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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 11-14-10, 08:48 PM   #1
zjrog
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My Knee Replacement Experience

My own experience... Here and there over the last 10 years I had a little knee pain, initially, used over the counter Ibuprofin. Then saw a general physician and got 800mg Motrin. 18 months ago, I finally saw an orthopedic. When his PA brings up the XRays and asks, "when do you want to schedule that replacement", made a HUGE impression on me. At that time, I still had cartilage in my left knee. So I had a round of Cortisone followed a couple weeks later by gel injection series. I made it through last winter, but by spring I went back for the gel. Went through the series again in May, and by July I couldn't tell I'd had any. New Xray showed bone on bone. And wearing grooves. Until that moment, I had hoped I could make it another 2 years on gel.

So last Monday, I said goodbye to my original knee. I'm still wondering if I did the right thing with the replacement. But my current resting pain level is a world less than a week ago. The next morning, therapy had me on my feet. Just a little. About 30 steps. Gawd that was work. Then 2 hours with my leg strapped intop a CPM machine . This torture device moves your leg and knee from -5* extension to 110*. I haven't passed 90 yet though. I hope to be there in a few more days. Anyway, Wednesday was more of the same, but more walking and more time on the machine.

Thursday, I got to come home. And, even though I thought I had prepared my house better, I couldn't believe how hard it is to get about. Still good to be home. Friday, the Home Health nurse admitted me, so I will have my dressing changed at home twice a week for a couple weeks. Nice. And I have a close friend that will doing my therapy. I KNOW she won't take it easy on me. And she knows what I like to do and want to do, since our families go camping together.

How things stand tonight. My home is multi-level, hey, I thought it was a great layout when I bought it... On this level, it is 2 steps down into the garage where I have a beer fridge full of water, juices and food. This level, is where my recliner is, a microwave, and a restroom. Yesterday, I managed the 5 steps up to the kitchen and living room. From here it is 5 steps down the front steps out the front door.... I still haven't attempted the 9 additional steps to my bedroom... Maybe tomorrow.

My wife is having medical issues of her own, so I am almost on my own. Friends have dropped by, which are always appreciated. And a neighbor drops off food now and again...

So the moral of the story here, if you have pain in the knee, see an orthopedic doc. The earlier the better. Had I seen one 10 years ago, I might not have ruined this knee. Or, I might have been able to push this replacement off another couple years. Also, bad genetic were in play, I remember my great grandfather on a cane, my grandfather had both knees replaced about 25 years ago, 2 uncles have had knees replaced. And my dad has been working with an orthopedic doc the last couple years, but will probably replace one next year.

Goals. Once my therapy is over, and I can get my knee wet, off to the gym and swimming. And weight training with my therapist/friend's approval. I suppose I should use the membership for more than the Jacuzzi... Come Spring, back on the bike. This time next year, I would like to 50 pounds lighter. I weighed 303 this morning. About 50 pounds would be good. But will take what I get. Planning a dietary change along with this, and look forward to working with my wife on this.
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Old 11-15-10, 07:58 AM   #2
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You may or may not have seen my thread about my knee, and desire to ride a Bicycle again.

My left knee had it's 8th surgery (TKR with revision) on 11/09/09. By the end of March 2010 I was outside on my Bicycle (had been spinning on an exercise bike prior) and have gotten 630+ miles in to date (even with other issues in July).

I have spoken with many, many people with knee replacements, and it's my opinion (only), that the ones that love their new knee are the ones that hurt the worst. The few that hate their new knee and wish they had never had it replaced are the ones that just started having *some* knee pain and the Ortho said "Hey! You're old enough, let's replace that knee before it gets any worse!" So they did, and didn't *apply* themselves enough during PT because they had no real idea what was at stake...

