I need a TKR: Do I do it, or go as long as I can?

Posted by happyat76 @happyat76, Oct 30, 2019

I was told in January of this year that I need a TKR as there is bone rubbing on bone, no cartilage in my left knee. I was seen by an Orthopaedic surgeon in a hospital and I saw the x-ray myself. My question is this. I can still walk, although my knee gives out sometimes, I have a throbbing pain constantly and I do have some troubling walking. I can’t walk far. What should I do? Should I book the operation? Should ?I let it go for a while longer? What will be the outcome if wait? I am 78 now and really don’t want to go through with this, but am worried that I may end up in a wheelchair not being able to walk. I am also about 50 lbs. overweight. I have a bad back also. I would appreciate any suggestions.

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I would wait as long as you can. They don't tell you that you will not be able to do simple things like walk in your yard on even ground, kneel to pull weeds, walk in the snow, chase after that fun grandchild, carry that baby up and down stairs, enjoy long walks in nature. Those sites for recommendations are not always reliable, more like paid advertisements. Ask for personal experiences, and DO talk about the custom Conformis or how the size for you will be decided. Take as long as you need….Good Luck!

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I could not agree with you more….
Doctors talk as if it is the thing to do, without much discussion on what happens after it is done….


I went through what you are going through now.
8 years ago I had the shots and my knees felt like I was 20 years old again!
9 mo ago it suddenly came back. Every week it seemed to worsen.
I had the shots again but with no effect. X-rays- severe osteoarthritis.
Every week I was able to do one last chore. I went to pT for a month which helped a little.
2 weeks later – I no longer could walk at all. I've had chronic severe pain before it this is ridiculous! I've been in a recliner 24/7 since then. Now I'm getting contractors in my hip and knees.
What I would think about:
– You could end up in a wheelchair without the surgery.
– You are only going to get older (sigh) and that may mean a higher surgical risk.
– you mentioned a bad back and being overweight. It makes it hard to lose weight before the surgery. You may want to have one knee some at a time. Consider going to a short-term rehab center.
I'm scheduled to go to Mayo in May.
Best wishes to you. Stay positive. I'll text after I have mine done.


I don't understand the comments about "size issues". Are they putting in new knee parts using the wrong size? Or is your physical knee a bad size to replace?


My own experience I had tkr never was able to get rom more than 65 …after 6 months of dr telling me all in my head , went for another opinion…..my knee was 3 sizes too big …. Had revision at 1 year doing so much better…. I spoke to two lawyers turns out dr are within their legal right to put 2-3 sizes larger with no repercussions, they can say adjustments due to arthritis …..so watch your dr your going to , my first dr did not use mako robotics…I made sure my second dr used mako robotics


Once bone on bone, it doesn't get better. My experience included 5 tough years of waiting, had a metal knee brace during that time, which helped. I counted my steps to the front door of the mall judging how many more steps could I handle before exhaustion once in the mall. Looking back, I lost all those years of limited mobility, pain…. AND a very bad back that ultimately caused nerve damage, foot drop. I had two back surgeries to minimize the damage. Why a bad back? It was to due to years of limping! I was 55! Don't wait. Your big job now is to find a GREAT, highly recommended doctor. Once I got my knee, my back miraculously improved! From 55 to 70, I enjoyed pain free mobility. This year, at 70, I had a hip replacement. Years of limping??? My new hip is four months old and I'm back swinging a golf club and doing the gym three times a week. Find a great ortho surgeon. Don't wait.


I was told same thing years ago – thing I didn't think about (and no one told me), as you adapt to your injury, you may loose muscle mass and soft tissue strength; or, they may all adapt to a new knee position (before TKR, my knee was badly bent and I couldn't straighten all the way). I waited for many reasons, had the surgery last August; but because my muscles/soft tissue were so out of wack, it has been very painful strengthening them again to a correct position. Not sure if this makes sense – my 2 cents, I would not wait; talk to different docs (not just surgeon, cause they will say do it now – talk to other orthos, PTs) about what ifs if you do wait. My other knee I just had Xray'd, gonna stay on top of it, will not wait. Good luck.

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