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.