This is your shot to make improvements in your life, and it starts right here and now~! I hope the best for you
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Old 11-15-10, 09:07 AM   #3
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I worked for old veterarian for a couple of months who was retiring. He was buying a home in the foothills. He told me that the house had to be all one level and the wider doorways. He and his wife were still in good health but were thinking ahead to a time when that would be needed.
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Old 11-15-10, 11:58 AM   #4
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My mom is 5 years out from a double knee replacement and gets around much better than before. My next door neighbor lives alone and had 1 of hers done a month ago. Because she had no help at home, she opted to stay in a rehad hospital for 3 weeks after. She is already getting around quite well. I have a veteranarian friend who has had a knee and a hip replaced a couple of years apart and is on his feet all day working. I'm 14 months out after lumbar spinal fusion and ride as often as I can. My wife isn't letting me ride as much as I'd like right now because she had colon surgery a week ago today and she worries about me getting hurt when she can't help me.
My advice: Do your PT religiously. If you don't make the body work with the new parts, it won't. Everyone I know who hasn't done the rehab has suffered for it. Just don't push so hard you injure yourself. Keep a positive attitude. Recovery always takes longer than you want it to.
Good luck.
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Old 11-15-10, 12:34 PM   #5
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As a double knee replacement myself I count my blessings everyday ,and never comment about any pain or inconvenience, since if it weren't for modern surgery I'd live my life in a wheelchair now. THAT is something I would not like at all !!

As long as I can get on my bicycle ,or my trike, I'm very, very good!!
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Old 11-15-10, 01:18 PM   #6
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Therapy is more important than surgery as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for the personal stories folks... It does help a great deal. I look back at the things I did that had to have been bad on my knee. Even in the last 10 years some of the abuse I gave it makes me think I should have done something different. But with the new lease, new plans. Hiking and biking with select friends. No competition.

My friend, the therapist, has a reputation. If one were to throw "Mistress" in front of her name, it would fit. Good thing my insurance allowed me to use her, as I would willingly pay for her services. And I also realize, for the hour or so I spend with her, we won't be friends... On the other hand, she knows what I like to do, what I want to do. Plus, its nice to help friends when and where you can, even in their professional lives.

I made it this morning to the bedroom level. I really needed to wash up. So, another barrier falls. I really am trying not to do too much too quick. But I work in the desert and being cooped up indoors all day is killing me!!! I really hate being inside 24/7...
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Old 11-15-10, 10:10 PM   #7
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My therapist friend came by and worked me over pretty good. Altered my CPM usage for better efficiency. Good part is, I didn't hurt as bad as I thought I was going to. And she thinks I'm doing pretty well so far. Had my dressing changed and I'm still a bit swollen... But not infected either.

And a pic...

Not as bad as I thought...
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Old 11-18-10, 12:54 PM   #8
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I'm nine years out on my right TKR, and will be nine year on my left TKR at Christmas. I count my blessings every day as I was using crutches before surgery. The surgery was a breeze, but PT was a royal pain. Diligence and effort pay off in the end however -- my QofL is much better than it was 15 years ago.
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Old 11-18-10, 01:47 PM   #9
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My therapist friend came by and worked me over pretty good. Altered my CPM usage for better efficiency. Good part is, I didn't hurt as bad as I thought I was going to. And she thinks I'm doing pretty well so far. Had my dressing changed and I'm still a bit swollen... But not infected either.

And a pic...

Not as bad as I thought...
Can't tell for sure... my incision was 26 inches on the nose, have you measured yours?

Please remember, you are not *safe* from a fall until your ROM gets to at least between 5 and 70 - that's what had me worried (multi-level house too)
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Old 11-18-10, 06:07 PM   #10
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Do you mind if i chime in? I was in the 8th grade when I broke my femur and my knee playing baseball. Basically my lower femur snapped and took my knee out along with it, as I left my foot planted going after a wild pitch (I was catcher). I'm 23 now.

I went through 3 knee surgeries, the last of which was a rebuild and clone implant process. That CPM is your worst enemy right now, but in the end of it all it will be your best friend....as will DonJoy braces. I was bed bound with no weight put on the littlest of my toes for something like 5 months and crutches for at least 8 or 9 months which consisted of multiple grade levels as my other knee is bad as well.

The doctor who did my surgery is Robert Palumbo, he worked with the womens olympic/world cup team when Michel Acres and Chastain and such were on it. Great guy. Anyway...best advice I can give you is to listen to the advice given by your doctor and therapist.....no one else. These two people know exactly what was done to your knee and how it will react to what is done to it.

