Let's talk about Knee pain. Anybody else?

Grandpa Don

Super Active Member
Sep 5, 2018
1,631
Southern California
My story. I'm a 76 years old male, and in good health. But I have a problem with my right knee. It started about two years ago while on a camping trip. The onset was sudden. There wasn't the slightest hint of a problem before. I don't remember doing anything to hurt it. I just woke up in the middle of the night with an ache in the right knee. It was, and still is, very localized. I can put my finger right on the spot about 2 /12 inches down from the knee cap and on the inside of my leg. The ache came and went for the week I was up in the mountains. Advil generally worked to stop the ache. From my layman's research I was convinced I had a torn ligament on the right side of my right knee. Over the next couple of months the problem came and went until I decided to see a Doctor. X-rays showed that I had a torn Meniscus and some arthritis. There was talk about laparoscopic surgery to repair it, but it was decided to try injections and a brace first. I have now been getting injections and wearing the brace for 2 1/2 years. The pain has been perfectly tolerable for all this time. It comes and goes. Particularly if I step wrong out of the camper and twist the leg a bit. There will be a sharp pain, and then it goes away. There is absolutely no pain at all when I walk. I can climb hills and take a hike with no discomfort at all. But if I put my right foot wrong or twist it on a rock I feel a snapping sensation in the knee and a sharp pain for just a second or two. It has not gotten any worse in 2 1/2 years. But I'm tired of it!

So that's my story. Now here's my questions to the forum folks. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, what did you do about it. My Doctor is hinting at total knee replacement surgery. But I just don't see where it is bad enough for that. If you have had knee replacement surgery, how are you doing. Has it affected you activities while camping. How soon after surgery did you go camping? I know everyone is different, but tell me what you think and how you are doing now.
 

Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
2,991
DFW, TX
I deal with knee injuries at work a lot - construction workers who get injured on the job. Every single one that gets diagnosed with a tear ends up with surgery, and usually within a couple months. Those that do injections usually end up with surgery after the 2nd round anyway. Very rarely do I see someone end up with a knee replacement, and usually that will be an older worker. Those that did the surgery are usually back to work after 6-8 weeks, and often with minimal impairment. Those are mostly workers in the 25-50 year range though.
 

Grandpa Don

Super Active Member
Sep 5, 2018
1,631
Southern California
I deal with knee injuries at work a lot - construction workers who get injured on the job. Every single one that gets diagnosed with a tear ends up with surgery, and usually within a couple months. Those that do injections usually end up with surgery after the 2nd round anyway. Very rarely do I see someone end up with a knee replacement, and usually that will be an older worker. Those that did the surgery are usually back to work after 6-8 weeks, and often with minimal impairment. Those are mostly workers in the 25-50 year range though.
I'm think that my problem has been misdiagnosed. I'm beginning to think the Doctor wants to do the replacement just for the money. He knows that my insurance will pay 100% of the cost, so it won't hurt me financially. For the first 2 years I was seen by a Nurse Practitioner in his office. The NP never talked about Knee replacement. Then the last time I went in for my routine appointment, I got the real Doctor. And right out of the box he started talking about how he has done thousands of Knee replacements. I just don't know what to think.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,730
Nj
Might be age related for the replacement. Im younder and have the same problem. So far, as your do, i just deal with it. When it gets worse I'll do the repair. When im your age, I'll probably fet new knees. Who knows.
 

BikeNFish

Super Active Member
Apr 24, 2017
4,360
Maplewood, MN
It sure does not seem to me that you are at the point that surgery is your only option. Get a second opinion. If you have a meniscus tear, only an MRI will be able to tell.

I tore my meniscus 40 years ago, had arthroscopic surgery to "repair" (remove the tear) it and I have not had one single issue with it since. I have known quite a few people that have had meniscus tears and only surgery has worked for them.

My wife has had both knees replaced (partial replacements) but she had no other choices left after PT, injections and meds. Both replacements change her life. Before surgery, she could barely walk. After surgery she has become more active than she has ever been in her life.
 

NLB

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2021
392
West Palm Beach, Florida
The advise to get a second opinion is spot on. And maybe a third. (Even if your insurance expects you to pay for them).
You didn’t say that you have had an MRI. X-ray will not show any soft tissue issues that may exist.
(I didn’t stay at a holiday inn last night, but I did have two hip replacements almost 20 years ago.) If you are not totally comfortable with the current Doc, you need to seek additional information and treatment options.
Obtain copies of your X-rays and the radiologist written report.
IMHO, you get the care that you demand, including rehab from a qualified orthopedic physical therapist.
 

