Telltale Signs You May Need A Total Knee Replacement

Hi everyone. Many of you have been contacting me wondering whether it’s time for a total knee replacement. Even though I am not a medical professional, I can provide personal insight into how I decided it was time. Hopefully, you will find some useful information from my personal experiences. Here are some telltale signs you may need a total knee replacement:

Resharing/reprinting from March 2017:

Cortisone shots wears off quickly.
When I first approached a surgeon about having a tkr (total knee replacement), cortisone was recommended as an alternative. The recommendation was having a shot every three months to ease the pain and stiffness.

The results were immediate. I walked out of the doctor’s office without any pain or difficulties. I was happy as a clam in mud. That is, until two weeks later when the cortisone wore off. At that point, I was back where I started.

Pain killers lack effectiveness.
What used to provide some level of relief, suddenly does not. Since I do not take any prescription medications, I used over-the-counter remedies. They became a waste of money as my knee cartilage disappeared and my pain level increased.

Knee locks up.
This can happen anywhere, any time. The pain is unbearable. For me, sometimes it took a few minutes to “get back to normal”, other times it took 10-20 minutes.

Walking aides are needed.
My knee locking up was why I started carrying crutches with me everywhere. You may find a cane is easier. Whatever the device, extra precaution is part of everyday life to remove the stress from your damaged knee.

Excessive pain in everyday movements.
Everyday movements include walking, sitting, standing, and laying become more difficult and painful.

Difficulty crossing legs.
No longer do I take crossing legs for granted. Do you find yourself looking at people with their legs crossed, admiring the fact they can do it? It may be time to take action.

Need assistance getting in and out of chairs.
Assistance can be another person, a chair arm, or a mobility-impaired recliner. Whatever it is, using your leg the usual way will become difficult.

Favoring “good” leg.
This is a common behavior. My “good” leg is able to do everything the ”normal” way, so why not take advantage of that? I found myself putting all my weight on my undamaged leg. This leads to further damage.

Looking for stair alternatives.
Ah, stairs. Instead of viewing stairs as exercise, suddenly they turned into torture devices. I was always on the lookout for alternatives. Alternatives included elevators and/or escalators. Whenever I did use stairs, a railing was necessary. And, it was not a pretty site.

Body realignment is required.
Do you find yourself having to adjust your body before moving? You may have to realign your spine, wait for your knee to get in place, and/or do some stretching. Whatever it is, getting up and going is not an easy task.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Hopefully, you have found my how to tell insight useful to aid your total knee replacement decision-making process.

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AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.

The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

Marie is also a proud WEGO Health Patient Leader. Learn more here:  


17 thoughts on “Telltale Signs You May Need A Total Knee Replacement”

  1. Charlene Crosthwaite

    I am 4 weeks out of TKR. I had lots of swelling and bruising. Lots has gone, but plenty remains. Not only was there severe arthritis, multiple tears and issues from two prior surgeries. I am walking with a walker and crutches. Not driving yet. Did two weeks of home rehab and just started out patient rehab.
    I guess I think I should be farther along in this by now! I can dress myself except one shoe and sock and shower and use bathroom unassisted.
    Thank you! Just wondering!


  2. Hi Charlene…
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your tkr comment. You sound like you are progressing well. In fact, you’re doing better than I was at your tkr recuperation stage. It is a long, arduous process for sure.
    Hang in there and keep working. It will pay off.
    Stay in touch and best of luck to you!

  3. I’m having TKR 12/2017 I am dreading the day. I have had 47 years of pain and all that comes with it. I blew out my knee at 13 years of age playing touch football. Every ligament except PCL was torn both medial/lateral meniscus torn. 1970 my Dad was advised to not pursue surgery for my injuries. By 1993 I couldn’t take the pain and swelling from re-injuries and had ACL reconstruction with many repairs. This was the most agonizing surgery and 12 months of sheer hell in recovery I have ever been through. I was told then by age 50 my knee would need to be replaced. Here I am at 60 facing TKR. My knee is starting to lock up and constantly rubs bone on bone. The last cortisone injection did absolutely nothing for the pain and swelling. I’m so dreading this but I looked at all options offered the only procedure to help is TKR. Stability is good but cartilage is almost gone. I’m petrified. Any encouragement is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  4. Hi Patricia,
    Thanks for visiting and taking the time to post your tkr comment. It’s understandable to be scared about having surgery. I was in the same situation you are in and never regret a moment of having the surgery.
    Suggestion: You need to change your attitude to succeed. Stop dreading and be grateful for the opportunity to improve your daily functioning.It’ll be a long road to recovery, but so worth it – if you have the proper attitude, determination, and drive.
    Best of luck and stay in touch!

