Next week, it will be two years since the total knee replacement (TKR) on my left knee. I'm glad to report it's holding up well, as confirmed by a visit with my doctor Sept. 28.
He took an X-ray, and the joint is looking solid, as you can sort of see from the picture I snapped while the X-ray was up on a computer screen. Basically, there should be an even gap visible between the top and the bottom halfs of the joint. In fact, the look of the X-ray hasn't changed much since my last X-ray in July of last year. Nice even gap, with no significant change versus my x-Rays from last July. So that's the good news: my artificial joint is looking rock solid. I put about 4,000 miles on my road bike this season, including three century rides and a couple of 100 kilometer rides. No swelling or pain after these long efforts, and I also did plenty of hiking, walking, and some stream wading/fishing. So the knee is holding up well to my active life-style.
Now the not so good news: I discussed the clicking and popping noise and discomfort coming from my kneecap area, and my surgeon (Michael Schaubelt of Aurora Baycare in Green Bay) says that's going to stay with me.
The condition--which I've mentioned in earlier posts--is called patellar crepitus. My natural kneecap was left in during the TKR, and as my doctor explains it, the condition is due to the inside of my kneecap rubbing against the artificial joint and basically "losing the battle." As there is only minor painful sensations in my case (especially when I bend the knee under higher loads or stress), there is nothing that can be done at this point.
My doctor says if it gets worse, to come see him. The only lasting way to get rid of the popping would be another knee surgery to remove my kneecap and put in an artificial one, but for the foreseeable future, I'd rather put up with some limited noise and discomfort than have another operation. Note: during the course of the summer, the patellar crepitus stablized and actually seem to get a bit better. Funny how putting the mileage in on my road bike always seems to make me feel better.
We briefly discussed the use of kinesiology tape (like SpiderTech brand) to make my kneecap track better or somehow create better "lift" between the cap and the joint under high stress flexion. My doctor didn't think such taping would help much, but said it might be worth a try. Has anyone out there used kinesio taping to alliviate patellar crepitus popping/clicking problems? If so, let me know. In the meantime, I'll try experimenting with it.