One other thing...make sure your diet is spot on or you WILL blow up like a balloon as you are pretty much sedentary through out the day.
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Old 11-18-10, 07:24 PM   #11
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...best advice I can give you is to listen to the advice given by your doctor and therapist.....no one else. These two people know exactly what was done to your knee and how it will react to what is done to it...
+1
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Old 11-19-10, 12:35 PM   #12
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Hang in there Peter. I'm pulling for ya. I supposed to get the Left TKR last July. That didn't happen, they wanted to do an MRI which told them once again I needed it. Such a hassle working with the VA. They gave me a cortisone shot that lasted a week. Went back down a month ago for a follow up and told them get it done. So I have a TKR scheduled for next year sometime. They are also going to give those gel injections in the near future as well. Lot of pain as you have already experienced. Doc Say's the TKR may or may not elevate all the pain I feel. I don't get it.
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Old 11-19-10, 11:51 PM   #13
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...Doc Say's the TKR may or may not elevate all the pain I feel. I don't get it.
Not trying to jack this thread - but it's on the same topic...

Nutcase, I remember your earlier postings...

As for the "may not stop *all* pain" statement by the DR? First, they gotta say that to you just-in-case. Second, for the person who is having stiffness, and OA just starting - if they had a TKR they'd have *more* pain than prior to the surgery. I still have pain. The difference is, I have days that are a ZERO on my pain scale (which I haven't had in years), and I have 2s and 3s from time to time - but different. Where the bone recission was done and the parts connected - I still have pain there at times, and it may or may not ever go away. If I stand for more than 3-4hrs I get pain at the *base*, or *under* the knee - again, a 2 or a 3 on my scale.

Would I do the TKR again? Is 7AM tomorrow OK?? It's work, and it's kinda scary (to me anyhow) and I puked in PT multiple times... but I can ride 29 miles, AND do the same ride the next day too - prior, could not walk 500 yards without crippling pain...
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Old 11-20-10, 02:44 AM   #14
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it'll all get better with time and work. two hips later, and I feel much better than the pain I had before the first one got done. work it, push it a little, be smart, and remember on those stairs -- up with the good(leg) and down with the bad (leg).
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Old 11-20-10, 12:59 PM   #15
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...and remember on those stairs -- up with the good(leg) and down with the bad (leg).
Amen to that~!
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Old 11-21-10, 04:54 AM   #16
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This thread reminds me that I'm gonna need my knees (and hips, and shoulders, and back, etc., etc.) when I'm 80. It's not optional. I'm going to need them. I should take better care of them.

Thanks, and best of luck to yez!
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Old 11-22-10, 01:11 PM   #17
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Love all the stories. I've been busy this past week. First, I didn't measure my incision, but appears to be about 13" or so. Range of Motion is what my therapist has beat me up over. Sitting, Friday, I managed to get to 100* bending my knee. That HURT! But she pushed me on to 105*, and I was in tears!

As for stairs, she has me going up with both feet *AS I CAN TOLERATE*. She says I'm not ready for both feet down yet. A few more days and more work. Peter, I am still afraid of the stairs...

I HATE the CPM machine. But am up to 110 on it. Friday I start outpatient therapy. And it won't be with my friend. Though, she wants me to let her know when I'm ready for the gym, so she can coach me some. She did suggest a particular therapist and I will use her suggestion. Like I said, we're friends otherwise, except when she is my therapist...

Agree, my doc and the therapists know what need to be done. But its also nice to hear how others got through as well.

As for diet... Hasn't been the best, with people bringing food and scrounging on my own... BUT, aware that sedentary living makes it easy to gain weight, I've actually managed to LOSE 5 pounds these last couple weeks. Hoping that is a start to keeping it off.

I got behind on my meds the other day and took almost 12 hours to get comfortable again. THAT was no fun. Saturday, after a walk in the cul-de-sac Friday with the therapist, I walked it again,and managed to do that twice before it snowed. The rest of the day I was nearly depressed. Tired of the same walls, nothing decent on TV, not ready to hit the garage for even simple projects. I was bored. Yesterday, friends dropped by throughout the day, GREAT neighbors cleared the 10" of snow from my driveway and sidewalks.

This morning, the home health nurse dropped by to change my bandage. And to draw blood. I hate needles, and she knew it. And somehow thought an 18 gauge needle would be fine. THAT hurt, felt like a PIPE being shoved into me. And she missed the vein. Changed to a 22 gauge and to the other arm and hit first try... But that is my only complaint with the nurses. But still THAT is a biggy. I'll be off Home health Wednesday, which is also when I see my doc. My knee is still swollen, but otherwise looks good, the bruising is down as well.

