Knee replacement with neuropathy in legs

Posted by tcokeefe @tcokeefe, Mon, Aug 12 6:45am

I have bone on bone arthritis in one knee and have been told I will probably need a knee replacement in the near future. I also have advanced peripheral neuropathy in both legs. Several years ago I had bunion surgery, and the nerves in one foot in the big toe were completely dead after the surgery and the toe is deader than a door Nail and the toe has no muscle control and crosses over worse than before surgery. Anyway, my fear is having any further nerve damage as a result of knee surgery, and have read articles where some people who had neuropathy have ended up with foot drop as a result of nerve damage from knee replacement surgery. This really scares me because I’m afraid I would end up without the use of my leg or end up with extreme difficulty walking as a result of trying to improve my knee pain. Has anyone out there had a knee replacement who also had advanced neuropathy in their leg?

Hello @tcokeefe, Welcome to Connect. I had a total knee replacement on my right knee this past April. I also had similar concerns since I have small fiber peripheral neuropathy. There is alway a risk of nerve damage and it's a good thing to discuss with the surgeon and the care team. The anesthesiologist explained the risks prior to the knee replacement. I would definitely talk to your surgeon and have them explain the risks. Here's an article that kind of explains the risk.

Tourniquet cuff pressure and nerve injury in knee arthroplasty in a bloodless field
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639336/

You may want to join the following discussion where you can meet other members who have shared their knee replacement surgery experience.

> Groups > Joint Replacements > My Knee Replacement Surgery Experience
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/my-knee-replacement-surgery-experience/

Have you talked to your surgeon about your risk of nerve damage? I'm tagging @JustinMcClanahan @debbraw and @contentandwell to see if they have any experience they can share with you.

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Thanks so much, John! I appreciate the info and links! I've also been reading that Mayo is working towards safe stem cell for knees and hope maybe I can hold out with cortisone and/or gel until that becomes a viable option to surgery!

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I had both knees replaced 10 years ago. Best thing I ever did at the time. I was very active and my knees wore out with skiing, biking and running. The surgery got me back to everything except running. I am now 69 years old. I had a little numbness in both my feet prior to the surgery and it got a little worse every year after. A year ago both feet dropped and I am 80 % numb below my knees in both legs. I have little balance and need braces and a cain to walk. Falling is a problem. The good news is I have no pain. Is my condition due to the surgery 10 years ago? I think the knee replacements had some effect on my condition but the doctors aren't 100% sure. I have tried a number of remedies to try to get feeling back with no success. Anyone out there have any ideas?

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@ericvnelson

I had both knees replaced 10 years ago. Best thing I ever did at the time. I was very active and my knees wore out with skiing, biking and running. The surgery got me back to everything except running. I am now 69 years old. I had a little numbness in both my feet prior to the surgery and it got a little worse every year after. A year ago both feet dropped and I am 80 % numb below my knees in both legs. I have little balance and need braces and a cain to walk. Falling is a problem. The good news is I have no pain. Is my condition due to the surgery 10 years ago? I think the knee replacements had some effect on my condition but the doctors aren't 100% sure. I have tried a number of remedies to try to get feeling back with no success. Anyone out there have any ideas?

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I'm so sorry about your situation! This is the problem with neurological issues so much of the time: there's no real way to know why it started, when it started, what may or may not have caused it….. I wish I had heard of a remedy but I haven't. My neuropathy is progressive and has gone from mild numbness in my one ankle to full-bore pain/numbness 24/7 in both legs from soles of my feet to my hips. Walking is painful but I can still walk, and I am very grateful for that. I hope you find some help and if you do, please post it everywhere!!! Thanks for sharing your story!

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@ericvnelson

I had both knees replaced 10 years ago. Best thing I ever did at the time. I was very active and my knees wore out with skiing, biking and running. The surgery got me back to everything except running. I am now 69 years old. I had a little numbness in both my feet prior to the surgery and it got a little worse every year after. A year ago both feet dropped and I am 80 % numb below my knees in both legs. I have little balance and need braces and a cain to walk. Falling is a problem. The good news is I have no pain. Is my condition due to the surgery 10 years ago? I think the knee replacements had some effect on my condition but the doctors aren't 100% sure. I have tried a number of remedies to try to get feeling back with no success. Anyone out there have any ideas?

Jump to this post

Hi Eric @ericvnelson, I had my right knee replaced in April. I have idiopathic small fiber peripheral neuropathy without the pain, only have the numbness. Currently it is in both legs and a little above the ankles. I take supplements I found through a closed Facebook group. I posted my PN story earlier on Connect here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anyone-here-dealing-with-peripheral-neuropathy/?pg=42#comment-65985

I too have balance issues and a little trouble walking for very far due to what I think is lower back problems – degenerative disc disease. I am planning to try Myofascial Release Therapy as soon as I can find a therapist close to where I live. It does sound promising for relieving some of the numbness from people who have had the therapy. You might want to look into the discussion here on Connect.

> Groups > Neuropathy > Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) for treating compression and pain
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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Welcome to Connect, @tcokeefe As @johnbishop said, I have also had two TKRs. I am one of the fortunate ones who has never had nerve problems, or tightness around the knees after surgery. I did have extreme pain that reduced me to tears a few times after the second surgery, but it passed in six of seven weeks and all has been great since then. After my second TKR I was able to resume a very active life with quite a bit of exercise and walking. If you proceed with having a TKR I would suggest that you thoroughly research the surgeon. I firmly believe that makes a huge difference. I have never heard of anyone not having a great recovery from a TKR with the surgeon I used.

@ericvnelson I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. You have obviously been a very active person so this must be doubly hard on you to have such a problem. I hope you manage to find some help with it.
JK

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