Grandpa Don

Super Active Member
Sep 5, 2018
1,631
Southern California
Get another opinion from a specialist before any descisions.
Yes, a second opinion is what I want. But with my insurance, I need a referral from my Doctor. I saw him three weeks ago. I told him i wanted a second opinion. So he ordered more X-rays. When they came in, all he said was that I have arthritis in the knee. His nurse relayed that to me on the phone. But I do have an appointment with him next month. After talking with the insurance company, they said that I could get see a different Doctor, but I had to have the referral from my Doctor first. I'm working on it... !
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,487
Northern Virginia
I’m with the others to get a second opinion. I tore my MCL once and primary doctor just thought it was a simple sprain as the X-rays showed nothing. Went to see a specialist and got an MRI done where they discovered almost a complete tear of the MCL. Thankfully due to my age and athletic ability he figured physical therapy, a special brace, anti inflammatory meds, would help heal it. Although surgery was also a possibility. I honestly was surprised how well physical therapy helped in my case. It was a very long time before I felt better. crazy as it sounds when the knee begins to ache I will go back to my old exercises and find it helps. Don’t know why. Personally if your knee doesn’t hurt all the time I wonder if physical therapy could be a possibility for you vrs surgery for the time being. I understand surgery for someone who has complete ongoing knee problems and severe pain. a Friend of mine was in that boat once and decided to get one knee replaced and she was very glad she did. Her other knee needs to be done, but she is waiting. Good luck.
 

Tonya Harding

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2018
1,801
Virginia
As a disabled vet, I've been to the VA body shop numerous times top to bottom, also had a couple of civilian ortho docs give me advice; as stated above, I'd get a second opinion as well...
 

Grandpa Don

Super Active Member
Sep 5, 2018
1,631
Southern California
It sure does not seem to me that you are at the point that surgery is your only option. Get a second opinion. If you have a meniscus tear, only an MRI will be able to tell.

I tore my meniscus 40 years ago, had arthroscopic surgery to "repair" (remove the tear) it and I have not had one single issue with it since. I have known quite a few people that have had meniscus tears and only surgery has worked for them.

My wife has had both knees replaced (partial replacements) but she had no other choices left after PT, injections and meds. Both replacements change her life. Before surgery, she could barely walk. After surgery she has become more active than she has ever been in her life.
Tell me about the symptoms your wife had. Was her pain constant? Could she walk without pain sometimes.
Where was the pain, all over the knee or localized? I just have no experience with this and am having a hard time with the need for major surgery. I don't have any pain at all when I walk. Yesterday I rode my Quad for 16 miles out in the desert. I was constantly getting on and off of the Quad to explore things out there. I have not had any pain, other than an occasional slight ache at night, for about a week now. I did forget to mention that I had an injection last December 29th. The new med injected was called SYNVISC/SYNVISC-ONE.

I don't want to have anything major done that would cause me to miss camping season this summer. The camper is all ready to go. The first trip is scheduled for May 15th. I can't wait!
 

TrailManorMan

Member
May 17, 2017
37
NE Ohio
At your age you could be bone on bone a common issue, I am 75 and have the same symptoms.
I need a knee replacement but keep tolerating the pain. If you have what I have and it sounds that way it only gets worse. Get a second opinion then schedule a replacement for late October as I will do!
 

BikeNFish

Super Active Member
Apr 24, 2017
4,360
Maplewood, MN
Tell me about the symptoms your wife had. Was her pain constant? Could she walk without pain sometimes.
Where was the pain, all over the knee or localized? I just have no experience with this and am having a hard time with the need for major surgery. I don't have any pain at all when I walk. Yesterday I rode my Quad for 16 miles out in the desert. I was constantly getting on and off of the Quad to explore things out there. I have not had any pain, other than an occasional slight ache at night, for about a week now. I did forget to mention that I had an injection last December 29th. The new med injected was called SYNVISC/SYNVISC-ONE.

I don't want to have anything major done that would cause me to miss camping season this summer. The camper is all ready to go. The first trip is scheduled for May 15th. I can't wait!
Her pain varied day to day depending on how active she was that day. The more active, the more pain. But yes, she had pain all the time. At the end, she could not walk without pain.

