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knee replacement surgery looming

Posted by Missouri_Greenwitch zone 6 (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 25, 04 at 21:24

At the tender age of 57, I will be embarking on a surgical adventure into knee replacements. It would help me greatly
to hear from other gardeners who have had this. How has this process impacted your ability to garden? Honestly, if I can't kneel down in the earth and roll in poison ivy, I don't know what my life will be worth.

Send hope, please! Greatfully--greenwitch


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

One knee replaced mid July, 2003. Now walking up to an hour at a time, gardening, I do not kneel but had not been kneeling before.. was told 'go ahead and dig, that's why you had it fixed'.. good luck. EP


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

I had both knees done about 15 years ago. I don't kneel either, too difficult to get up. But I also didn't kneel before the surgery. I drag a small footstool around with me, and sit where you would kneel, I guess. Kneeling isn't everything; you can still get to stick your hands in and smell the earth :-)

Container gardening can be rewarding, too; and set the containers on stands, so you don't have to bend over as much.

I had both knees done in one hospital visit, altho 2 weeks apart (doc said not healthy enough to have them both done in one shot). The day I left the hospital I had to go to a relative's funeral in the next state .. did fine (with 2 canes). A month after I got out of the hospital, I danced all night at my cousin's wedding ... without canes :-) How's that for encouragement?

Life for me is better, post-surgery. The pain in my knees was pretty bad, and I was starting to have hip problems because of favoring one knee. I think you'll be surprised at how much better life will be, afterwards.

Keep us posted.


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

I'd say that container gardening is the way to go. My knees are ok, but my back is not. So I have everything in containers, and most of them are raised up on saw horses and 2x8's. Brings everything up to where I can easily work on them either standing or sitting. The only containers I have on the ground are my figs, sweet corn and a few vine type tomatos.


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

Yes, it is true that quality of life is what we do with it. Even if bending and kneeling are limited. Having plants elevated does help. Otherwise I sit flat on the ground on a rug or a tarp or use a tool with a long handle. The pointed hoes and the ones shaped like stirrups are really handy and I have a double edged scythe hoe that I can swing back and forth the cut down the dead perennial stems such as tall phlox and echinacea. I also sometimes sit on a heavy duty tool box 'stool' but don't like the bending. However it's handy to have nearby to 'scoot' up onto when getting up from ground level. Having a good partner helps too, who does all the heavy stuff with all the motor driven tools. When going thru rehab we used walkie talkies so he wouldn't have to stay inside or near by all the time. I too feel that your life will be much more fullfilling and hope recovery will be as unlimiting as possible. EP


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

My Mom just had total knee surgery and I was looking around trying to see what was going to be done and found a cool animation site that shows different surgeries. Helped me to know what my Mom was going to have done to her.

It's under the common procedures section.

Here is a link that might be useful: Total Knee Replacement


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

If you are meeting with a physical and/or occupational therapist before your surgery you could ask them to work with you to simulate the gardening activities limitations you might encounter after your surgery. I'd take my partner or the one who might help you adapt your garden to make it accessible along on such a visit. the purpose of the visit would be enable you to make preparations to make your garden work for you as you are rehabbing. Temporary solutions could include something as simple as creating a raised bed by putting bales of hay or straw end to end and filling the resulting opening with soil.

I suffered through a couple of years not being able to garden waiting for raised beds to be constructed. Had I known about the baled hay option, I would have been in heaven digging in my not so pretty dirt pile.

In my experience, preparing ahead of time for the adaptations that are necessary after surgery gives one a sense of hope and creativity which I've found are essential to healing.

There are a few good reference books on accessible gardening - one I found most helpful was Gene Rothert's The Enabling Garden.

good luck to you - I think you should do well with all the support the garden web forum folk are offering. You might find it fun to post unique ways you've learned to cope with your limitations. We all can learn new creative ways to imporove the quality of gardening after surgery or disability. I was astonished to find that I could do several hours of gardening a day sitting in a secretary's office chair with the little car totes bags attached to the back of the chair. With one non casted leg, I was able to roll around with ease - freeing my hands for the clipping, etc. I wanted to do. Didn't need to invest in a wheelchair and the size of the office chair permitted me to get in much closer to the plants. This of course worked best on paved surfaces - the driveway and walkways.


