Friday, July 31, 2015

Brace Yourself, Julia

Want to hear all about my dumb stupid knee brace?

Y'all are my captive audience, so here goes.

Dr Young Guy ordered a custom offloading knee brace  for me three - count 'em - three months ago. The first one arrived about six weeks after it was prescribed. Yes. I thought that was a bit tardy in arriving too. I was having trouble making it stay on my leg without it dangling down around my ankle, so thinking that it wasn't doing my knee any good that way, I took the thing back to the company responsible for fitting and ordering it for me. After which they informed me that it was sized wrong.

"Did you lose a whole bunch of weight?" the tech irritably asked me.

NO, I only wish I had! I snapped back. Equally irritably.

He took a new set of measurements, told me that it would arrive in two weeks, and sent me on my way. Which brings us to a few days ago when I claimed this thing once again, and I've got to say I am not impressed. I'm supposed to be wearing it to take pressure off my severely arthritic knee by re-aligning the joint; and this is also supposed to make getting around less painful. But I've got to say that even after gradually acclimating myself to wearing it; it seems to be causing more problems than solving.

I'm ready to drop-kick it into the next county. With my good knee, of course.

First off, even though the prosthetics company euphemistically calls the sensation 'pressure', it hurts. In my knee deformity, which is called valgus, the knee joint collapses inward giving the appearance of knock knees, so the brace is made to apply pressure on the interior side of the knee joint and the outer side of the calf. And I'm here to tell you, this hurts.

Secondly, what is a person supposed to wear when using this thing? I have never been a dress or a skirt type person. But it's too bulky to fit under pants, and it doesn't fit correctly if I put it over pants. So I bought a few maxi skirts and have been swishing around in them which is also making me cranky. Skirts are, well....they just make me feel dumb. If I were svelte and tall, yeah, I could see that they could be flattering. But for an average height, plus-sized lady?

Not so much.

My daughters think that I should wear leggings and a tunic. Which I would consider if most tunics came down almost to my knee, but I haven't found any yet. Besides, I don't want to invest in a whole new wardrobe (which I hate) just to wear an appliance that may end up in some one's back yards a whole county away eventually.

The whole idea here was that the brace in combination with prednisone injections would delay the necessity of a knee replacement. But my doctor after seeing my latest X-rays, commented that the question would not be IF I needed a new knee, but WHEN.

Grr. I'm reluctantly beginning to see that I may have to just bite the bullet and think about another surgery. Perhaps I can hang in there until January when the holidays are over.......


Marion said...

I had both hips and right knee replaced over an 18 month period and never looked back. Surgical pain goes away. Bone on bone pain doesn't. Go for it!

Laura said...

Of course, doesn't insurance reset with new deductible in January? Or did yours reset in July?

You have my sympathy, this sounds miserable.

Annette said...

UhOh I have a valgus knee too. I hate that my legs are not the legs of my youth.

I have heard some great results with knee replacement. People can garden again (within reason)

Thanks for the lovely mention last week, and thanks from @sjogrensca as well


mcspires said...

Oh dear, this sounds dreadful. I would not want pressure that is painful, what good is that? And I so agree with you on the whole skirt/dress issue. I have worn a dress exactly once in over 15 years. Just not gonna happen!

Nicole said...

I sympathize with your wardrobe difficulties. This year I had to start wearing compression tights. It did not make a huge dent in my winter wardrobe but the summer wardrobe has seen some major adjustments. And sometimes I just don't care anymore and go ahead and wear shorts and tights together. But the maxi dress is my new best friend, especially for work.

Good luck with you new knee thingy and whatever you decide to do, including trashing it and going for the surgery, if necessary!

LM said...

I can't speak to the surgery. I've had family members have knee and hip replacements with great success. The brace seems unwieldy and uncomfortable, but hopefully it will help!

I can speak to the leggings and tunics. :)
Land's End (online) has great tunics and their starfish crops (and other star fish items) are some of my favorites! I'm a short gal (5'3") and their petite sizes work well for length - but not too small in width. I have some extra weight on thanks to my low activity level and extra meds, these starfish pants are my new friend. Give em' a try!