Too young for partial knee replacement?

Hi everyone,

I am 52 this week, and have bone on bone OA in my knee, made worse by a recent fall on it.

I saw an orthopaedic consultant for the first time today who has recommended conservative management for now. Physio ( which I have been having anyway, mainly by phone ) and a steroid injection in 4 weeks. He also gave me a knee brace

As a midwife and dog owner my life is quite active , and I’m in a fair bit of pain, and everything makes me so much more tired than it used to.

What is everyone’s thoughts on age and (

partial) knee replacement please? Apparently if I have it done now, I will have to have it redone in later life which will be a much more complex operation .

Thank you for reading


    DODGYKNEES Member Posts: 90

    Hi @Coffeecup. I too have bone on bone arthritis in both knees. I have been told I am too young for knee replacements at 44. Iv had a custom knee brace made for me by NHS. It does provide mild relief at times. Iv had steroid injections, and monovisc injections which did not help. I have read up a lot on the subject, and apparently they can only do 2 knee replacements to one person as they have to cut away bone each time it is done. So that's why they like to wait until your older. It is frustrating, as iv heard people going private and having it done at my age. Hopefully technology will improve and they can make better replacements which last longer. Hope Ur well.

  • Chris
    Chris Member Posts: 37

    Hi coffecup i am 48 and just over 4 weeks post op from partial knee replacement. I too thought i was to young but had it done anyway the surgeon i consulted with said with good management it can last over 20 years now. I know of a couple of people who have had partials that are 20 years plus. I too was bone on bone in my right knee medial compartment. I have been struggling for over 4 years with this problem and decided to go for it. The NHS did the procedure after i persisted with them.

    Just a word of advice although i no longer have the bone on bone pain any longer, the post op surgery pain and stiffness is tough and the recovery is longer than just a few weeks. I think it will be 6 to 12 months before i can fully appreciate my new knee. Hope this helps.

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,392

    Hi Coffeecup.

    I was given a total bi-lateral knee replacements when I was 41. Then 11 years later one had to be revised (done again) becuase it had worn out! My knee replacements were the best thing for me as i had to be in a wheelchair outside the house. I think you have to bear in mind that a revision can only be done twice (unless things have changed) becuase they take more bone away each time. This means the younger you are there's more likelihood of it needing to be done again as we're often more active when we're younger and it's going to need to be with you for a longer time period. Some TKRs do last longer than they expect like my left knee now being 21 years old ...shhhh don't tell it as it's still painfree the same as my right.

    My advice is to stick to your original knee as long as you're able becuase there's no going back after surgery. I'm not being alarmist here but, IMO, the time to seek a knee replacement is when the pain in your knee affects every aspect of your life, waking and sleeping. Your surgeon will guide you when you know the time is right.

    Love, Legs x
    'Make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing'
  • Chris
    Chris Member Posts: 37

    Hi Lindalegs totally agree i was at a point in life where i was very unhappy, work was a nightmare taking over ten tablets a day and tablets to sleep. My knee wasn't to bad when resting but i could not walk far without sitting down,. I found i constantly favored the bad leg and would work with my right leg bent or resting on my left foot. This did start to affect my other joints which were taking the load. My goal is to maintain or loose a little weight and and avoid impact activities. And try to enjoy life for what it is. You never know what lies around the corner. It is a big decision i wrote down all the pro`s and con`s and measured them up. Its funny now i have had it done i have come across loads of people who have had knees and hips done at a younger age, i guess its to do with having a more active lifestyle or people refusing to suffer longer.

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,392


    Hello Chris, it is a big decision and at first, I was as frightened to have the operation as I was looking forward to it! In my 'frightened' state of mind I got to the point when I realised that I was more frightened of them saying they couldn't do the surgery and I would have to face a life as I was!

    As I said earlier we know when the time is right for us.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery from your operation and a new lease of life with your mended knee 😊

    Love, Legs x
    'Make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing'
  • calcass
    calcass Member Posts: 29

    Hi @Coffeecup I strongly believe "quality of life" far outweighs quantity of life. And it is that belief that I stressed to my doctors when notions of surgery arose for me.

    I was working a full-time job when I was advised that it was probably the time to consider TKR. I did manage to return to my job in a part-time capacity although due to exceptional circumstances I did have to quit my job.

    I was 27yrs old when I had my first TKR. My TKRs are 17yr old and the original knee has had to have a few extra surgeries but it is still only 16yrs old. And although complications occurred I would do it again at that age.

    You say you have an active lifestyle so obviously your quality of life has been massively impacted and it is that quality of life which I fought to maintain.

    Have you had a second opinion?

    Also, tis important to be aware of possible complications although physio is definitely key to success of procedure.

