26 and facing knee replacement surgery, any advice from anyone who has had surgery?

I was diagnosed with RA 10 years ago and have recently been told surgery is the last option on my right knee after x-ray shows severe damage. Doctor has agreed to operate next year and I am very keen to go ahead. He has had concerns because of my age but agrees it will make a big difference to my lifestyle. He has said I still won't be able to kneel after surgery but flexibility and pain relief will be better. Has anyone had the surgery? Realistically what benefits has it made? Can you stand for long periods of time, walk far or crouch down? Have there been side effects? How long until you are up and about? I'm a drama teacher and struggling very much at the moment but don't want to be any worse after surgery! Any help gratefully appreciated!!! Thanks :)

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  • Hi, I've emailed a friend who has recently had two new knees asking him if he can answer some of your questions.

    He is in my work walking group and does just fine. In fact I helped him down from a work surface this morning - very dodgy considering he had climbed up and was coming down using a typist's chair! Anyway, he has just driven to southern France and back and he plays several rounds of golf a week too. Will let you know what he has to say but he's doing very well - not a hint of a limp either - no one would never guess he was bionic. He did take the physiotherapy afterwards very seriously indeed though.

  • Thank you! That is a big help, would love to hear how he found the recovery process and any more from him. Sounds like it has been a success though! I would love to be limo free like him!

  • Hi, touring at the moment but just found free wifi. Got a reply from my friend and this from you all at once. Here's what he said, hope it is of some help to you. Think he must have been 67 or 68 when he had his first op so I imagine he is quite a bit older than you are. 😊

    Hi Liz,

    My advice is not to hesitate is having surgery ,it has made so much difference to my life as I can do lots of things I could not do before without a lot of pain.

    Standing for long periods is no problem now and walking is enjoyable now whereas it was not something I looked forward to doing.

    I can bend and are flexible but have not tried kneeling down -I am just so grateful that I do not want to chance kneeling although I can kneel on something very soft like a bed.

    The post operative exercises are most important.

    Colin

  • What age was your friend when he got his knee replacements ....

  • Hi, I am 48 and had a TKR in March because of damage and not being able to keep the joint under control. That joint is getting better and do not regret having it done. Do bear in mind if your RA is widespread that is not going to change but that joint will be much easier. As usual with me my recovery was not 'normal' as I had a fracture when the joint was replaced therefore I was on crutches and minimal weight bearing for 6 weeks but I don't think that it has affected the outcome and the physio had to rethink exercises.

    The first weeks are tough and you will probably think you have done the wrong thing - keep your meds and ice handy - but it does get better (spoke to someone this morning 5 weeks out and she had felt the same thing).

    I believe the age factor comes about because of the life span of the replacement and it is a harder job to replace/change the joint later on. I think we have just got to hope that techniques/replacements improve with time so when we need them replaced it will be easier. Farm

  • I have been told that knee replacement surgery on people that suffer with arthritis is very successful. However as far as I am aware because you are so young you will prob have another knee replacement surgery at some point.

    If it helps you at all I was in the same situation as you. Right knee very damaged. First person that I saw wanted to give me a knee replacement, the second a synovectomy.

    At one point I had a lot of injections in my knee but after a long period of time my knee settled down. I am pretty sure that I still have damage but at the mo I am fine and living a normal life.

    If I will have problems with my knee again at a later date who knows but I just wanted to tell you what has happened to me because at one point I was the same situation as you. We are all different of course and I don't know what will happen with my knee future but at the moment because I am still young I want to avoid having surgery but like I said knee replacements are supposed to work very well on ra patients.

    All the best.

  • Thanks for this. I was told not to have any more injections in to my knee as apparently they had contributed to the damage and would just serve to weaken the joint. Although I've seen 4 different rheumatologists who have all had different opinions on that! This knee has been permanently swollen for 5 years and isn't responding to any meds so the op seems to be my last resort! I'm glad yours seems to be better, I do think it's a good idea to put off surgery as long as poss! Like you say hopefully there will continue to be advancements in procedures in future!

  • I think every ra Dr will give you a different opinion about what to do. Do what is best for you. however I don't know what you are eating but I'd highly suggest eating a plant based diet. Lots of raw food and keep your fat intake very low. Also as you may or may not know most people get ra cause they suffer from leaky gut. If you go on the Paddinson ra page on Facebook clint has just posted a great podcast about this. If you have trouble finding it then I will post a link tomo. I'm sorry to hear about your knee I know what you are going through and it sucks I can't tell you why my knee is ok now but I can tell you methotrexate, anti tnf injections and small doses of steroids are supposed to help your knee. I don't know why your Dr told you that if you have any more injections this can damage you knee, maybe you have had to many in the past? Hope things work out for you. If you need someone to talk to feel free to message me.

  • Forgot to mention if you can find a good functional health practioner who has had experience with ra patients you might want to do that. functionalmedicine.org/

    blog.timesunion.com/holisti...

  • My sister has had two knee replacements (she has RA too) and was emphatic that exercise was the main factor in her quick and full recovery - her daughter is a physio, so I don't suppose she has a choice anyway.

    She got back to playing tennis fairly quickly - she was a top flight tennis player before developing RA.

    But remember that replacements have a life span. My son is just about to have a hip replacement after having a hip re-surfacing six years ago and it is worn out now.

    At your young age I would look at all alternatives first - but you have probably done that already.

  • Hi, I had a fkr 17 months ago. When they operated, they discovered that I had avascular necrosis, the whole joint had collapsed, which explained the agonising pain I had suffered.

    I had a spinal anaesthetic, which was great, and as soon as I was compos mentis afterwards, I realised that agony had gone.

    Exercises after the op are vital, the pain relief is important, to allow you to do them. I had the op late afternoon, and was on my feet the next morning. The harder you work at the exercises, the better the result.

    Because of the extensive damage to my knee, the end result is not perfect, but I have no regrets about having the op. No, I can't kneel on it, and I do have problems getting up from the floor. I still get some residual pain, but nothing like I had before. Now I can walk without limping, and go up and down stairs with no problems.

    My quality of life has improved vastly. I would not hesitate to get the other knee replaced if it got anywhere near as bad.

    Good luck if you go ahead. Don't hesitate to contact me if you want any more info. Best wishes. Mavis x

  • I had both knees replaced in my thirties, it was a tough operation, be prepared for a huge amount of physio afterwards. But it does pay off, takes all that horrible grinding pain away and you will be able to bend your knee more easily. My only advice is if your disease is not well controlled the rheumatoid still attacks the tissue around the knee causing swelling. I have both knees and hips replaced but I can hardly walk at the moment as I am waiting for new drug to work.

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