  5. Thank you. I have had progressively worsening pain for the last 3 years. I was set against a knee replacement because I really want to join the peace corps and thought that would make me not a candidate. I have received cortisone shots, gel shots, had acupuncture, physical therapy and anti inflammatory medications. Over the past 6 months, my daily life has been significantly impacted by this. Stairs are a nightmare, any incline is horrible, my knee locks up at times, I definitely favor my “good leg”. I am in the process of scheduling my surgery for this summer! I can’t wait now!

  6. I have just been referred to a DO to discuss TKR for my right knee. Had cortisone injections in both knees six weeks ago. My left knee, which looks worse on the X-rays, responded well. My right just got worse. Using a cane now, every step feels like a stab in the knee, some places are sore to the touch.

    Glad my insurance didn’t mess around and referred me directly on failure of this treatment. Looking forward to this process. I know there will be painful PT, but I’m doing that now with no prospect of improvement.

  7. Hi Linda,
    Let’s hope this reply goes through. The others have not. Anyways, thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to leave your comment. I also sent you a private email. Glad to hear you reached the difficult decision of having a total knee replacement. If you are like me, it will improve your life quality.
    Also, are you aware that I have written a popular tkr pre-op ebook titled “Patient’s Perspective On Preparing For A TKR”? This PDF-formatted ebook contains information not found in standard industry literature. I went through the entire pre-op process TWICE for the same surgery.
    Here is the link, if interested:
    Books by Booktoots

    Keep in touch and good luck!

  8. I have had meniscus problems with both knees – it was after a fall. Two months after the fall
    at work, I had surgery on my right knee. Subsequently, several months later, I had similar
    surgery on my left knee. The insurance company wants me to settle before going to court.
    Right now, my repaired knees do not cause any pain. Should I settle with the insurance
    company and take on the risk of total knee replacement surgery five (5) yeas down the road?
    Currently, the total expenses for one knee replacement is approximately $57,000.- It will
    be far greater five years from now – based on historical price increases. What do you suggest? I am waiting in Corona, California. I see my attorneys Thursday morning (9-12-’19).

  9. Hello Dennis. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.
    I cannot tell you what to do. I would listen to your attorney’s recommendation. They have better insight into your particular situation than I do. I do know, however, that insurance companies usually want to settle out of court so they can save money.
    Best of luck to you and keep in touch!

  10. I’m getting to the point where I will need a tkr, at least according to my doctor. I have most of the symptoms you describe, although some not quite as bad. I drive a truck, so getting up and down is an ordeal. I can sit and drive for hours, but standing… another story. I’m dreading the surgery and recovery, and being out of work for so long. Do you have any feedback on cbd oils? They seem to help a bit. Thank you for your blog, I’ve found great information on it.

  11. Hello Bill,
    I also sent a private message. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your tkr comment. It’s always nice to know my site is helpful to readers.
    Regarding cbd oils…no, I do not have any feedback on their effectiveness. I know others who claim positive results, but I have not used them.
    BTW…You may be interested in my TKR Pre-Op ebook. It contains first-hand information to make sure you cover all bases. Some information is not found in ‘traditional’ medical literature. That’s why I wrote the book. 🙂 You can purchase the book through my website via PayPal. Once I receive payment confirmation, I forward the ebook to you as soon as possible.
    Here’s a link to my ebook:
    Books by Booktoots

    Best of luck and keep in touch!

  12. It is really a nice and useful piece of information that I have been searching everywhere for. I am satisfied that you just shared this insightful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  14. Hello, after reading this awesome piece of writing i am as well delighted to share my familiarity here with colleagues.

  15. Hello Emiko,
    Thanks for visiting my site. Yes, I do use Twitter. My ‘handle’ is MarieB987. Start following me by simply clicking on the Twitter Bird – found on my Home Page right sidebar.
    Keep in touch! I look forward to hearing from you.

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