21,819 members25,434 posts

How bad should a knee be before having a replacement???

Since what seems like forever, (at least twenty years) my knees have been a burden. Twelve years ago I had bakers cysts in each of them, and had an atheroscopy on both which helped the twanging of a muscle over the lump each time I took a step, but never really fixed the pains I was having, and still have. A couple of months ago I reduced my intake of protein right down which helped no end in the sharp glass shards in the joint type pain I was having, but alas I feel the damage has already been done, and the knees are shot, though I must say there is no swelling at all on the one that is most painful and only a little 'puffiness' over the knee cap on the least painful knee, unless I kneel when it hurts more. So back to my question, How bad should it be before a replacement is warranted? I would love to be able to run again, but haven't for over twenty years. (I am 59 tall and slim) and I am sure the Doctors do not realise how much pain I am in, just because I look like I am fit and well!!

17 Replies

I've just had my first knee done.mine, they said was one of the worst they'd ever seen. I had a dramatic downturn about two years ago and can barely walk. The medics were nervous because of my RA and diabetes 2. It seems to have turned out OK, but I know I'm going to have a long haul in getting back my fitness.

I wish I'd had it done sooner. But I'm glad I found a good, caring surgeon who seems to have left me with little bruising. I'm not you do, will be 70 in a year, and I think that's a factor. You're welcome to message me if you want to discuss it further. Good luck, get some medical advice.

1 like

I would ask to have the replacement as soon as the consultant says it needs to be done. The sooner it is done there will be less damage and, therefore, easier to be fixed


I was told that however bad it is they can do a replacement. However I've lost mobility and strength and had to do physio before the op to keep going. And to find a good surgeon I think is important


Well I am sure they can do any replacement but I guess it is easier all round if the joint isn't too damaged. Why hang about when you are in pain? I don't know how you can find a good surgeon apart from asking your GP for the best in her/his opinion

Good luck xx

1 like

My rheumatologist knows the surgeon and they work together a lot. There are also websites which show the specialism they work in.

1 like

Hi Jointpain,

WOW! Sounds like you've been enduring some stuff! :/

The answer to that question lies somewhat within yourself.

You obviously have to consider all of the variables and possible future outcomes, like your age, strength of your attitude, ability to cope, potential future issues. Essentially all of the pros and cons...Not just what would be easiest right now.

Surely you can only make these decisions after you have seen all of the xrays and taken ALL the advice possible.

Here's my personal experience.

When I got RA at 27 I knew I was in for a rough ride. I also knew I was way too young to go the conventional route because I looked at the possible outcomes and they didn't suit my thinking of who I wanted to be at all.

After a couple of years my knees were a real mess!

If I tried to walk my knees would bend the wrong way and fail to support my weight. They would literally fold backwards because there was nothing left to support my knee internally. The cartilage, tendons, muscles had all been eaten away and I couldn't walk. Add to that full body and joint degeneration, losing 6 stones in weight and having feet that were so painful the tiniest speck of dust under them would cause pure fire.

I have never experienced open mouthed gut wrenching pain like that knee pain.......And all in public for everyone to see. That can hurt a 29 yr old guy.

I came back from that through using natural methods and no meds. Everyone who told me cartilage couldn't be rebuilt was found to be wrong! All those who said I would be crippled were wrong.

Because I was young in body and spirit I had the power of my convictions to challenge what I was being told. This meant changing my life in such a way that disease couldn't be a part of my life.

I researched and used every single food, supplement, and exercise plan that I though would be helpful and used them.

My diet during the day was pints of green juices and anti inflammatory smoothies with raw egg yolks during the day and a salad with oily fish before 6 in the evening.

I got real quiet and meditated every hour I could, making sure my body was in the deepest form of recovery mode I could put it in. I kept a positive mind and even did the visualisations of me walking the local areas in my minds eye. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be better and could do it. Not one!

I used all of the bone building and cartilage building supplements.

Eggshell membrane




Cod liver oil



Eucommia bark

Apple cider vinegar

Magnesium sulfate foot baths

Horse tail

And many more!

I used an open minded try everything approach and had the attitude that it would work.

Since then I have run 10k in under 35 minutes, although not for a time because I don't enjoy running. I never have? But, I had a goal and stuck to it. That goal was to run 10k in under 35 mins.

In fact, I built an appreciation for all types of movement and sport. How sad I though it was that I had become immobile and less able to express my true nature through play.

To me play was life's joy and if I didn't have that I had nothing.

My passion is mountain biking and I dare say I'd give most top club riders a run for their money!

Currently I am 40 years old and hold many records on the popular Strava community cycling iphone app. This app pits you against the riders in the local area and is a kind of addictive. All the top guys use it and I measure myself against the able bodied and see how my levels of performance are doing too.

Sorry that this has been all about me? :/

I can't give you advice, but I can hopefully inspire you to your greatest possible achievement and hope you give it one last try. A final push that uses all of the information at hand. Think long and hard before you take a step that can't be undone.

The body can heal and rebuild in magnificent ways, but you have to give it your all. If you haven't tried the first two items on my list combined with apple cider vinegar/ginger/curcumin and lemon tonics orning and night . then give that a try and you come and tell me here if it didn't touch you in some way.

If it didn't then you MAY have your answer. But don't take that answer as the final word from anyone EVER!

You decide.

All my very best,

Wade Tate


Thank you Wade, for your history! I have thought of 'rebuilding' the cartilage but wondered how to go about it. Thank you for your list, I do use Cider vinegar and found it good for the removal of uric acid crystals, which I believe was causing the majority of the pain and causing the degradation of the cartilage. As my kidneys are giving me pain if I consume more than a little protein, (being scanned on Tuesday) I may try going on a Chondroitin and Glucosamine supplement. I Love cycling mountain biking or road, and have way too many bikes for any normal person. I find the pedaling action prevents the twisting of the knee joint which is more often the point when it hurts the most, as when walking or even turning over in bed Ouch.


