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Waiting to have high tibial osteotomy (and other questions)

SwimmerGirlSwimmerGirl Member Posts: 5
edited 10. Dec 2018, 07:57 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello,

I’m new to this, having stumbled across this forum whilst researching. Forgive me if I just blurt it all out, there’s a lot going on!

Background: I’m (have been) very active, running marathons, triathlons and so on. I have experienced knee pain on and off for years and eventually, having tried everything and not finding a definitive answer, I saw an orthopaedic consultant in the summer. He looked at my x-ray and said I have osteoarthritis.

As I am 45, I’m too young for knee replacement and he suggested an osteotomy. I was stunned and upset because this seems as if it will put an end to my active lifestyle (I work in this area too, so my career as well).

I can’t really find any information about people having this surgery and returning to previous activity levels. My consultant stressed that this is about getting me ‘pain-free’ and not about getting me running. I understand this, but want to feel informed and know what I’m getting into (I’m also a parent, I want to be able to play with my child).

Has anyone been through this and feels able to share their experience and the outcomes?

I have other questions and concerns, but I think that’s enough for now!

Comments

  • moderatormoderator Moderator Posts: 4,082
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello SwimmerGirl and welcome to the forums from the moderating team :)

    ‘Blurting’ it all out is absolutely fine and can be an excellent way of letting us all know what is going on with you! No need to apologise I can see why you are feeling as you do with your career seemingly in jeopardy.

    High tibial osteotomy has been discussed on the forum in the past and I hope this link to a previous thread helps:

    https://arthritiscareforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=18749&hilit=knee+osteotomy

    Here’s another a little older, but still worth a read:

    https://arthritiscareforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=18749&hilit=knee+osteotomy

    Please do join in wherever you want you will be made very welcome.

    Best wishes

    Ellen
  • SwimmerGirlSwimmerGirl Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you, this is really helpful, I’ll have a look at the links.
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,567
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh dear, I am so sorry for you, the thing you love doing has led to this and probably doing it no more - what a shock that must be. :( Thanks to a genetic disposition I began aged 37 and when I was 48 osteoarthritis was diagnosed as a result of the damage that one caused. I am now 59, I have had a number of operations and was denied new knees when I was 52 due to my 'extreme' youth - a backhanded compliment of ever there was!

    Surgery is about repair and removing pain but once damage has been done it cannot really be undone - even joint replacements cause further 'hurt' for a while and, if mistreated, require replacing. They also wear out even if they have been looked after, just like the original bone. Nothing is as good as the original material but when one is flogging the living daylights out of that the consequences never enter the mind - why would they? As you have discovered osteoarthritis is not the preserve of the elderly and it does have a lasting impact on life. It certainly changes it.

    Low-impact exercise such as cycling and swimming can be beneficial in maintaining muscle strength and overall fitness, and they do not place the joints under undue stress. I hope someone who has had something similar done will be along but it's true to say that once people are mended they tend to leave because they don't need us. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicketstickywicket Member Posts: 26,005
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've never heard of this operation so I looked it up. You have to be careful where you look up things medical on the web but, as it wasn't for me, I took the risk :wink: Seriously, these are trustworthy sites.


    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21409470

    https://tinyurl.com/y893arld

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27047982

    One point I'd like to make – and I make it having had RA for years before my sons were born and also having had new knee joints when they were 11 and 8 - is that you will always be able to play with your child. Where there's a will there's a way. I played garden cricket and football with mine although I hadn't been able to run for years even before they were born. You find ways. Mine complained that I was cheating because my deformed thumb ensured I bowled a mean underarm leg break :lol: We had fun and I still have fun with their kids.

    We just have to be flexible about how we have fun. As long as we're prepared to modify our wishes it will happen. Maybe partially as a consequence (though my husband would take full credit :wink: ) , my elder son played cricket to a high standard - and football, rugby and most other team sports to a lesser standard. His brother always preferred more 'lone' sports such as badminton and cycling. Now, in their 40's both are into golf.

