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Financial Stress

Readers Respond: Having Knee Replacement Surgery

Responses: 41


Updated January 13, 2010

A joint replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure. Deciding when the time is right for knee replacement can be a challenging decision. How did you decide it was time for knee replacement? Or, what is telling you to wait for your knee replacement procedure?

Taking Stock

Like many other responders, I have been wrestling with the pain, trying to find the balance of going too soon or waiting too long. I guess I'm just about there. I'm 61 with a mostly-sedentary job. However, there are times when I have to be outdoors and on my feet for hours at a time. That's when I feel the pain the most, although it has also wakened me at night and kept me from falling asleep for hours. As one of the caregivers to my 90-year old mother-in-law, it's hard to throw all those duties onto my wife to take time for the surgery. But, if I can't have mobility due to pain, how much can I really be helping as time goes on? I believe the time is at hand.

Guest hiker

I am 59 and was told by my ortho doc two years ago that I had 18 year old knees. I am an avid hiker and gym rat. I beat on my knees. I developed Patellar tracking disorder that comes and goes. Out of the blue this week my doc told me I now have one 60 year old knee (almost bone on bone) and need a partial replacement. I don't understand why. I never had knee problems. I guess cartilage can deteriorate quickly in some people. I am very depressed. I dont have much pain. Cortisone last 9 months. I quit hiking and took up biking. Does anybody have a rapid deterioration of cartilage? Any advice on a partial? I'm just very confused right now. Your stories have really helped me.
—Guest Guest hiker

When is it the right time?

Started with knee issues early in life(1974), had my left knee replaced in July 09, and finally getting right knee replaced May 7, 2012! My decision has been based on the quality of life issue. I am very energetic, still a gym rat at the age of 60. My hope is to improve my my work outs to include px 90!
—Guest Jose Gonzalez

is it really time

both of my knees are bone on bone, but I do not experiance a lot of pain, have had several scopes and both knees operated on at 16 years of age for torn ligaments, I am 63 and my doctor has said that even though I do not experiance a lot of pain, my tibia is starting to turn inward and it will be harder to correct if I let it go.
—Guest linda


You have knee pain that keeps you awake, or awakens you, at night. You have knee pain which limits activities necessary to go about your daily routine (such as getting up from a chair or climbing stairs). You have knee pain that limits activities that give you pleasure (such as walking for exercise, traveling or shopping.). You have tried other treatments for a reasonable period of time, and you still have persistent knee pain. You and your doctor must consider many other factors prior to surgery, including age, overall health, and bone density. But the list above will give you an idea when you should begin to consider knee replacement surgery.
—Guest geeta

I think its time.

I am 33 years old and had knee surgery at the age of 18 years old due to the fact that I shattered half of my knee cap playing volleyball in school. I had my knee cap reconstructed with ligiments. But over the last year I have had extreme amounts of pain that have brought me to tears and my knee cap has started popping in and out again. Do you think I am thinking of knee replacement too soon? I am going to see my doctor about it asap.
—Guest TooYoung

It is time

I am 48 years old. My knee is now bone on bone. It hurts to walk and I am occasionally falling.
—Guest diane sholly

Total knee replacement

I just turned 70 and I go two the gym at least 5 days. I can walk up & down stairs with not too much pain. I am almost bone on bone with no cartilage. I do wear a brace when we walk a lot. I am afraid with surgery because I fear it would be worse...
—Guest taurus

Its time

I am 46 yrs old and have complete bone on bone. I have had osteochondritis since the age of 15 with many surgeries. I am just fed up and tired of living with knee pain. When my knees take over my thoughts for the majority of the day, then it is time. No more waiting because I am too young. I Am on the list now.
—Guest Cbee


total hip replaced in '09 rt knee pain, no cartilege, bone on bone, love playing tennis but told not to now, golf ok. Is replacement inevitable?
—Guest mary lou


I am a 70yr old female with bone on bone left knee and OA. I walk and climb stairs when the OA kicks in I take one step at a time. Do I wait when I cannot take the pain and would I be too old for surgery.
—Guest maygirl

Also struggling with decision.

I am 56, have bone-on-bone arthritis of lateral left knee and starting on the right. I’ve had the scope, shots , have curtailed activities, worn a brace, and taken various NSAIDS for years---long term those have their own side effects. I am amazed at how much older and more active than me some of the contributors are & with even more discomfort. Makes me ashamed to even think of my own pain....but hard to ignore it. When to do it considerations are what keep me holding on a little longer. Such as, younger you are more likelihood of outliving them and needing another replacement—and health at that time unpredictable. Too old and surgical risk is poorer and recovery time longer. But, that advice that “you will know when it is time for you…” My mom subscribed to that for many years…then when she decided it was the “right time”…her remaining bone structure was too deteriorated to work with. She will continue to suffer the rest of her days. That's why I may go sooner.
—Guest Guestdeddy

Which knee should I do first?

Both need a partial knee replacement. Only one at a time. The right had a scope in 2000. My left knee was scoped in 2003. I have tried to hold on because I had other health problems that could not be delayed. The pain is never gone. My right aches all the time and I can manage it but it is getting harder. My left knee really bothered me when I over did until the last few months. When cold weather and snow would be coming the left knee would hurt to the point I could not do anything. I had to ice it and take medication. It is the left one flares up and makes it impossible to do anything. But the flare ups are not consistent. The right leg does more with driving and aches everyday. The doc said to pick the one that is the worst...I am afraid I am going to make the wrong decision.

Knee Surgery

I am 62 moderately active (golf, walking, mountain biking). I have a bone on bone issue in the knee and I have discomfort. Is it sooner the better or wait until I am in real pain
—Guest Paul D.

I think it is time

I have had 4 operations on my right knee, the last one being a micro fracture (failed). I have run 88 marathons, used to play hockey, softball, Tennis and golf. Now I live each day with 1 hour of no pain. The doctor has tried cortisone, nerve blockers, pain meds, etc. Still in pain. I have very little arthritis but I have no lateral cartilage, bone on bone. I am 54 and the last two years have been hell. I have gained weight and have made activities a non-existent memory.
—Guest vtguy

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