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

I realize that this is a really old post, but I thought I'd add here.
I didn't have knee replacement, but had knee arthroscopy for a torn lateral meniscus and clean up of some arthritis. That was 11 days ago, and I've been doing my exercises and icing my knee, and I'm getting really discouraged. It hurts constantly to walk, and now my leg muscles spasm. I'm in pain all the time. I'm feeling very discouraged. The pain is worse than before the surgery.
Anyhow.....I do have some containers for veggies in the back yard, but now I'm thinking I have to think much more seriously about raised container gardening. I love gardening, but there's no way on earth I can keep up with the "in-ground" type of garden. I'm thinking of using cement blocks with 2x6's (several) on them, and then the Rubbermaid containers set on them. I don't want to have to lean over at all. I would love to have a more professional raised garden made for me. Maybe in a couple years.
Do you think if they are raised off the ground, they will dry out alot more easily, than if they are on the ground?
Anyone else have knee arthroscopy, but have a very slow, painful recovery? Thanks!
(I'm 56......and I'm not aging gracefully!!).


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

catherinet, I hope by now your knee is well on its way to healing. I had a torn meniscus repair in Jan of this year. He also cleaned up some arthritis and torn cartilage. Unfortunately, my knee pain increased after the surgery. After physical therapy and other conservative treatment, my doc sent me to a colleague in another town. The second doc had a special attachment for his scope that allowed him to see behind my kneecap, where he found further torn meniscus and a lot more torn cartilage. Recovery was slow, but in the past month I've made great progress. There is still pain from arthritis, as there is little cartilage left, but I can go out and do some things I haven't done in a year.

11 days out from knee surgery is still a very short time. Don't expect too much from yourself. Just keep doing your therapy and plugging away at the rest of life and things will get better.

I'll always have arthritis, and my knee isn't to the point where I am ready for replacement surgery, but I enjoy life. I especially enjoy the small things, like being able to walk on uneven ground (we live on a farm) without excruciating pain.

Best of luck with your recovery!


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

I know this is an old thread but it was interesting for me to read through. I'm getting knee replacement surgery next month and one of the reasons I've put it off so long---several years---is because I didn't want to give up my newly discovered passion of gardening. I picked up some great tips in this thread and I will definitely have the physical therapist help we simulate the actions I'll need to make for gardening from a little wagon I can sit on but getting help from others is out of the question. My husband is wheelchair bound and while our house is accessible, the yard is not. My attempts at container gardening isn't working out as well as my flower, shrubs and decorative grass beds. I'm new to this site and wish I have discovered it earlier!


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

5 months ago at age 74 I had total joint replacement of my left knee. I was and am an avid gardener. Now that spring is here, so is my moment of truth. All OK so far. I walk and move carefully and without pain or stiffness. Knee movement is 127 degrees. I am careful not to twist my knee when carrying heavy containers or a 40 lb bag of potting soil. 6 years ago I built an 8'x12' greenhouse with all raised tables...I also built a 5'x8' table garden for my herbs & salad stuff. 13 balcony boxes on our deck railing pose no problem. Many of our containers have become hanging baskets and our 1000 sq ft pumpkin and gourd patch pretty much takes care of itself, That leaves 5 in-ground perennial gardens which I must soon learn how to handle. I've been reading up on kneeling and learned that "one should not kneel" is an urban myth. There is no clinical evidence that the replacement joint can be damaged through kneeling. So, I've been testing my kneeling ability....no pain, just a weird sensation with a substantial portion of my knee still numb at 5 months. Doc says feeling will return over next couple of years. So, I plan to kneel when necessary...and enjoy life.


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RE: knee replacement surgery looming

Is it due to osteoarthritis? My dad had knee replacement surgery and he said its worth it but he needed pain meds.


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