    I hope I'm not being long-winded but I just wanted to emphasise what is possible. You will be able to have lots of different types of fun with your child and (s)he won't end up a couch potato just because you, maybe, couldn't run with them.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • SwimmerGirlSwimmerGirl Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    dreamdaisy wrote:
    Oh dear, I am so sorry for you, the thing you love doing has led to this and probably doing it no more - what a shock that must be. :( Thanks to a genetic disposition I began aged 37 and when I was 48 osteoarthritis was diagnosed as a result of the damage that one caused. I am now 59, I have had a number of operations and was denied new knees when I was 52 due to my 'extreme' youth - a backhanded compliment of ever there was!

    Surgery is about repair and removing pain but once damage has been done it cannot really be undone - even joint replacements cause further 'hurt' for a while and, if mistreated, require replacing. They also wear out even if they have been looked after, just like the original bone. Nothing is as good as the original material but when one is flogging the living daylights out of that the consequences never enter the mind - why would they? As you have discovered osteoarthritis is not the preserve of the elderly and it does have a lasting impact on life. It certainly changes it.

    Low-impact exercise such as cycling and swimming can be beneficial in maintaining muscle strength and overall fitness, and they do not place the joints under undue stress. I hope someone who has had something similar done will be along but it's true to say that once people are mended they tend to leave because they don't need us. I wish you well. DD

    Thank you for your kind words. Oh, how frustrating for us to be held back by our 'extreme' youth, what an odd thing to be told!

    My consultant was keen to point out that this hasn't been caused by my active lifestyle (my strength and flexibility will hopefully make for a good recovery and rehabilitation once I do undergo surgery). My parents both have arthritis and I have bow legs, so this was pretty much inevitable (though I didn't believe it would happen to me!).

    I do a lot of swimming and I use a bike to get around day-to-day, so definitely feel the benefits of these two activities. I also started yoga and pilates a while back and have found these a great way to 'reset' my posture and work on strength that will hopefully support my body rather than work against it.
  • SwimmerGirlSwimmerGirl Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've never heard of this operation so I looked it up. You have to be careful where you look up things medical on the web but, as it wasn't for me, I took the risk :wink: Seriously, these are trustworthy sites.


    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21409470

    https://tinyurl.com/y893arld

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27047982

    One point I'd like to make – and I make it having had RA for years before my sons were born and also having had new knee joints when they were 11 and 8 - is that you will always be able to play with your child. Where there's a will there's a way. I played garden cricket and football with mine although I hadn't been able to run for years even before they were born. You find ways. Mine complained that I was cheating because my deformed thumb ensured I bowled a mean underarm leg break :lol: We had fun and I still have fun with their kids.

    We just have to be flexible about how we have fun. As long as we're prepared to modify our wishes it will happen. Maybe partially as a consequence (though my husband would take full credit :wink: ) , my elder son played cricket to a high standard - and football, rugby and most other team sports to a lesser standard. His brother always preferred more 'lone' sports such as badminton and cycling. Now, in their 40's both are into golf.

    I hope I'm not being long-winded but I just wanted to emphasise what is possible. You will be able to have lots of different types of fun with your child and (s)he won't end up a couch potato just because you, maybe, couldn't run with them.

    Thank you for taking time to reply and to look up those links, that's very helpful. It's reassuring to hear about your own experience and to know that our children can have the resilience to deal with such challenges. There are many things that I can do with my son and his father is also very active, so he shouldn't miss out too much.
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,567
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't know why people think stuff will never happen to them, life has two major side-effects, ill-health and death. We are all eligible for the latter and not exempt from the former.

    Thank you for supplying some useful background about your parents and the fact you are already aware of the benefits of low-impact exercise: I apologise for wasting your time in reading what you already knew. I miss cycling (my knees no longer bend enough for a normal bike and as for those recumbent idiocies I would never be able to get up from one) and swimming is out for various reasons: having widespread arthritis reduces one's options which in turn makes it tricky to advise about such things for those who are not so compromised. I hope that the surgery leads to a good outcome for you :D DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
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