I am NOT a doctor, but I do have experience through my wife's experiences. I no not understand how a doctor can bring up "knee replacement" with your symptoms. I have had experience with at least four others with meniscus tears and they all mention that they had days that they had no pain then the pain would come back the next day.

My meniscus tear was different. I had constant pain and swelling and was on crutches for months until my surgery. After being on crutches for three months, I was off the crutches a week after surgery. BTW, I had x-rays twice before the MRI found the tear.

With all that being said, from my experiences, your arthritis could very well be the cause of your pain. That is how my wife's pain started, with some arthritic pain, then it took YEARS to get to the point of needing the knee replacements.
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,730
Nj
I think it all dependa on how and where the rip in the meniscus is. So, a slight rip may have come and go pain, a larger one is an operation, and as said above if there is no cartilage left, a knee replacement. You can try the plasma stuff and such, but at your age it may just be replacement. Mine was described to me as a peice of paper, my tare is small and on the side , so rip the paper, sometimes when this paper rotates it folds back on itself, pain. Other times it looks like a normal peice of paper no pain. When mine acts up I get a bakers cyst, swelling, behind the knee. Mine can also be fixed with orthoscopic surgery. But as it comes and goes , I live with it for now. Get a second opinion and more options. But, go camping, and get it fixed in the off season if it isnt horrible.

 

Groomporter

Active Member
Jan 30, 2021
378
Minnesota
I periodically have had problems with one of my knees esepcially back when I was working in a library and on my feet most of the time. I realized I was wearing the same low--heeled shoes all the time and when I started rotating shoes more often it went away. Now I'm having intermittent problems again and I think it's a partially lack of exercise, so I'm looking forward to warmer weather and riding my bike again for errands.
 

mheijoh

New Member
Apr 4, 2016
1
My story. I'm a 76 years old male, and in good health. But I have a problem with my right knee. It started about two years ago while on a camping trip. The onset was sudden. There wasn't the slightest hint of a problem before. I don't remember doing anything to hurt it. I just woke up in the middle of the night with an ache in the right knee. It was, and still is, very localized. I can put my finger right on the spot about 2 /12 inches down from the knee cap and on the inside of my leg. The ache came and went for the week I was up in the mountains. Advil generally worked to stop the ache. From my layman's research I was convinced I had a torn ligament on the right side of my right knee. Over the next couple of months the problem came and went until I decided to see a Doctor. X-rays showed that I had a torn Meniscus and some arthritis. There was talk about laparoscopic surgery to repair it, but it was decided to try injections and a brace first. I have now been getting injections and wearing the brace for 2 1/2 years. The pain has been perfectly tolerable for all this time. It comes and goes. Particularly if I step wrong out of the camper and twist the leg a bit. There will be a sharp pain, and then it goes away. There is absolutely no pain at all when I walk. I can climb hills and take a hike with no discomfort at all. But if I put my right foot wrong or twist it on a rock I feel a snapping sensation in the knee and a sharp pain for just a second or two. It has not gotten any worse in 2 1/2 years. But I'm tired of it!

So that's my story. Now here's my questions to the forum folks. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, what did you do about it. My Doctor is hinting at total knee replacement surgery. But I just don't see where it is bad enough for that. If you have had knee replacement surgery, how are you doing. Has it affected you activities while camping. How soon after surgery did you go camping? I know everyone is different, but tell me what you think and how you are doing now.
I too had a meniscus tear and arthritis in both knees. Had my first knee replacement surgery at age 55. The other one when I was 56. No looking back! They get you up walking almost immediately after the surgery. I had to do my exercises before and after the surgeries as recommended plus some to get good muscle support but I've been pain free since with absolutely no regrets! Ok, one regret....I now set off the metal detectors at the airports! Grrrr! My doctor told me I would outlive the replacements and will have to have them done again after 15-20 years but I'm ok with that cuz they helped me so much! Just make sure you do the work with walking and exercise (biking, swimming etc.) to get the full benefits of your knee replacements! Don't suffer with the pain and discomfort any longer than you have to! Take care please!
 

Snowman

Active Member
Jul 12, 2017
163
Boulder, CO
If it's a meniscus (your symptoms sound like mine did) then an MRI will show that. The repair on that is pretty non-invasive (how is that a thing? They enter a scope inside you - an invasion in my book...) arthroscopic procedure that is complete in a few hours. After that, those weird tweaks that I would get if I stepped wrong or bent my knee wrong disappeared forever.
I'd definitely get some soft tissue pictures before I went full on knee replacement. Especially if you can generally walk without pain most of the time.
 

