Gail, I'm 62. My knee was injured when I was 28. For the past 5 years, I'd been having pain off and on. It would be very painful when I walked, then would subside. At times I had to use a cane. For the past couple of years, it had been hurting more or less all the time, and in the past six months even to the point of waking me at night. I've been going up and down stairs with both feet on each step, and couldn't walk more than a couple of blocks.
Surgery was first suggested about
5 years ago, and my ortho in Austin gave me several courses of Hyalgan to keep me going. (I wanted to wait until I quit working to have surgery.) When I went to the ortho here after we moved, he took standing x-rays and then said he didn't even need to look at my MRI because my knee joint was completely trashed. No cartilage left on the medial condoyle at all.
Be aware that even after surgery, there are certain activities that are restricted - primarily those that increase the stress or torque on the knee. Things like impact arobics, skiing, etc. The issue is that they increase wear on the implant. The traditional wisdom has been that the implants last about
ten years, and then need to be replaced. Re-doing a joint is much more complicated than the first surgery. Some doctors and manufacturers are now saying that they're lasting more like 20-25, but I don't know exactly how reliable that is.
If you do a Google search for "knee replacement" you'll find a lot of information for patients considering surgery.
Good luck and pain-free days!
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Moderate to severe left-sided UC diagnosed 2001.
Flared for 5 years, finally in remission with Remicade since March 2006.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroids.
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