    I hope you get sorted, whatever your decision. Ccass

    Be more Panda
  • Emmamillie
    Emmamillie Member Posts: 7

    Hi ,I have grade 4 osteoarthritis of my tibia and grade 3 on my patella ,always get told about my age ,I am 54 and they really don’t want to do it just yet ,I am having more physio again and I have a knee brace ,it certainly does make me feel my life is on hold at the moment

  • suelema
    suelema Member Posts: 14

    I imagine the consultant is treating conservatively because he knows that any knee replacement is likely to need replacing again after 15 or so year especially as you are on your feet in your work, and second replacements are not as successful as first which could result in your mobility being very limited in your later years. I think he is hoping you have the resilience to cope with meds while at a younger age rather than having to do so at the very much later stage when life is anyway more difficult as there are less distractions from pain.

  • jendo54
    jendo54 Member Posts: 3

    hi i'm 54 needed mine for last few years but need to get my bmi down hes gave me 6 months as high bmi more risky as big op and don't like to do partial if my is down in 6 months i can have first done then right after recovery my sister had replacement her first at 47 she's from chester had her second a few years later if it's bad enough they will do it if no quality of life it mite be because it's just a partial maybe 52 not to young don't listen to him warm water and alternating tabs i'm in agony with both i hsve it in multiple areas neck lower spine hips feet left shoulder hands now develop hope your get some relief dion i an on 2 anti depressants 1 in morn and /1 in the evening i am on slow release z oramorph 2x x

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,569


    It's lovely to see your first post is supporting someone else with a similar issue to you.😊

    I see you are also struggling with your knee (as well as your neck, spine, hips, left shoulder and feet) but have been told you need to get your BMI down. It is of course true that a higher BMI makes surgery more risky you are quite right.

    I wonder whether this thread from last year might interest you?

    Very best wishes and please do let us know how you get on


  • I’m 54 and need a knee replacement,but my age is against me at the moment ,back to having more physio ,I have a knee brace but it agrevates my knee

  • Midnight
    Midnight Member Posts: 4

    I'm 54 and now on the list for a full knee op my knees ( it's hard to understand unless u see them) have not grown properly and r misshapen and I have OA the pain is so bad my bmi is high and I'm menopausal trying to lose weight I'm not as active due to the pain it's so hard to lose weight

  • sunnyside2
    sunnyside2 Member Posts: 131

    I am 49 and booked to have full knee replacement next month. But I have had 10 years of knee giving me grief and had other surgeries that gave some relief for a while , lots of physio , injections, an attempt at nerve blocking (failed) and the knee has got much worse over this time. the final straw was it locking so painfully I fainted and crashed onto ceramic tiled floor. at that point the surgeon agreed it was time.

    It is not without risk, I have been warned I might not like result and that it will need revision at some point but I cannot go on like this

  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,392

    Hi @sunnyside2 I was 42 when I had both my knee totally replaced during the same operation (bi-lateral TKR) and I am soon to be 64. I've only had to have one revised in 2001 but they are both doing very well considering my left prothesis is nearly 22 years old! It was the best thing I ever did and have never regretted it! 😃 xx

    Love, Legs x
    'Make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing'
  • Mollie
    Mollie Member Posts: 4

    Wow my full knee replacement is only 5 years old. It's working well. Had it at 60.The main thing for me was the physio it's painful but you have tablets for that. I was so adamant about my exercises I only saw physiotherapist 3 times and he said I had more than exceeded his expectations and that it was the best recovery he had seen. I was awake for my op never felt a thing. It's painful after but the important thing is to get it moving and build up your leg. I did physio prior to my op to build the muscles up.

  • Although it's always best to manage things conservatively if possible and steroid injections and physio can be really helpful, I wouldn't worry too much about the age thing if you do need a knee replacement. Leaving it as long as you can is good advice but I had both mine replaced when I was 18 and I've since had 5 revisions on the left and 1 on the right (I'm 51). Both are currently not in the greatest shape but advancements in surgery are always ongoing and there's generally something they can do. As such, I'm not particularly worried about needing further revisions now or later.

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,569

    Hi @Katastroika

    A very quick welcome to you to the Versus Arthritis Online Community. It's lovely to see someone's first post supporting someone else.

    I can see you have plenty of experience to share and hope you will decide to become a regular poster here.

    The timing of surgery is very much an individual thing as @lindalegs says "When the time is right for us"

    Best wishes


  • slinks
    slinks Member Posts: 8

    Hi I had a partial knee replacement aged 55 and a total replacement revision 14 years later. The first surgery was great and allowed me much more freedom of movement, the revision was gruesome and still causing me problems a year after the operation.