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Partial Knee Replacement

Submit an Entry: I Wish I Knew Before Knee Replacement...

By Ecuador17

Updated May 29, 2012

What Made You Decide to Have Knee Replacement?

I had a uni (partial) done. I was crawling up the stairs on my hands and feet like my dogs. I am very active, and I had quit doing any leisure walking or other activities that weren't completely necessary. My job is pretty physical, and it was difficult to get through the day just doing my work alone.....I had always been the one to help my coworkers, but I had quit helping them due to the pain. I am pretty young, and the first orthopod I saw told me he wouldn't do surgery until I was 40. I was in my early 30's then. Steroid and orthovisc injections failed. A brace helped, but did not delay the inevitable for long.

What Were You Not Prepared For?

Labile emotions post op. Between the discomfort (really not too bad) and me not progressing as fast as I thought I should, and being off of work and cooped up in my house, I ran the gamut of feeling sad and crying/anxious, to feeling elated when my knee felt great and my range of motion had improved. I felt isolated at home without the social outlet of work. I had friends that visited and I them, but it's not the same as going to work and having certain responsibilities.

I did not have the emotional or physical exhaustion of work, so I believe that contributed to my feelings being all over the place.

I had trouble sleeping for the first couple months. Actually the first week or two were ok, I slept for 12 hours at a time, then it hit me. I tossed and turned. My knee would burn from the day's rehab activities and I would get up in the middle of the night to ice it. It helped tremendously, though was annoying to have to do when I was trying to sleep. I also had shooting pains, like lightning bolts at night. In hindsight I think that was nerve pain. All of this subsided within the first couple months.

Since my quad had atrophied so much pre op due to my limping, it made getting back to normal that much more difficult. I had a bad case of tendonitis that started when I began work again full time at about 10 weeks post op. I followed my therapist and surgeon's recommendations to no avail (babying it, icing it, minimal rigorous activity, virtually only stretching it). I finally decided to treat myself....by working my tail off in the gym to gain my strength back in that quad. I did a pretty detailed internet search on ilio-tibial band tendonitis treatments. After one month of this there was a big improvement. After the second month, the tendonitis had all but subsided. Do not do exercises that make the leg muscle or tendons feel uncomfortable though, this will only prolong your bout with it.

Lessons Learned

  • I should've received a second opinion sooner.
  • Preop my knee atrophied a ton from my limping. Do not let this happen to you. If you notice your "bad" leg's quad muscle shrinking, you should've had surgery yesterday. This will make your rehab soooo much more difficult, trying to build that muscle back up while your joint is recovering from a major operation.
  • The elliptical is your friend
  • Use your therabands that the physical therapists will give you

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