Im in my late 20s but have had knee osteoarthritis since I was 23. I developed this due to trauma from an injury in my late teens and subsequent ligament reconstruction at age 21. I always knew I would develop osteoarthritis as a result of the injury, but wasn't expecting to have symptoms until my 40's (which feels like forever away when you are 21!). I planned on an active lifestyle with racquet sports, skiing, tramping/hiking, travel, and a pretty full on career. Instead I ended up limping around at work and unable to even go for a half hour walk without experiencing sharp pains, and frequent aching pains at rest. This has had a pretty devastating effect on my mental health and my progress in life. I find planning for the future difficult and instead invest most of my energy into trying to 'fix' my knee (something I am aware I am unlikely to achieve). I feel lonely with this problem because none of my peers are experiencing anything similar, and sadly it has hurt my relationships. I want to connect with some people in their 20's and 30's who have experienced a similar ordeal, to hear their stories and perspectives, and to be able to share mine.
Here is a bit of info about my situation:
I began having symptoms 3 months into my first 'real' job that I had studied 6 years for. My job involved 15 hour days at least once a week on top of normal 8 to 9 hour days. A lot of that time I was expected to be on my feet. I really struggled and had to battle my employers to get my hours reduced, I ended up taking several months of unpaid leave to focus on physiotherapy but only achieved minimal progress through this. Last year I had a stem cell procedure, the harvesting procedure had some unintended consequences which is a whole other story....I would be happy to elaborate if anyone is interested. Due to the unintended consequences I became more depressed and lost some of my drive to rehabilitate my knee. I am finding it easier to get around work now but outside of work am not pushing my knee as hard as I was before the stem cells so it is hard to know if I have definitely had an improvement or not. I also wore an ossur unloader brace for 6 months post stem cells so that may have contributed to any improvement I experienced.
If there are young people with postraumatic osteoarthritis out their then please reply, it will be appreciated and maybe we can make sense of some things with each other's help!
To end on a hopeful note: it is my great hope that new advances with stem cells will provide a treatment that is less invasive than knee replacements, can be done at for young people, can be done in earlier stages of OA to prevent worsening, and will better replicate biology/biomechanics to allow for a more functional result.