor at the practice who asked me when I last had an xray, it was 4 years previous. Anyway, went back to her for results, she said, I'm going to be blunt, your knees are horrible, I don't care how old you are, I'm referring you for a knee replacement. Met the surgeon who asked if I'd had a trauma to my knees. Within 6 weeks of seeing him I was in having my op. I like you was in pain constantly, limping everywhere and my right knee had started locking for up to 40 mins at a time. Go now and ask to get referred

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    • Posted

      did you have one knee replacement or both? how did the surgery go? do you have pain anymore? do you have full range of motion? how long was your recovery and how much work did you miss? thank you

       

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    • Posted

      Hiya, I had my right knee done, my left one will be next year. The surgery went great, I've no pain now but I'm needing more strength in my leg before I go back to work because I'm on my feet for 8 hours a day so I'd rather be strong than go back too early. I can straighten no problem, my bend is coming on great, I've never had physio, only what I do at home but happy with my bend now. I'm 9 weeks

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  • Posted

    I can relate to your knees having the same problem myself and my mobility is really bad.  As yet my GP hasn’t suggested referring me for a replacement knee. I did try an injection but it didn’t work for me so the pain goes on.

    i did wonder too how bad things must get before a new knee is offered. I am a bit older than you and also overweight.  Losing weight is hard when you have difficulty walking.

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  • Posted

    A GP is not a knee expert, ask for a referral to a knee surgeon, who will know how long you have. 

    That said, if you are seriously overweight, it won't help your knees at all. Ask yourself how many bags of sugar am I carrying around? If you are too overweight they won't do the surgery anyway. 

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    • Posted

      I am not massively overweight, about a stone and a half. I have had gallstones for years and had my gallbladder removed in July. With that and my knees, it has been difficult. I started the menopause about five years ago and put a stone and a half on just like that! I am careful about what I eat but haven’t been able to lose more than about four pounds. 
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  • Posted

    There is lots of reasons taken into account as to whether surgery is recommended at your age. It depends on the deteriation of the knees, the diagnosis, pain, mobility, your general health, weight and if you smoke, the Consultant and even the area were you live. Surgery is usually only offered after other treatments have being tried including pysio and steriod injections. If you are considered overweight you may have to lose weight and a smoker to stop or you may only be able to have surgery with a local not general anesthetic. I would ask for a referal to a Consultant in Orthopaedics as your GP is not a Specialist. I had my first knee replacement aged 39, revision done aged 52 and my other knee had a partial aged 60. I am 61 now. I had Septic Arthritis aged 11 but had deformity and also needed Tibia and Fibia straightned so things were not straight forward for me. Be guided by the Consultant, i hope you get some good advice.
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  • Posted

    I am 52 and my orthopedic said I could have my pick, right knee or right hip as both are bone on bone.  I had my left hip replaced a year and a half ago, so I am doing the other hip in January and will stall the knee with injections, this time next year, I might need 2 knees.  It's all about the quality of life, if you are in pain, and the joint is bad enough, there is no need to put off a replacement.   I continue to be as active as I can, can't run anymore, but there is so much more I can do.  

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