Thanks folks for letting me vent here.

Last edited by zjrog; 11-22-10 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 11-22-10, 05:19 PM   #18
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Zjrog, Sounds like tour doing good. Glad to hear that. I hope to have a similar experience with my Left TKR next year. Sitting around the house sucks, especially for an outdoors men. When I broke my right Tibia Plateau off and had a steel plate and six screws installed (which are still there) I had to go 42 days in a chair with no weight bearing. It's a lot differant than a TKR where you get it moving soon. I had to wait for the metal to bond to the bone. Between the 1mm of Mencius in both knee's there's a lot of discomfort. I can't wait to at least get rid of a little.
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Old 11-24-10, 01:41 AM   #19
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Love all the stories... .
You want stories? Here's mine...

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ht=bf+blogging
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Old 11-24-10, 08:52 AM   #20
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This thread reminds me that I'm gonna need my knees (and hips, and shoulders, and back, etc., etc.) when I'm 80. It's not optional. I'm going to need them. I should take better care of them.

Thanks, and best of luck to yez!
I'm making mental notes from this thread for the day I get both knees replaced. As Peter C can attest to, objectively speaking they are junk, and have been for a long time. But as long as they function OK I'll avoid the knife.
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Old 11-24-10, 12:14 PM   #21
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I'm making mental notes from this thread for the day I get both knees replaced. As Peter C can attest to, objectively speaking they are junk, and have been for a long time. But as long as they function OK I'll avoid the knife.
Two reasons you may want to reconsider that idea of holding out.

1) Obamacare and it's affect on medical care
2) The older you get, the longer it takes to heal.

I HAD to have one hip done, and could have waited a few years on hip two, but I looked at the trend in HC, costs, insurance and all and jammed them both into one year 5 months apart to make sure I could even get them done at a reasonable cost under good insurance. Since I knew there was no avoiding it, I figured giving up 1.5 years of my life to replacements and rehab was easier that giving up most of one, and then a few years later repeating it yet again.
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Old 11-24-10, 12:19 PM   #22
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Two reasons you may want to reconsider that idea of holding out.

1) Obamacare and it's affect on medical care
2) The older you get, the longer it takes to heal.

I HAD to have one hip done, and could have waited a few years on hip two, but I looked at the trend in HC, costs, insurance and all and jammed them both into one year 5 months apart to make sure I could even get them done at a reasonable cost under good insurance. Since I knew there was no avoiding it, I figured giving up 1.5 years of my life to replacements and rehab was easier that giving up most of one, and then a few years later repeating it yet again.
I don't expect socialized medicine to last in the US.
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Old 11-24-10, 06:34 PM   #23
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I don't expect socialized medicine to last in the US.
whether it does or does not, the destruction it wreaks in the interim should be massive in nature.
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Old 11-25-10, 11:13 AM   #24
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I'm making mental notes from this thread for the day I get both knees replaced. As Peter C can attest to, objectively speaking they are junk, and have been for a long time. But as long as they function OK I'll avoid the knife.
I do have to agree, The Historian is a poster-boy for double TKRs~!

Waiting vs doing it now is sorta a double-edged sword...

The bad downside of waiting is *usually* as you get older, you do not heal as well, or as fast. That said, there are many, many possible reasons for waiting....

When overweight, waiting til you lose more weight would be good.
Technology - it's much better than 20yrs ago, that said, my own Ortho has pointed out no real advances in the last ten years.

Deciding *when* to have major joint surgery is tough, and there are many factors that come into play - health insurance - do you have it, are you about to lose it? Getting multiple things done in one years so your costs top out (thereby making anything else done that year free)

Many, many reasons - doing one knee at a time vs doing both at once - doing both at once does *NOT* double the healing months - most save roughly 4-6 months between healing, PT, and pain reduction - but, (like me) my overall health weighed against doing both at once.

I had been putting off my TKR for 20+ years - the magic 55 or older, 200lbs or lighter - failed in my case based on heart health going downhill.

In short, each person must *try* to make a 'best choice' decision, based on many variables...
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Old 11-25-10, 09:47 PM   #25
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I do have to agree, The Historian is a poster-boy for double TKRs~!
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