On a different subject altogether

Not necessarily related to GCA, although it could be, I am contemplating the possibility of having an op on my arthritic knee - caused by a mis-spent youth of playing hockey and the inevitable aging process. It's been a bit dodgy for years, but on high doses of Pred the pain virtually disappeared, but now it's back with avengance, and how.

I've had a few injections, but my latest holiday in Spain a couple of weeks ago was a bit of a nightmare, so GP has said we'll evaluate the situation in another three months.

I know many of you have been through this op, including polkadotcom, so any advice from her, or anyone else, would be much appreciated, on op itself and particularly recovery etc. I live on my own (not good, daughter in NZ so she can't just pop round), in a bungalow (good, no stairs), am very impatient (also not good).


19 Replies

There is a superb TKR forum on the site - well worth a visit.

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I had both knees replaced within six months of each other. Yes it was hard and often frustrating. But the absolute golden rule is to prepare yourself physically as much as you can prior to the op. Make the knee as strong as it can be, make sure your diet is the best it can be.

Afterwards is when the real hard work starts. Do what the physio says and never miss doing the daily exercises. The more you do the quicker the recovery.

Have a look around the house and see what might be a problem and work out what could be done to remedy it. I found a high toilet seat essential. Be careful of stick on grab handles! I know to my cost how easily they come off. Check your clothing is easy to get on and off. Above all stay positive.

I am sure I am only telling you what you already know but sometimes it is the small things we forget

New knees transformed my life - at least it did until pmr struck!

Go for it, and very good luck


Hi Pat,

Many thanks for your advice. As I said, the decision is still in the balance as yet. Not sure it would be classed as being "bad enough" to warrant op. It's very painful on standing etc, but at the moment I get no pain in resting position. Have to see how it goes I suppose, but for sure its not going to get better on its own!

Ce la vie.


Hi DorsetLady

My Mum had hers done when she was 81 due to myself being around was discharged and able to come home after 2 days .

Within 4 weeks she was walking the dog and back to her allotment she too is stubborn and very impatient.

OT provided aids when she came home raised toilet seat ,walking frame.

Most hospitals have a enablement team that can visit for 6 weeks may be a option if you are on your own .

Take Care and Best Wishes Rose

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It's sometimes good to get these things done before they get really bad. Then you are in better physical shape. I had no idea my knees were as bad as they actually were! I thought I was due an injection not major surgery!


I'll come back to this later - have to go out shortly.


You do not say what the op is. I have had two arthroscopys very successfully and a menisectomy. Both done through keyhole in a day and I was back to work in three days. If a replacement then that might be a different matter


Not sure as yet, but imagine it will be a full replacement. Being a bit of a coward, and trying not to think too much about it at present!


Hi Dorsetlady, I think you need to first find out what they are proposing and possible alternatives. I read of a lady whose life was her garden and after knee replacement she could not kneel and she hadn't been told that and therefore might not have gone ahead. It might be that something more simple might make a real change. By the way, many thanks for all your kind help


Hi again,

Yes it does need a lot of thinking about - I realise that, which is why I'm trying to glean as much info from those that have been through it. I know there are limitations afterwards, and certainly know the limitations and pain I have now.

My sister, who is 9 years older than me has ended up in a wheelchair and a care home through her arthritis, and I'm damned if that's going to happen to me, so I'm open to all suggestions.

Thanks for taking the time to answer.


I wish the best fit you Dorset Lady and it made me smile to think of you playing hockey in younger years 😊


Wish I could do it now. Was a bit of a demon 👿 down the right wing - ahh those were the days. Unfortunately long gone.

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Hi DorsetLady,

I had a total knee replacement last year and was discharged after two days. I did have my son stay the first week and daughter, the second. After that I was on my own.

I had watched my friend suffer terribly from same operation and realised it was through poor pain control. (Paracetamol!)

I was using Butranse pain patches at the time and continued to use them afterwards - also Co-codamol on and off for a good six weeks. I was also given wrap around knee pads filled with tubes of water that I stored in the freezer and put on for 15 minutes every few hours.

I think the most important part of the recovery has to be the physio and sticking with the exercise regime. Everybody says it's vital and it is.

This year I was very disappointed when both my legs were in such pain and I thought my knee op. hadn't been a success, but then I was diagnosed with PMR and after taking Pred I was back to normal. Every cloud... :)

The op will be over so quickly you might wish you'd had it done sooner.

Good luck with whatever you choose.



Many thanks. Glad to hear it was successful. Also heard that the after op exercise is so important, as you've proved.


