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As 2019 is coming to a close, and as I sit here and type this, I’m roughly 17 weeks post-op a partial knee replacement. I think back to January when I finally had enough of my bad knee, the pain, and lackluster life I was living and went to the doctor. In a way, it was my big goal or new year’s resolution for this year. A new knee for the new year. I’m guessing if you have read this far, you are debating on having a knee replacement, and your thinking a new knee for the new year sounds pretty good. First off, I’m sorry you’re going through that. I understand entirely how much the pain sucks. I hope you find comfort, information, or entertainment in my stories, and as always, feel free to contact me with any more detailed questions you might have.
That time between Christmas and the New Year is unique. Everyone is reflecting on the last year they had, and setting new goals or resolutions for the upcoming year. Now I have some pretty strong feelings on new year’s resolutions, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I want to express two major reasons why you shouldn’t put off knee replacement surgery any longer. Make your 2020 goal or new year’s resolution taking care of yourself and your knees.
Should You Wait To Get a Knee Replacement?
First off, always consult your doctor to help make the best medical decision on your knee health. Each individual is going to have their own unique Bad Knee story. No one is going to have the perfect or right answer in the end beside you. Looking back on my decision, from this stage of the knee recovery process, I’m kicking myself for not researching options sooner and not fighting for a better life for my family and myself much earlier than January 2019.
Reason 1: PAIN
How Much Pain Is Too Much Before Knee Replacement Surgery?
If you are like I was and struggling with daily pain that is debilitating your quality of life. Why wait and suffer any longer than you already have? For me, it was not able to play with my kids, ride a bike, and I couldn’t even enjoy family outings to festivals fully because I would have to sit down due to pain. You deserve better than that. I wish I had someone telling me that, and I actually would listen. You do not have to suffer any longer than you already have. Period.
Am I just trading one type of pain for another?
Yes, in a way, you are trading one type of pain for another. But, post knee replacement pain, as bad as it gets at times (read more about it HERE), does have an endpoint. It doesn’t, or shouldn’t, last forever. Right around week eight of post-op is when I felt significant relief in the pain. It was a fantastic feeling. But even Surgery Day, the pain wasn’t the same. It wasn’t that nagging, stop you in your tracks chronic pain. That little voice in the back of your mind reminding you to walk a certain way, take the elevators instead of the stairs, and even it is telling you to sit in a higher chair because it will hurt too much to get back up if you sit in the comfortable lower one. Sadly, chronic knee pain will not ever completely go away unless you take extreme measures. In our case, that is knee replacement surgery.
REASON 2: WEIGHT GAIN
Gaining More Weight By Waiting
If you are unable to control your weight, you should consider starting the conversation about a new knee for the new year. This one is difficult but essential. I gained roughly 100 lbs over 12 years of having chronic knee pain. Wow, that’s a tough one to see actually in writing. Phew… I loved myself for who I was and didn’t give much thought to my weight when I was living with chronic pain. But was I leading the best life for my family and me? Adding fatigue, the start of other medical conditions to chronic knee pain, was not what I had in mind for a younger lady of 30 years old. The number on the scale, the size of my clothes didn’t matter, but not even trying to be the best version of myself did matter as it should matter to everyone. You deserve to try and fight to give you your best self.
Do you have to lose weight before knee surgery?
I had heard rumors that some surgeons wouldn’t even touch me if I was over a certain weight. This was partly the reason I held back. I think, for researching options sooner. The fear of rejection. The fear of being told you have to lose the weight. I know its more comfortable for me to sit and type all this now that I’m doing it, working at it. TRYING. I know January 2019 Alicia wasn’t fully ready for what was in store, but she at least took the first step, going to see the doctor.
When I went to see the doctor on that cold day in early January, he explained to me how for every pound lost its 4 pounds of pressure off your knees. FOUR POUNDS. (Insert moment for picking up the pieces from the mind-blowing experience that just happened) Quick math, say you lost 5 pounds. That would be 20 pounds of your knees. That’s a big bag of dog food or two big sacks of potatoes. Just wow. Here is an article from WebMD explaining this in further detail.
The doctor also revealed that he wasn’t perturbed about my weight, but the recovery after the partial knee replacement would go far more smoothly, the more weight I lost prior. It was totally up to me. I fell in love with that doctor right then and there. He didn’t preach to me or bark at me to lose weight. He just gave me the facts, then left it into my control. If I wanted to make an already challenging recovery easier on myself, I’d have to put in some effort beforehand. Each surgeon is different, but I highly advise you find one you equally as comfortable with as I was. It makes every part of your knee replacement journey a little easier.
Worth it to lose the weight?
Now, let’s tie all this weight talk back to why I think you shouldn’t wait as long as me to get a knee replacement. Imagine if you don’t let yourself gain as much as I did, and all that extra pressure on your knees. Maybe not as much damage would be done on the bones themselves? How much more comfortable moving around right after surgery could be, or how many less lousy eating habits would be formed if you correct it sooner than later. And ultimately, less weight to lose overall to be at the best version of yourself with the new life your new knee is going to give you.
Will You Get A New Knee For The New Year in 2020?
Happy New Year, knee friends!
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.
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