Ataxia UK
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Advice wanted

I need a bit of advice about doctors. I have had Ataxia for a long time (i am in my 60s). I am still able to walk around quite well. Although i use a walking stick sometimes. I have a problem with my right knee which has been causing me increasing pain and affects my walking.

I have had the knee X rayed and i have been told the knee has marked arthritic changes. The only real solution to this is a join replacement. My Doctor does not really want to go down this road and prescribed injections (which i dont want) into the joint or anti-inflationary tablets/pain killers with all the side effects they bring. Either option is at best a temporary solution.

I get on quite well with my Doctor and i don't really want to go against her wishes but i do want to talk to a join specialist about my options. I asked the doctor to refaire me to a specialist but she does not want to. She said she want to try the other options first but i do wonder if its about cost.

I would be willing to pay to see a consultant if that's the only option. I don't want to spend years on high strength pain medicine.

My questions what should i do. And has anybody had a join replacement and what are the Pros and cons of that.. .

5 Replies

Hi albion

Thank you for your post. I completely understand about not wanting to be on strong painkillers long-term. I have chronic neck and shoulder problems and fear that is the way I am headed.

There are two questions that come into my mind. I am not quite clear why you want to see a specialist. Is it because you specifically want an opinion about having a joint replacement? Also, has your GP given specific reasons as to why she doesn't want you to go down the route of joint replacement or just said she wants to try the other options first?



Thanks for the answer Harriet. I was a nurse for 25 years and i know all about the side effects of medicines. And at best they only treat the symptoms when you stop the pain comes back.

In answer to your questions, really i just want to know my options. The joint replacement is at the end of the possibilities. Maybe there is a better option but i don't know.

My GP just said they wanted to try other options first. But i do wonder if its more about costs with all the cuts we have had and less about me


I have not had any joint replacements.But I think it's your absolute right to have a second, expert opinion. I don't live in the UK but in my country the gov't-run HMO even pays up to 80% for certain members for a second, private visit.Every hospital has referrals. I would imagine that you, as a former nurse, know the medical world. I am sure your doctor will understand your feelings. BTW, here (Israel) there is a certain vitamin offered over the counter for knee discomfort.It is advertised every minute. Goodluck! N


Hi Albion, I am 59 years young, diagnosed with ataxia 10 years ago. I use a cane when I leave my home to prevent falls, but am able to walk in my home without it. I have arthritis in both my knees, especially the left one. I tore my cartilage (in my left knee) when I was a teenager doing gymnastics. I have no personal experience with anything to help my knees thus far, but would try artificial lubricant injections (I believe it's a series of six, one each week for six weeks) before a knee replacement, to see if they would help. I base my decision on my husband, who had severe arthritis in his left knee. He had these injections successfully and has no problems since. I know several people that have had knee replacements, with mixed reviews. I also wouldn't want to take any long-term medication due to the side effects. I feel you certainly have the right to see an orthopedic specialist, so you can weigh all options. My best to you...,;o)


Hi Albion,

Constant pain is awful, I can understand you wanting to explore every avenue before

you decide what course to take. GPs can make you feel as though you're being

awkward if you don't immediately go along with their decisions but if your gut reaction

is to seek the opinion of a specialist before deciding on treatment etc, do it.


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