I think most of it has been said already. I was told it would be a partial replacement unless the outer side of the knee had gone. It had (and I knew it) so wasn't at all surprised by the news I'd had a total knee replacement. (I'd had a failed arthroscopy 18 months ago also).

I didn't need a raised toilet seat (which I did with the hip replacement) but a bath board was essential, so that I could sit and shower. Make sure that you have two grabbers, we have only a small flat, but the grabber was always in the room I wasn't in!

I was in the nick.......I mean the hospital....... for 6 days due to difficulties with medication for another condition, but the knee itself was fine and I was discharged by both the surgeons and the physios on the second post op day.

After 5 days at home, my husband was very poorly with a UTI and was only NOT hospitalised because I was needing him at home, however at the same time I also had a mystery bug/virus/whatever and felt like something the cat had dragged in, although the cats I have known wouldn't have owned me to begin with! The middle two weeks in May are logged in my mind as the time when we both went on a starvation diet (I couldn't even look at toast) and bedtime was 6.30pm.

Three months down the line it has settled down nicely and I'm running around like a two year old (I wish) but for me it has been such a relief to be free of pain - same with the hip. The difference it makes is amazing.

Yes, I'd have it done again under the same circumstances but would be asking for knockout drops for the first two weeks post-op!


Thanks for reply. As I said earlier haven't yet been referred by GP. Had injection last week so not too bad at the moment although certainly not pain free, but the last few weeks prior to that, especially on holiday it was really bad. So I think the inevitable will have to happen sometime - want to be able to get around with grandchildren and intend to go back to NZ for Xmas 2017 so must be on a better state for that!

As GP said we'll re-evaluate in 3 months, so have time to do some serious thinking.


Hi DorsetLady,

I'm new to this forum and have just read your post (from 6 months ago) so you may have already had your Total Knee Replacement

I was diagnosed with PMR almost 7 years ago ... very quick onset... shoulders & hips painful and within a few days unable to lift arms etc. severe pain and unable to stand. Was admitted to hospital on IV hydrocortisone (miracle!)

Have been on Pred for last 7 years and did have Methotrexate for around a year during that time (dr said 'pred sparing') but had problems with LFT's etc so had to cease.

July 2016 I 'bit the bullet' and had a total knee replacement (joint was 'bone on bone' and severe limp and pain over last 2 years and needed a bone graft to tibia as well)

I had retired in 2014 (67yrs old then....70 last week!) after working as a Registered Nurse, so thought what the heck, I'll be 'brave' and FINALLY follow orthopod advice and have my knee 'done'

Best thing I ever did knee pain-wise and walking-wise, UNTIL 3 major PMR flares within 3 weeks postop.

I had been on very small maintenance pred and had asked the preop reviewing physician re pred dose post op, to be told that 'keep eye on it' but pred not good for 'bone healing'

Was hit with a vengeance with flares and back to 20mg (now on 15mg as of Jan 2017)

When I saw my rheumy post flares he (gently) suggested I should have seen him preop (but I was so WELL I said!)) Said the increase in pred. post op (by me) was a bit too late... he's lovely, but I felt so 'stupid'...... thought I had been doing everything the 'right' way too.

Enjoyed the hydrotherapy and rehab group exercises when pmr under control

Sum it up now..... have your knee replacement and enjoy Christmas with your family in NZ this year. You have all the knowledge to handle your PMR post op, and as you sound like a very determined and positive person, will handle the post op and rehab phase well.

Important: DON'T decline ANY analgesia you are offered as IF you take pain medication regularly and on-time makes post-op period much less stressful recovery (should have followed own advice)

Wish you all the best for your surgery (or hope all went according to plan if you have had already)

I am so pleased to be able to read of others strategies etc and it is comforting to see that despite flares 'its all good'! Regards


Hi there,

Thanks for your informative and very helpful reply. No haven't had op yet, don't think my GP thinks it's a bad as it is, but I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet as you say.

I've been off Pred now for 4 months, and although no signs (fingers crossed) of GCA returning, I guess I'm a bit dubious of having the op in case it re-activates it.

Happy birthday for last week, my 70th is in a few months - must have been a good year!

Take care, and good luck with your PMR.

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HaHa! 1947 vintage year! Glad to hear that you are off Pred, I'm doing a very slow drop 1/2 to 1mg a month which (so far so good) seems better for me.

Very heartening to know that you are doing so well, makes the 'end of the tunnel' seem that little bit closer for the rest of us! Thanks for replying.