Author Topic: Knee replacement surgery  (Read 780 times)

englishteacheralex

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Knee replacement surgery
« on: August 27, 2017, 09:46:07 AM »
Hi Mustache community,

My mom is 68 and had a knee replacement surgery in May. She is still in terrible pain and is worried that she's starting down the path of opioid addiction. She had the surgery done in LA because her brother lives there and she had a top-notch surgeon do it, but she lives near Albany NY, which is where she's been since June.

She is absolutely miserable and doesn't know what to do. She thought she'd feel better much sooner, and is very discouraged because her friends who had knee replacements were up and about in much less time.

She needs:

1. Recommendations for the right type of doctor to go see
2. Specific doctor recommendations in her area--Albany, NY (just figured I'd ask)
3. Encouragement that other people had extreme difficulty with their knee replacement surgeries as well, and eventually they healed.
4. Success stories that were pretty rough going there for a long while (see #3)
5. Pain management without opioids

Look, I know these are tall orders on a financial independence board, but I once got some incredibly good advice from several actual anaesthesiologists when I started a thread about epidurals, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

BTW...my mom is kind of crotchety and grumpy and a pretty terrible patient, which I'm sure is at least part of the problem.

Thanks for any help. Love this board.
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Miss Piggy

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 10:20:12 AM »
Did she do the recommended physical therapy after the surgery? If not, that could be a lot of the problem.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 10:48:28 AM »
Yeah, she's been good about going to the physical therapist. That's not her problem as far as grumpiness goes...she's more just a pain in the neck as a patient; always thinks she knows better than the doctors, and her personality type is that she is freakishly active at all times.

So when I call her, her reports about what she's doing with her time amaze me...20 mile bike rides, renovating her duplex (painting, cleaning, etc.)...all the activity would make ME tired, and she has just had the surgery. She just can't lay low, but maybe it's a use it or lose it situation where activity is good for it.

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markbike528CBX

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2017, 12:25:50 PM »
Posting to follow.   

My time for a knee replacement is coming up.   
I'm waiting so I can have one last my rest of my active life (25 years?).  I'm a little to young at this point to stretch it that far.  The knee is not slowing me down much faster than normal aging.

ooeei

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 05:58:24 AM »
Yeah, she's been good about going to the physical therapist. That's not her problem as far as grumpiness goes...she's more just a pain in the neck as a patient; always thinks she knows better than the doctors, and her personality type is that she is freakishly active at all times.

So when I call her, her reports about what she's doing with her time amaze me...20 mile bike rides, renovating her duplex (painting, cleaning, etc.)...all the activity would make ME tired, and she has just had the surgery. She just can't lay low, but maybe it's a use it or lose it situation where activity is good for it.

Is it possible things like 20 mile bike rides are actually not a great thing to do while recovering from surgery?  She might not be healing quickly enough because she's not doing what the doctor recommended. More is not always better.

GuitarStv

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 07:17:12 AM »
Cycling is generally recommended for rehab of a knee because it's pretty low stress and 20 miles is only about an hour on a bike . . . but it's certainly possible that it's overdoing things shortly after surgery.  If she needs to be active all the time (a mindset that I can certainly understand, because that's generally how I am too) see if you can get her to refocus that energy into some exercise/activity that doesn't use the legs as much but will still tire her out.  I have to rework my whole exercise routine to focus on arms, back, chest, and abs whenever I manage to hurt my legs.

ooeei

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 07:19:01 AM »
Cycling is generally recommended for rehab of a knee because it's pretty low stress and 20 miles is only about an hour on a bike . . . but it's certainly possible that it's overdoing things shortly after surgery.  If she needs to be active all the time (a mindset that I can certainly understand, because that's generally how I am too) see if you can get her to refocus that energy into some exercise/activity that doesn't use the legs as much but will still tire her out.  I have to rework my whole exercise routine to focus on arms, back, chest, and abs whenever I manage to hurt my legs.

Yeah it depends on the specifics of the ride. Going up hills, starting and stopping a lot, appropriate gearing and fit, etc.

20 miles just sounds like a lot for someone who has knee pain from replacement surgery, in my non-doctor opinion.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 09:20:39 AM »
My own speculation (I haven't seen her since before the surgery) is that she's doing too much and that the high activity levels aren't helping. However, her getting outside and doing stuff is probably fairly essential to her mental health, and she's probably decided the pain trade off is worth it.

A friend of mine's mother had a horrible time with knee replacement, too, and it took 18 months for her to feel better. Now she's thrilled with her knees, but it was horrible for quite a while. I put my mom in contact with the friend's mom. They had a good conversation, I'm told.

Glad this is getting bumped up on the board. Hoping somebody will comment with their story about knee replacement.
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Indio

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 09:41:52 AM »
My mother needs her 2nd knee replaced and I've been looking into renting an exoskeleton for a month after surgery to help with the recovery. Its supposed to improve recovery times significantly. It will make her more mobile and not delay physical therapy.

http://gizmodo.com/i-wore-a-bionic-leg-and-i-never-wanted-to-take-it-off-726536822

BlueHouse

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 01:25:12 PM »
My mom had both knees done at the same time and she had a difficult recovery.  One thing we had to convince her of was that her knees didn't hurt anymore, since they didn't exist.  We were trying to get her to define exactly what hurt, whether it could be where the bones were cut and pasted onto the new knees, but she was adamant that it was the knee itself.  We tried to get her to think about it differently to have a positive attitude -- explain that after years of her body compensating for painful knees, all of her other muscles now have to be retrained.  Or that ligaments were pushed around and may have been stretched.  Often times, when people know what the pain is from, it makes it easier to deal with.  It's the unknown element that makes certain pain unbearable to me. 

As for the opioids, can your mom switch over to ibuprofen and get off the opioids?  My mom was able to stop taking percocet on her 2nd week after surgery.  Constipation wasn't worth it. 
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soccerluvof4

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2017, 02:12:05 PM »
Not a doctor but sounds to me like she needs to at least try and listen to her body and see if that works. My guess is she is overdoing it and if the bike height isn't set just right that can make matters worse.
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BlueHouse

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2017, 02:45:40 PM »
Wanted to chime in again.  We just found out that one of my mom's knee replacements has failed and the cement that holds it in place is crumbling so the implant is out of position.  This has been causing my mother a great deal of pain -- just not everyday.  So she didn't say much about it for a while because she thought it was just more aches and pains from aging due to the coming and going of the pain. 

So maybe your mom needs an x-ray to verify that everything is okay/
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CindyBS

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Re: Knee replacement surgery
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2017, 03:38:19 PM »
Not exactly a knee replacement story, but my son has Avascular Necrosis, also called osteonecrosis.  The ends of his bones have dead tissue related to cancer treatment and it affects both knees - the tops of the tibias and the bottom of the femurs as well as 1 hip. 

He was on a ton of opiates earlier this year and then he started Gabapentin - also called Neurotin.  It blocks the pain receptors in the brain.  With the exception of an oxy here and there, he is completely off opiates.  Previously he was on them almost all day long.    May be worth a try.   Good Luck.