Lenee

New Member
Apr 22, 2019
2
My story. I'm a 76 years old male, and in good health. But I have a problem with my right knee. It started about two years ago while on a camping trip. The onset was sudden. There wasn't the slightest hint of a problem before. I don't remember doing anything to hurt it. I just woke up in the middle of the night with an ache in the right knee. It was, and still is, very localized. I can put my finger right on the spot about 2 /12 inches down from the knee cap and on the inside of my leg. The ache came and went for the week I was up in the mountains. Advil generally worked to stop the ache. From my layman's research I was convinced I had a torn ligament on the right side of my right knee. Over the next couple of months the problem came and went until I decided to see a Doctor. X-rays showed that I had a torn Meniscus and some arthritis. There was talk about laparoscopic surgery to repair it, but it was decided to try injections and a brace first. I have now been getting injections and wearing the brace for 2 1/2 years. The pain has been perfectly tolerable for all this time. It comes and goes. Particularly if I step wrong out of the camper and twist the leg a bit. There will be a sharp pain, and then it goes away. There is absolutely no pain at all when I walk. I can climb hills and take a hike with no discomfort at all. But if I put my right foot wrong or twist it on a rock I feel a snapping sensation in the knee and a sharp pain for just a second or two. It has not gotten any worse in 2 1/2 years. But I'm tired of it!

So that's my story. Now here's my questions to the forum folks. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, what did you do about it. My Doctor is hinting at total knee replacement surgery. But I just don't see where it is bad enough for that. If you have had knee replacement surgery, how are you doing. Has it affected you activities while camping. How soon after surgery did you go camping? I know everyone is different, but tell me what you think and how you are doing now.
I had basically the same thing happen to me while camping this past Labor Day week. I had NO symptoms, but suddenly during setup, my knee started aching and I started limping. I ended up not being able to put any weight on my leg at all. The next day, I called my orthopedic surgeon and they were able to get me in that afternoon. Luckily I was only camping about 100 miles from home. I drove back home, got the steroid injection, and the next day could not even walk. I bought some crutches, but after a couple of days I said forget it, I was not going to risk falling, so we packed up and went home. I had an MRI which showed I had a torn meniscus as the root, and the cartilage under the knee cap was greatly reduced with arthritis in the knee. I could have had the meniscus repaired, but that would have meant me being on crutches for at least 6 weeks. I looked at the doc and said, "we are heading to Knee replacement aren't we"? He said yes because if I fix the meniscus, you will be back in a couple of years for the other issue. So, I pulled the trigger and got the replacement. NOW, I need to give you some background on me. I had my first knee replacement in 2003 at the age of 43. I had injured my knee in High School in 1978 and had the medial meniscus removed in my knee (that is what they did back then). I also had torn my ACL, but the surgeon didn't fix it "because you are not an athlete". So, I started having issues with it in 1992, had a scope done, the damage was significant. Later that year I had my first ACL replacement. It didn't hold, so in 1999 I had my second ACL replacement. That didn't hold and I finally said to my surgeon (a different one, thank GOD!), fix this for good, I can't keep having ACL replacements and then having the same issues over and over again. At that time I could not even walk thru the grocery store without my knee swelling up to twice the size. So, in 2003, the first TKR (Total Knee Replacement) was done. Because of all of the damage to my knee, it took me quite some time to recover from that one.

Fast forward to November 2, 2021, TKR was done on the second knee. I was up and walking from the start, I could only use a walker (unless it was to go up and down the stairs). I am almost 5 months post-surgery, and I walk just fine. It does take a few weeks of PT for the strength to start coming back and if you are as active as you say you are, then you will do just fine! They do tell you to 'fully' recover from a TKR, it takes about a full year, but if I could, I would go camping right now without any issues. The difference between the TKR I had in 2003 and 2021 is unreal. Shorter surgery, shorter recovery time, and I was walking from the start, even though it was somewhat slow. Granted the first 3-to 4 weeks were not fun, but I've said after both TKRs, I'd do it again, to not have the pain in my knee and the fear I was going to fall and do a LOT of damage.

Also, one more thing, I'm 62, had the surgery in November when I was 61, which is younger than most TKR patients are. Because of the damage which had been done to one knee, I had to have replaced in 2003, I was using my other leg more and inadvertently damaged it as well by putting more pressure on it than I should have been.

I'd say do it at the end of camping season and you will be fully capable and ready to go for the next, IMHO~
 




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