Hey JP,


A fellow cylist too.:)

Eggshell membrane



Transformed my experience within a week.

As always do your research thoroughly, check against drug interactions and ask your specialist.

Test, test, test, little and often.

Unfortunately my specialist has never heard of any of these things and the supplement knowledge she has is beyond limited. Nearly as limited as the nurse at my local GP who does my annual RA review. Bless her, she gives health advice to cut down on fried food like bacon and egg and

All good advice but when I ask questions about basic food choices outside of that she tells me to go and find a

Not knocking them but people need to be aware that not everyone can knows everything.

Here's some Dr advice on serrapeptase and kidney issues. ;)

Everyone here should be aware of this information.

This is a two part article, I have ordered the articles are in reverse order...Part two first, part one second because the kidney info is in part two. Both parts contain important information about serrapeptase and its use in arthritis and many other diseases

Serrapeptase is widely used in Germany and the rest of Europe by doctors, but there is some indication it could thin blood so anyone reading this needs to be aware of that and consult their doctor!


You could also try pomegranate juice and juicing in general. Lets not forget kidneys are elimination organs so anything you can do to open your elimination channels will likely help to take some pressure off.


Have you tried getting your protein from avocados, wheat grass juice, cacao powder, hemp and the like? The PH of these foods helps them be assimilated and stops calcium being pulled from the bone.

You are going to need to find a way of getting protein so you can build the muscle needed to support the joints fully. If you don't you will get the painful sensations you are feeling when in bed. This is not always due to lack of cartilage in the joint but can be due to lack of muscle around the effected joint. Instability and rubbing can be the cause of that pain.

I have dealt with this in my own body.

If you want to build muscle and are over 40 you might want to try a pine pollen tincture.

Wonderful muscle building, vitality restoring stuff!

Very strong natural testosterone builder. Probably only useful to the guys reading this but you can eat pine pollen at any age or sex, just be aware of it's hormonal power. It is super nutritious.

Tincture form is the strongest natural testosterone booster. Goji berries can help build growth hormone so you might want to check those out too.

Pine pollen tinctures are expensive but if you pm me I'll show you how to make it yourself naturally for pennies. ;)

Any supplements on any of these lists I provide can be found cheaply on ebay and amazon so shop around.

Have a pain free day!

Wade Tate


ive suffered 18 years had clean outs etc but no chance of knees done have to virtuall not walk ,funny that same with catarcts with my nhs sevice yu have to be nearky blind xxx good luck


Hi Binlid,

Sorry to hear of your suffering. Hope things change for you soon.

It seems like some folks aren't giving their all to get you well?

Have you thought about combining all of the following methods in a healthy lifestyle and giving yourself the very best chance to be well despite the future others have set out for you?


Raw food




De stressing


Parasite removal

Leaky gut repair

Correcting Intestinal dysbiosis

Staying away from environmental toxins like smog and wifi

Getting to sleep before 10pm

Not eating after 6pm

Adding anti inflammatory foods

Being happy and having good relationships

Allergy removal

Cutting alcohol

Cutting Sugar

Cutting bread

Cutting dairy

Cutting white table salt

When you run out of options the only option left is to fight like crazy with every ounce of strength and make your own best future.

I hope you start to improve soon and never lose sight of the fact that there is always more you can do, and you always a better chance of new discoveries changing your future if you stick around long enough to see them become reality. :)

All my very best for a pain free future.:)

Wade Tate

1 like

Unless you are working in the NHS or have a relative who is a Doctor!!!


Hi I have a history of knee problems, I used to do a lot of running Marathons/half marathons etc. But due to a problem with my right knee I had to stop that pastime, and as the years went by and my knee got worse a visit to the doctors then a visit to the local hospital for an xray which showed a bone on bone situation, and three months later I had a new knee fitted and it is excellent. now I am suffering the same with my left knee which again meant another xray which again showed bone on bone so I am now waiting for a date to have that one replaced. I am now past it as far as running is concerned but just to go for a walk without the pain sounds wonderful. If your knees are knackered get some new ones you will not regret it.

1 like

Castro, I'm only just into a month after my first new knee but I can already feel the difference - doing stairs, getting up from being seated. And the surgeons said that my knees were the worst they'd seen for a while. Roll on when I can have the next one fixed. I'd say to anyone to go ahead and not delay too much. My recovery is taking longer as I'm not fit. But I'm bending it well.


Hi Cathie,

Was just wondering how old you are?

You look young in your pic.

Hope the knees are good.

Best wishes,



Chronological age is irrelevant. Thanks for the good wishes.



I am 47 and have just had Patellofemoral knee replacements on my both knees as I have experienced problems and had numerous surgeries and procedures since the age of 11. I am 6 months post op on the left one and as yet I am not pleased I had it done.



I was diagnosed with AS and peripheral arthritis in august 2014. It is particularly aggressive apparently. In the February 2015, I had simultaneous bilateral total hip replacements ( both replaced at the same time). Between having both hips replaced in the February, scans showed huge deterioration in my knees, the left being worse than the right. In the July, I then had simultaneous bilateral total knee replacements - it was hard going! Having them done together though was in retrospect, a godsend as I do believe if they had only replaced one, I might not have returned for the other to be done !!

Now however, out hips and knees work well and are pretty much mostly pain free.

I've been told my elbows are next!!

Whatever you decide, make sure you have support and the very best of luck.



You may also like...