a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: The Knee

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Knee

SUMMARY: ...is wearing out.

I saw my knee surgeon today for the first time since my surgery in November 2006. Went in because it has been doing two "funny" things: suddenly catching painfully on one side or the other, making it difficult to walk, sometimes for several minutes; or sudden weakness when i'm fatigued, feeling like it's going to buckle--but only sometimes, not with every step, and not all the time.

He looked at the xrays, checked my knee, asked some questions, and said, yup, arthritis very visible, getting pretty intense in that right knee (only a tiny smidgen of maybe arthritis in my other knee, go figure), and symptoms are typical of that. It is on track to becoming a knee-replacement candidate at some time in the future. He said it's possible that the symptoms could also indicate some minor damage to the menisci, although even MRIs are hard to read in that area so impossible to really know without going in and looking..

Meanwhile, anti-inflammatories (do prescription drugs for that all the time and have for years), additional pain meds if I need them (mostly not), cortisone injection into knee if pain gets too bad and persists (I'm nowhere near that at the moment), arthroscopic surgery again if I really want, but not clear whether he'd be able to do much while in there (that doesn't sound promising).

Things to try now:
  • Glucosamine/chondroitin: He says about half his patients get some relief with this.
  • Lose weight: He notes that every pound of body weight adds about 4 lbs of pressure to the knee joint.
  • More physical therapy to find ways to strengthen other parts to support the knee.
Dang arthritis.


  1. Do some research into cortisone shots before considering it. I've never had one but I'm leery of them. Was talking to my chiropractor about something unrelated and he suggested dry needling. There's some thought that it's the actual penetration of the needle and not the cortisone that helps with a cortisone shot.

    Yeah, I know, dry needling, sounds horrible and I haven't tried it. My hamstring magically started feeling a lot better after he brought that option up.

    1. Funny! Doc did say that they won't do it more than 3x a year and only if you really think you need it, so choose wisely. I got a lot of warnings years ago when I had a couple of cortisone injections in my thumb. Thanks for the heads up; I will look into it more if it gets to the point where I think I might consider it.

  2. Glad you went you got it checked out!!
    Hang in there ....

  3. Anything with a needle near a knee (or anywhere else for that matter) sounds like something to be avoided if possible. I vote for the physical therapy, the losing weight (though I don't think you need to!!) and glucosamine.

  4. Thanks. I vote for those, too.

  5. Dang -- arthritis does suck. When I first came across your blog (how many years ago was that now?), your knee was a pretty frequent subject. It faded soon after in frequency, I hope due to having found something that worked to keep it calm... I hope these things you'll try will help out in continuing to keep it calm. Walter says he has some Cosequin he could send your way.. ;-)

  6. Walter's a generous guy. Next time I'm at Costco, I'll buy a huge ginormous container and maybe I and all the dogs will share it.