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Author Topic: Help with Osteoarthritis!  (Read 859 times)

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Offline samhowl46

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Help with Osteoarthritis!
« on: November 09, 2013, 01:12:25 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm hoping some of you can offer some help/advise....

I was hit by a car 13 years ago and as a result of the leg break I was diagnosed with severe post traumatic osteoarthris in my right knee. At the time this caused me to stop playing sports (I used to play hockey 4-5 times a week).

6 months ago I managed to get up the courage to try roller derby and I love it! The only problem is the pain in my knee is stopping me from participating in most of our training sessions and is also making my work suffer as I have a job that involves me standing up for most of the day and I have the pain in my right knee pretty much 24/7. The left knee suffers a little, along with lower back pain which doctors have told me is because I'm not distributing the weight evenly because of the original injury.

The original injury was probably made worse in that A&E failed to notice the break (down the middle of the shin with the right side depressed by approx 2") on the day and it was only picked up on and operated on 15 days later! (no crutches or anything on A&E discharge)

The first operation was a bone graft from my hip to fill the depressed shin on top. I've also had 6 lots of keyhole surgery to clean up loose cartilage.
Then in 2006 I had (i think its callled...) a wedge osteotomy? Where they cut my thigh bone to realign the load on the knee and held it in place with metal plates.
The metal work was removed in approx 2009.
The last consultant I saw was in 2010, and he was the third medical professional to say the only way to fix my knee was a total knee replacement which they refused to do as I am too young (I'm 30). I've also had acupuncture and synvisc injections which did not improve the pain levels at all. I've had physio on and off since the accident.

I moved back near london and my new GP refused to refer me to a consultant/specialist as he said that they still won't replace the knee and it would be a waste of time. For the past 10 years I have been prescribed Tramadol, Gabapentin and Naproxen. Not a shocker really that these no longer really work.

I'm really fed up of osteoarthritis making my life miserable and i'd really like to continue with roller derby and my job.

Can anyone advise anything that may help reduce the pain???? I've tried various over the counter sprays, creams and rubs. Maybe a knee brace would help but I have no idea which one I'd need and when asking my GP he said he wasn't sure and I should google it (I did, and couldnt find the answers i needed)

I would very much appreciate any help.....(sorry for the long post)



Offline bizzylizzie

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Re: Help with Osteoarthritis!
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2013, 09:20:07 PM »
Hi there, sounds like you've really been through it. I have a similar problem in that I've been told I need a knee replacement but I'm too young (I'm 31) and like you struggle with daily pain and doing my job etc. I've abandoned the same cocktail of drugs as like you say after a while they do nothing!

Anyway I'd like to offer you lots of hope but there seems to be limited options. But having said that my consultant has said there are options along the line of cartilage replacement that may improve the pain and delay the need for a knee replacement for a few years. I'm seeing him again next week to talk these through in more detail and decide upon a course of action.

These may not be an option for you but certainly I'd suggest you don't accept your doctors opinion it would be a waste of time to see someone. I've been passed around a few consultants who all scratched their heads and said yes its really bad but we don't know what to do so just get on with it! But fortunately my own doctor has been very good and one of these consultants recommended my current consultant could help. Its been a battle and I now have to travel half way across the country but to not be given up and offered a chance to improve things is worth it.

So my real advise is don't accept your doctors brush off, I totally understand how frustrating and miserable it is and it is not right that he should tell you its a waste of time. There may not be any other options for you but you are entitled to the right to find out for definite from somebody who knows what they are talking about and knee replacements in young people are not unheard of even though rare.

Offline JOW_103

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Re: Help with Osteoarthritis!
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 06:31:36 PM »
Sounds like you've gone through a variety of surgical options and not really had the pain relief that you would have expected.  I would have thought the osteotomy would have helped as the goal for you is to get the weight off of the damaged area in your knee especially if it is in only one of the compartments. 

You don't mention is your OA is confined to just one compartment of your knee but if it is and you want to consider a brace you should look into what's called an unloading knee brace.  This is a custom fit brace which will take the weight off the damaged part of your knee and distribute the weight to the undamaged area.

If you have bone on bone, then nothing other than a a knee replacement or partial knee replacement is going to get rid of the pain.

I had a partial knee done in April of this year and it finally eliminated my pain.  I am going in for my second PKR in December of this year as my right knee is also bone on bone.  I had tried Synvisc, unloading knee brace, etc and nothing worked for me.  My OS considered an HTO but determined that it would likely not get rid of the pain entirely and felt the PKR was a better option.

Will your OS consider this as an option as opposed to a TKR?  Why remove bone and soft tissue in areas that aren't damaged as the PKR will relieve your pain and the surgery and recovery isn't as difficult as a TKR.

Short of the brace and finding an OS who can help you manage the pain not much you can do based on what you are describing in your post other than knee replacement, either TKR or PKR.

Good luck.